Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Day with Chef Kevin Cherkas at Sage Bespoke Grill



Passion. Commitment. And the sheer pleasure of good food. It's what Chef Kevin Cherkas is all about...

"I love food," exclaimed Chef Kevin Cherkas, who knew at the young age of fifteen that being a chef was the logical next step to pursue his passion. And for three nights, you can experience guest chef Kevin Cherkas' inventive culinary style at Makati Shangri-La, Manila's elegant Sage Bespoke Grill. And just in case you missed him at the recently concluded Madrid Fusion Manila last weekend, join me for a virtual walk with guest chef Kevin Cherkas at Sage Bespoke Grill and read on...


Chef Kevin Cherkas starts his day early, and with partner and restaurateur Virginia Entizne, go through each detail with precision and efficiency honed by years of experience. From selecting the freshest local ingredients to floral arrangements, Chef Kevin Cherkas plots out the day in preparation for his special three-day 7-Course Dinner Menu as Guest Chef for Sage Bespoke Grill on April 14, 15, and 16, 2016. At a young age, he fondly remembers the comforting  dishes prepared by his grandmother, like pierogi and cabbage rolls, an experience that remains as vivid and fresh as the day itself so many summers past. From there, Kevin Cherkas embarked on a colorful culinary journey that eventually led to stints with the iconic Michelin three-star Arzak  and El Bulli in Spain, and New York's Michelin three-star Daniel by Daniel Boulud. In 2013, Kevin Cherkas opened his very first restaurant in the idyllic island of Bali, Cuca Flavor Restaurant, and firmly established himself as a world-class culinary master (for more on Chef Kevin Cherkas and his successful Cuca Flavor Restaurant, visit his website at http://www.cucaflavor.com/ and their FB Page at https://www.facebook.com/cucaflavor/). It's been an amazing journey, but the story is far from over as Kevin Cherkas continues to explore global flavors infused with his masterful techniques.

For Chef Kevin Cherkas, it's all about the details. Chef Kevin Cherkas, Virginia Entizne and the team (L) go through the logistical requirements, selecting plates to serve as the canvas for the culinary masterpieces. After a brief rundown, Chef Kevin Cherkas then heads back to the kitchen (R) to pick up trays prepped the day before.


Inside Sage Bespoke Grill's kitchen, guest chef Kevin Cherkas goes through his check list, and years of culinary experience with some of the world's best restaurants suddenly kick-in as he fires up Sage Bespoke Grill's famous Josper Grill (more on Sage Bespoke Grill's unique Josper Grill on my previous posts on their Signature Grilled Dishes and Sunday Brunch Buffet).


For Kevin Cherkas, it all starts with the freshest, local ingredients. He studies each ingredient, its subtle nuances and how it is traditionally prepared, then adds his own distinct spin for a uniquely refreshing dish. It's this approach, using the finest local ingredients and applying western techniques mastered at the world's iconic restaurants that define his culinary style and philosophy.


With the Josper Grill fired up, Kevin Cherkas then gets a thumbs up from Sage Bespoke Grill's team and his trays of marinated and seasoned pork are loaded in the unique oven and grill, slow-cooked for hours. Each of the different components in Kevin Cherkas's dishes are made from scratch, painstakingly prepped and cooked for hours. There's a whole lot of love in Kevin Cherkas' dishes, and now it's up to the Josper Grill to do its magic.


After hours on the Josper Grill, Kevin Cherkas returns to the kitchen to check out the tender and juicy marinated pork...

As Sage Bespoke Grill's chef opens the Josper Grill, a smoky and fragrant aroma with hints of paprika and pepper is released. A piece is presented to Chef Kevin Cherkas, as he inspects the color and texture, and with a thumbs up, nods with approval. 


The slabs of marinated pork, adobar-style, does look good indeed, as the rich blend of spices and seasonings tempt you to dive right in...


Chef Kevin Cherkas then carves a piece of the pork, and offers me a slice. "After you chew and swallow the adobar-style pork, wait for thirty seconds..." said Chef Kevin Cherkas with a smile. "Then, the lingering, mellow flavors come through, and that's the flavor I want. In a few more hours, this will be ready as the flavors are absorbed for balanced notes. It's going to be awesome..." and I just know it will be awesome.


But that's just one of the many dishes Chef Kevin Cherkas is preparing for the special three-day 7-Course Dinner Menu at Sage Bespoke Grill. Chef Kevin Cherkas then proceeds with the other components of his impressive menu, draping roasted garlic with olive oil...


...and checking on some roasted pumpkin seeds. Chef Kevin Cherkas pushes himself everyday, not satisfied with just maintaining his standards. "I always strive to improve everyday, even just one percent, and be better," says Kevin Cherkas. And it's the same level of passion he expects from his team at Cuca Flavors Restaurant...


Supporting guest chef Kevin Cherkas is his very own young yet experienced team from Cuca Flavor Restarant, prepping all the ingredients for his signature dishes.


By noon, Kevin Cherkas makes one more final run-through before heading back to the kitchen. The day is far from over for the acclaimed chef, with more details to be finalized before the much anticipated three-day event at Sage Bespoke Grill.


For a limited engagement of three nights, April 14, 15, and 16, 2016, guests can experience Chef kevin Cherkas' unique and innovative culinary style with a sumptuous 7-Course Dinner Menu, inclusive of cocktails and appetizers, at Sage Bespoke Grill for P 4, 280 net per person.


It's a culinary event not to be missed, in the meantime, I go for some seafood at Circles Events Cafe...


...and some spicy Laksa freshly prepared at the live station. Just one more day, and I get to taste Chef Kevin Cherkas' 7-Course dinner plus appetizers and cocktails specially created for Makati Shangri-La, Manila at Sage Bespoke Grill. Just one more day...

Sage Bespoke Grill is located at Level 2, Makati Shangri-La, Manila, Ayala Avenue, Makati City or call (632) 814-2580 for reservations and inquiries.

Circles Events Cafe is located at the Lobby Level of the Makati Shangri-La, Manila, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City or contact Restaurant Reservations at 813-8888 or email rric.slm@shangri-la.com

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