Mise en Place of Flavours

Successful people are not just gifted – some of them also know how to handle a knife. 

We are all foodies. We love to explore and allow our gustatory senses to savour flavour pairings like no other. Be it a home cooked meal or a Michelin-starred dish, we all love to eat. In other words, food is life. 

A recent gathering at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS) Davao proved to be another adventure. Along with some of the city’s well-known chefs, restaurateurs and friends from the media, CACS President and CEO, Gene Gonzales opened the culinary school’s doors for our craving palates to three nights of good food, wine and never ending laughter. With Chef Gene was Chef Jun de Guzman, CACS head pastry instructor. 

Three groups from its Diploma in Professional Culinary and Pastry Arts Batch 9 prepared an impressive degustation meal showcasing their knowledge and skills inside the kitchen. Teams were given the free hand to explore and thus create a menu that will showcase their kitchen skills. Each night featured a different menu. 

The first team had an “Anghang Sarap” menu that prepared a selection of familiar yet intriguing dishes. On their menu were bay leaf focaccia and chives infused pan de putok (bread on the table), crispy seaweed uni salad with squid ink vinaigrette – crab tamagoyaki with shredded squid myulchi bokkeum on squid ink vinaigrette crowned with uni and Atlantic caviar protected by crispy seaweeds (salad) and passion fruit sorbet float (sorbet). 

Palate standout: The passion fruit puree infused with blue ternatea syrup floating in sparkling wine was just magic. 

The second team prepared a “Rising Danao” menu that had the flavours of Mindanao in every dish. Their menu included garlic malunggay and grissini topped with sesame seeds with cheesy pesto dip (bread on the table), pomelo sorbet (enterement) and the mangorian bomb of white chocolate orange and passionfruit truffles coated with almond nuts (dessert). 

Palate standout: Of their menu, the mangorian bomb stood out. Though the elements could’ve blended even more, overall, it provided a happy tone to the dinner. 

The third team gave a European spin on their menu — “Silkroad: The gate to Eastern Europe”. Their menu included Gratinated Coquilles Saint –Jacques (appetizer), Mercimek Corbasi with flaked grill chicken (soup) and mango and lime sorbet (sorbet).

Palate standout: Their delectably thick soup was all you need to take all the nega vibes away. The savoury chicken on the soup not only added texture but another level of flavour pairing that would urge you to take another piece of ciabatta bread and dip it in an instant. 

The experience left the impression that at CACS, not only do you learn how to cook; CACS teaches you to see beyond a dish and appreciate the science behind it. To the students, thank you for allowing us first dibs on your kitchen masterpieces. To CACS Davao, thank you again for opening our palates to the flavours of the world.