Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Inside Look: Chef Philip Golding at Red Panda

Precision, composure, timing...a unique insider's peek behind the scenes with Chef Philip Golding at Red Panda's kitchen remains one of the most memorable experiences yet. And seeing how each dish in an elegant five-course dinner is prepared gives one a better appreciation for each dish. 

In collaboration with Disciples d'Escoffier Philippines (DDE), Red Panda and Chef Philip Golding prepare an elegant fusion of east and west with a special five course dinner for a one night only event. And I was there, right in the middle of the action, to witness the intricate preparation behind each dish.

Disciples d'Escoffier Philippines aims to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and the modernization of culinary art while maintaining respect for culinary traditions, and Chef Philip Golding leads the process with a new generation of young chefs and staff for the elaborate five course dinner at Red Panda. Chef Philip Golding checks the time, and Red Panda's kitchen comes alive in a fast-paced blur of activity. Each chef on the line is assigned specific roles, and what seemed like frantic chaos to an outsider like me is actually a well-rehearsed and delicately balanced choreography, like a dance with each member keeping in step. Chef Philip Golding masterfully orchestrates the preparation of each dish, and if anyone misses a beat, Chef Philip Golding quickly brings them back in proper sync.

Red Panda's young Executive Chef Donnah Magallanes Elizalde watches over the young chefs at the assembly line, as the heated plates are lined up for plating. And like clockwork, the different components for each dish are prepared in perfect sequence, and the young chefs assemble the dish. Red Panda's unique dishes draws inspiration from European and Chinese cuisine, with freshly made noodles to baked breads filled with savory deli meats and fresh herbs where you can, in a sense, celebrate both sides of the world. Chef Philip Golding highlights this fusion of flavors with his sumptuous five course dinner at Red Panda (check out my succeeding post on Chef Philip Golding's exclusive five course dinner at Red Panda here at http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2014/08/east-meets-west-celebration-of-flavors.html).

First course done, the young chefs prepare the second dish. Chef Philip Golding coordinates with the staff to ensure that each guest is served without any hitches, as the young chefs begin work on the second course. One feels a certain rush as the pace quickly picks up, and more heated plates are laid on the counter alongside the different ingredients for immediate plating.

Chef Philip Golding keeps a close eye on the different components of the dish, making sure each is prepared and cooked perfectly. And this is where timing and speed come into play, as the different components arrive fresh off the pans or the ovens, and delicately plated. Each dish and its different components must be served at the right temperature to ensure that the flavors are at its peak.

Maintaining the pace is crucial to ensure that all guests are also served at relatively the same time, but there are still plates to be plated...

...and Chef Philip Golding steps in to show the young chefs a quicker way to speed things up, and the young chefs pick up the pace to complete the last few plates.

Second course completed, as the young chefs prepare the next round of courses. Like a dance, the rest of the line keeps in step, preparing the next set of components.

Chef Philip Golding quickly checks the line for updates, making sure each component is timed and prepared exactly as planned. The line responds, and the kitchen once again goes into high gear...

Balancing speed while maintaining attention to the tiniest of details is essential in any kitchen, as the young chefs check and recheck each hot plate before presenting it to Chef Philip Golding for final approval. Without skipping a beat, a chip on a plated dish is quickly replaced by the young chefs.

The complexity of the next round of dishes slows down the plating just a bit, but Chef Philip Golding sets the young chefs back on track.

The need for a quicker pace is underscored by Chef Philip Golding, as the young chefs, who have displayed so much grace under pressure, calmly step up to complete the last few plates.

A few more inputs from Chef Philip Golding, and the charcuterie, soup and salmon dishes are completed. Four down, one to go...

As the young chefs catch their second wind, the line delivers the final main course, a perfectly grilled Australian Rump Steak for plating, along with a delicate risotto. And the young chefs are back on the line, bringing the different components for assembly. These young chefs, as well as the young staff serving diners, each one trained by Disciples d'Escoffier Philippines, have all performed so well, and the five course dinner has become more than just a flavor experience.

Seeing how each dish is prepared somehow makes you taste even the tiniest hints from all of the intricately prepared components, making this one of the most unique dining experiences yet.

After serving the dessert, Red Panda's Executive Chef Donna and the young chefs take a well deserved breather for just few minutes before preparing the next round of orders for Pink Panda's regular customers. And the kitchen fires up once again...

Eiffelene Salvador and Sue Lee Apo (center) of Disciples d'Escoffier Philippines present the young staff and chefs to diners for another job well done. And the future look bright for DDE's young chefs and staff. An unforgettable dining experience made even more special with a unique behind the scenes look with Chef Philip Golding and the young chefs at Red Panda.

And the dinner? Check out my post on Chef Philip Golding's elaborate five course dinner at Red Panda here at http://dude4food.blogspot.com/2014/08/east-meets-west-celebration-of-flavors.html.

Red Panda is located at #48 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig or call 475-0877 for inquiries and reservations.

For more information on Disciples d'Escoffier Philippines, you can visit their FB Page at https://www.facebook.com/DisciplesOfEscoffierPhilippineDelegation.

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