Saturday, October 30, 2021

One Dinner. One Menu. Across Thirty Countries. Celebrating the Culinary Legacy of Auguste Escoffier with an Epicure's Dinner by Escoffier Philippines at One World Kitchen

Over 10,000 guests in forty prestigious venues on five continents come together to honor and celebrate one man's culinary legacy in one memorable evening...

On the occasion of the 175th birth anniversary of Auguste Escoffier, epicureans from around the world gathered one evening last October 28 with the same menu prepared by Chefs Nicolas Sale, Michael Roth, Guy Legay, and Eddie Benghanem to celebrate the life and legacy of a true culinary visionary. Escoffier Philippines joined other delegations all over the world with a lavish Epicure's Dinner in cooperation with PYC Foods Corporation, Cafe Fleur, One World Deli, One World Kitchen and Le Cellier Wines for a memorable evening of good food and camaraderie. 

King of Chefs and Chef of Kings

The enduring contributions of chef, restaurateur and author Auguste Escoffier have defined and shaped modern cuisine from his updated approach to traditional French recipes to his codified "five mother sauces" and the hierarchical brigade de cuisine practiced in large professional kitchens. His recipes and culinary techniques along with innovative and efficient approach to kitchen management continues to inspire and influence professionals to this day. Established in 1954, Disciples Escoffier continues the vision and spirit of the culinary icon bringing together thousands of active members from more than forty delegations for a global movement promoting fellowship in the industry, transfer of knowledge through education and excellence in French gastronomy.

And in one evening, all the delegations worldwide come together to honor and pay tribute to a culinary icon sharing one special menu created specifically for the 175th birth anniversary of Auguste Escoffier. 

The intimate special dinner was held at the new One World Kitchen, an elegant private dining venue with a maximum capacity for 20 guests located along Makati's Kalayaan Avenue. The prominent modern open kitchen anchors the graceful space and a key element of the design with bar-style seating. The unique configuration allows diners to interact with the chefs with its theater-like theme. Marble, steel, panoramic glass walls and lush greens complete the contemporary vibe and feel of One World Kitchen. 

It's the perfect setting for a memorable dinner honoring August Escoffier, and Escoffier Philippines has an impeccable record for hosting epic dinners (for more on the special dinners by Escoffier Philippines, see my previous posts, Chef Alain Raye Lights Up Poblacion with a Lavish Dinner for Disciples Escoffier at Dr. Wine Manila with a creative menu of Eggplant Caviar wraped in thin tomato, Beef Wellington and Tarte Tropizienne and "Simply Classic Cuisine" by Chef Robert Lilja for Disciples Escoffier at Makati Garden Club with the signature Mussels in Wine & Cream and Roasted Ribeye with Pepper Crust served with Oriental Bernaise).

"Wherever men of good taste can meet around a good table."

Escoffier Philippines keeps the Escoffier Spirit alive guided by the principles of spreading the knowledge, continuous modernization of culinary art, respect of culinary traditions and charity. One of the advocacies of the delegation is to motivate and train young talent with sustained programs like the annual Young Talents Escoffier competitions (see more on my post, And Your 2019 Young Talents Escoffier Is...). Leading the Philippine Delegation are noted local culinary figures Chef Philip John Golding, the Founding Chairman of Escoffier Philippines...

...and Chef Sau del RosarioEscoffier Philippines President and the creative genius behind Cafe Fleur25 Seeds and Culinarya Pampanga. Together, Chefs Philip and Sau have spearheaded the promotion of the culinary arts with the vision for the transmission and evolution of cuisine at Escoffier Philippines.

Inside the sleek and stylish One World Kitchen, the culinary team led by Chefs Philip and Sau prepare for the evening's dinner...

...following the elaborate menu created by Chefs Nicolas Sale, Michael Roth, Guy Legay and Eddie Benghanem down to the tiniest intricate detail. The luxurious Five Course Menu follows the principles set by Auguste Escoffier using the very best and freshest ingredients executed with masterful precision.

That evening, Chefs Philip and Sau get some help in the kitchen...

...from noted Chef Robert Lilja (for more on Chef Robert Lilja, see my post, "Simply Classic Cuisine" by Chef Robert Lilja for Disciples Escoffier at Makati Garden Club).

"Above all, keep it simple."

The metro's very best and finest chefs converge at One World Kitchen for a culinary spectacle befitting Auguste Escoffier's 175th birth anniversary. The open kitchen becomes a stage as the chefs perform a seamless choreography of precise and defined movements for the preparation of each dish.

The sumptuous dinner began with rounds of champagne and one of Chef Robert Lilja's specialty dishes, Mussels in Wine & Cream. The fresh, clean notes and briny sweetness of the succulent mussels come through followed by the silky smoothness of cream infused with wine draping the palate with an indulgent richness. Delicately nuanced, this deceptively simple starter is a fitting start honoring the philosophy of Auguste Escoffier's approach to fresh, real and uncomplicated flavors.

Esprit de Corps

The 175th birth anniversary celebration was made even more special with the induction of new members to Escoffier Philippines adding to its growing base committed to keeping the Escoffier Spirit alive. Escoffier Philippines President Sau del Rosario introduced the new members...

...for the ceremonial awarding of sashes with distinctive colors to represent specific sectors such as red for professional chefs, blue for non-culinary professionals in the food industry and media, purple for sommeliers, restaurateurs and hospitality professionals; and green for food and wine producers.

That evening, blue sashes were bestowed on businessmen Jun Sy...

...and Keith Harrison...

...while Kaye Torres was awarded the red sash as one of the pioneering female professional chefs of Escoffier Philippines.

Noted Chef Robert Lilja wears the red sash of Escoffier presented by Chefs Philip and Sau to formally end the ceremony... the kitchen is fired up for an Epicure's Dinner honoring Auguste Escoffier at One World Kitchen with the first of five courses.

Chef Sau adds the final touch to an intricately plated first course...

"Good food is the basis of true happiness."

The Declination of a Duck between tradition and modernity by Chef Nicolas Sale is recreated at One World Kitchen in a beautifully plated interpretation with Consommé, Dried Duck Breast and apple fruit as appetizer, Semi-Cooked Foie Gras topped with grape pulp with violet mustard on toasted bread and Duck Confit Dim Sum with cider vinegar broth. The indulgent components combine for colorful weave of vibrant flavors teasing both the eyes and palate.

The tender and juicy duo of duck breast and duck confit dim sum captures both tradition and a modern global spin with the duck breast delivering bold savory notes to the palate while the delicate dim sum of duck confit releases a bold burst of flavor tempered by the sharpness of the cider vinegar broth.

The play on contrasting textures and rich flavors come together in a seamless yet balanced blend with the buttery notes of foie gras topped with grape pulp and violet mustard on a thin and crisp toast...

...washed down perfectly with the soothing and delicately flavored Consommé for a smooth finish. The dish is paired with a bold red, the Chateau du Glana Saint Julien 2011 with underlying hints of blackcurrant and plums.

Master in the Kitchen

As guests enjoyed the first course, Chefs Philip, Sau, Robert and Kaye began plating the second dish in the special Five Course Menu...

...adding to a memorable dining experience. The bar seating configuration at One World Kitchen gives diners a peek at the process behind each dish for a unique perspective.

"Above all, keep it simple."

The Lobster, Newburgh Orange Cardamom Sauce with Caramelized Cabbage and Candied Kumquats by Chef Michael Roth is then served for yet another creative expression of fresh and clean flavors. The bold briny notes of the succulent lobster punches through with an audible snap after each bite followed by the bright zesty hints of the orange cardamom sauce for a delicately balanced and complex palette of colorful flavors. 

Decadent yet uncomplicated, keeping it simple is elevated to a whole new level with this dish. The candied kumquats brings bright pops of citrus notes to complement the briny sweetness of the lobster. The dish is paired with a crisp and soothing white, the Pouilly-Fuissé 2016.

The performance at the kitchen continues as the third dish is plated...

...for the evening's main course. With clockwork precision, Auguste Escoffier's kitchen management principles are executed to the letter at One World Kitchen. Despite the frenzied blur of movement, there is order as envisioned by Auguste Escoffier. 

"The greatest dishes are very simple."

The Belle Èpoque "Beef Chuck" by Chef Guy Legay, perfectly grilled to medium with its juicy pink center along with a glass of Chateau Carreyre Margaux 2016 is then presented as the evening's main course...

Chef Kaye Torres completes the dish with silky smooth and creamy mashed potatoes...

...and savory mushroom sauce. Any dish, no matter how simple, is transformed using the finest ingredients. Almost like butter, the beef chuck just melts in the mouth draping the palate with its savory and beefy richness. The mild bite along the seared edges delivers even more flavor.

The dinner is even made more special with the thought that somewhere in the world, in around thirty countries, like-minded diners are enjoying the very same menu to honor Auguste Escoffier. 

Fine wines from Le Cellier Wines flowed all night, and the Spirit of Escoffier is alive and well. 

The fourth course of assorted gourmet cheeses brings a pleasant change of pace to a sumptuous meal. But Chef Kaye Torres promised more was yet to come with an indulgent dessert.

A vial containing thin sheets of gold leaf immediately tells you that something special is indeed yet to come as Chefs Sau and Kaye plate the last course of an impressive and memorable dinner at One World Kitchen. 

"The Kitchen will evolve as society evolves, without ceasing to be an art...We must look in ourselves for new ways to leave working methods adapted to the customs and habits of our time."

The decadent Manjari Chocolate Crisp with Cocoa Bean Nougatine by Chef Eddie Benghanem caps a festive feast at One World Kitchen. Sinfully rich and luscious, the deep notes of chocolate line the palate with an elegantly smooth finish.

And Chef Kaye was right. It's the perfect ending to a memorable dinner shared with delegations from around the world in the Spirit of Escoffier.

Bravo to Chefs Philip, Sau, Robert, Kaye and the rest of the team. From the venue to each of the courses in a sumptuous dinner, Escoffier Philippines pulled off a proper and fitting 175th birth anniversary celebration to honor a culinary icon. 

With another year in a challenging new normal coming to an end, here's a toast to even better things yet to come...

For more on Escoffier Philippines, visit their FB Page at for updates.

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