Friday, February 27, 2009

A Canadian Dinner - and Onwards

One day one of my staff told me that I had a call from the Canadian Embassy. I said, Wait, what has Canadian Embassy got to do with me? I picked up the phone. It’s true. They confirmed if I received the fax invitation. Again, another fabulous invitation. Honestly, these things aren’t common to me… so, when I read the invitation, I was blushing and happy.

Why, it is requesting the pleasure of the company of … yours truly. RSVP. The menu convinced me not to say no- even at the back of my mind, I didn’t know who to drag and what exactly to do there. Smoked salmon crostini...Pacific King Crab... Angus Porterhouse Steak... indeed, how can you say no!

I went anyway. It was held at the El Circulo Restaurant in Makati, one of the restaurants I admire around the city. What I was thinking? Forget the worries and just enjoy the evening!

At the registration, I saw a familiar name. I said, good, someone’s in here, at least.

Over the cocktails, it turned out that it was Chef Ziggy Segunial who got me to this dinner in the first place. Chef Ziggy was my predecessor, the ex- Executive Chef of our company way before my boss hired me. I only heard about Chef Ziggy from my co- workers, saw his name in the files, read about him in food magazines but I have never met him in person until that evening. Just the same, he only heard about me but we’ve never really met. The chef is a bubbly individual five years my senior who could pass as Morimoto’s son. I swear, the resemblance was so close! Thank you chef!

It was a most fascinating evening. Issues on food product safety were discussed with such depth by the guest speakers, and how Canada contributes to the demand for quality food. With the alarming situation that the country is facing about livestock problems such as disease in swine, and, in my experience, shortage of certain ingredients like scallops, the Canadian government presents great options for food professionals to safeguard the consumer and to continue to turn the wheel of the food industry.

While we were listening, getting passed around were smoked salmon crostini, rounds of wine, Canadian oysters with pancetta- all shipped in from Canada. Chef Ziggy was gasping “F***!” after each bite of the smoked salmon, confessed that he has never tasted anything like it. I thought, a few servings more and this man will levitate.

Anyway, a few shots of dinner-

Spinach salad with House- smoked Scallops in Sherry Vinaigrette. Awesome.

Digging the haricot verts. Succulent, sweet, tastes like a spring morning.

Juicy steak with thyme salt.

Caramelized brioche with maple syrup, ice cream and pecans and blueberries. I can't get over this.

I love dinners like these: where everybody's having a great time.
Then, a showcase of true Canadian products.

Marinades, vinaigrettes...

Authentic maple syrup...

Pacific King Crab, which a while ago, some part went into Chef J's Paella Marinara

Oysters and scallops as large as your fist.

A most generous slab...

Maple- glazed pork and apple toast which was ravaged at the cocktails.
I recognized some respectable food professionals in that event, some writers for food magazines, celebrity chefs, Canadian Embassy Officers, the presidential chefs (the Chefs of the Philippine President) but it was a great pleasure to meet the very gracious Malu Gamboa who has such infectious great energy and the very handsome Chef J who gets the credit for the wonderful dinner. I think we were among the youngest chefs there - I was with the Personal Chefs Manila almost the whole evening and enjoyed immensely the company of Chefs Ziggy, Jonas, Harret, Jean, and the very beautiful Hannah. Food was the muse of the conversation, the penchant for chicharon, eating brown rice with sinigang, baklava with phyllo dough and Chef Ziggy's chocolate dreams. It was a great evening, way beyond words.


After dinner, this is my favorite part.

You went back safely to your pad, removed your coat, kicked off those high heels, unbound your hair, and, your head still reeling and on a high and too excited from drinking too much Cabernet and eating oysters , still in your dinner dress …with such passionate intensity by the lamplight , you… you…

- You see what’s inside the package that the host had for you: A cookbook, a directory of local product distributors and, a baby bear with a maple butt! It’s past midnight and you are still poring over your newfound fascination: Canada and its cuisine.

Good evening!


Anonymous said...

I love those foodies event too! Looks like you had a great time Foodhuntress and the food looks delicious. Lucky you! Gotta love Canadian salmon! And that picture of you is.. er.. well.. very nice! :-)

Tell me more about that cabernet buzz.. haha

Aristarkhos said...

Wow. Alright, compared to your expertise, I am a plebeian.
I was just looking around for some stuff on canadian cuisine. Never tasted any of what you just wrote about but damn...sure got me feeling hungry. :)

foodhuntress79 said...

Zen Chef, what Cabernet buzz? Heheh...

Aristarkhos... wow, thank you too for visiting this blog. Canadian cuisine is really impressive and for just a night I did have an experience of tasting the its bounty. It is worth searching and trying for. :)

Aristarkhos said...

Haha, was a pleasure visiting ur blog. Believe u me. :)
I was initially thinking up a list for my sister in Toronto. That's when I wondered what their delicacies were.