Two nights of whimsical wonder and unforgettable food at the New World Manila Bay Hotel
It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to meet a Michelin starred chef and having the privilege of enjoying his exquisite cooking could very well be a once-in-a-lifetime event. It’s no wonder the New World Manila Bay Hotel was fully booked for the two-night affair entitled “Dinner with the Stars” on April 4 and 5, 2016.
Inspired by his favorite book, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince,” Spanish celebrity chef Dani Garcia created a 10-course dinner featuring “avant-garde cuisine and the concept of ‘contradiction’ with the contrast of hot and cold elements and opposing textures and flavors.”
Chef Dani told Expat why he chose ‘The Little Prince’ as his inspiration for this one-of-a-kind gustatory event.
“Even when I was young, [I really enjoyed] the book,” Chef Dani said. “Through ‘The Little Prince,’ I realized what is truly essential: the flavor [of the food] that I am serving, which is Andalusian flavor.”
Chef Dani shared that a lot of the preparation for the two-night event had something to do with logistics (like finding out the lay-out of the kitchen and dining area) and checking what kind of produce and ingredients are available locally.
Through his innovative techniques and theatrical presentation, Chef Dani wowed the guests inside the ‘Sublimotion’ room—a dark room with wall-to-wall LED screens showing excerpts from the movie adaptation of ‘The Little Prince’ and short clips of waves crashing to the shore. Inside the ‘sublimotion’ room, Chef Dani and his sous chef Santi Guerrero served tuna tartare topped with yuzu popcorn—frozen
using liquid nitrogen—with drippings from a strip of Jamon Iberico fat, expertly torched as diners watched. It was paired with a glass of refreshing Sangria.
Next door was ‘The Little Prince Landscape’ room where freshly carved Jamon Iberico was served with “jamon sugar-coated olives” hung from an Impy Pilapil original creation, which dangled from the ceiling. Diners were encouraged to gingerly pluck the olives themselves to enjoy with the jamon and a glass (or two) of cava. Flashed on the walls are scenes from the movie adaptation of Saint-Exupery’s classic.
After mingling over cocktails and tapas, guests were ushered to the main dining area. New World Manila Bay Hotel’s Grand Ballroom was transformed for the night’s event using mood lighting and more artwork from renowned artist Impy Pilapil.
Guests were served Moai Potatoes Canape de Pollo (Crispy Chicken canapé with uni), Gazpacho Amarillo con Tomate Nitro (Yellow gazpacho with nitro-tomato), Carpaccio de Gamba con Manzana y Miel de Trufa (Shrimp carpaccio with apple and truffle honey) Afilando el lapis (Sharpening our pencil); Tartar de Atun aliñado al momento (Tuna tartare seasoned a la minute), Lubina Frita (Fried Seabass),
Arroz de pulpo y calamares en su tinta (Black rice of octopus and calamari), Ravioli de rabo de toro con consome al jerez (Oxtail ravioli with Sherry flavored consome), Limó (we froze our lemons), and Meteorito (Meteorite).
According to New World Manila Bay Hotel General Manager Mark Heywood, it took them roughly ten months to prepare for this gastronomic feast.
“This is something that has never been done before [in the Philippines], so we wanted to make sure it is done well,” Heywood shared, adding that there were some adjustments after the first night of the event. “We are glad so many people came tonight.”
“Dinner with the Stars” was held in conjunction with Madrid Fusion Manila 2016 and in cooperation with the Philippine Department of Tourism and Spain Tourism Board.
By CHING DEE