Sunday, May 12, 2024

All Hands on Deck: The Auguste Escoffier 4-Hands Dinner by Chefs Sau del Rosario and Kaye Torres at SawSaw

"A good meal can can heal both the body and the soul." The king of chefs and the chef of kings perfectly sums up the deep connection and profound impact of food beyond just nutrition with an obvious yet simple truth. From codifying the five mother sauces to the introduction of the brigade de cuisine, the French culinary pioneer and innovator Auguste Escoffier transformed the modern kitchen and the way we dine. Today, his enduring legacy is celebrated the world over by passionate culinary professionals reflecting the spirit of Escoffier in a grand feast held regularly in his honor. That night, the kitchens of SawSaw in Poblacion's Cayco House was the stage for an exquisite culinary dining experience... 


In an evening of fellowship and camaraderie, old and new friends gathered to honor the spirit of Escoffier over a lavish five course feast. The Disciples of Escoffier Philippines recently hosted a Four-Hands Dinner by Chefs Sau del Rosario and Kaye Torres with founding chairman Philip John Golding at SawSaw in its new location at Poblacion. The special dinner also brings together the key personalities from the early days of the association's local chapter in a homecoming of sorts and yes, masterfully executed dishes you can expect from Chefs Sau del Rosario and Kaye Torres.


Chef Sau del Rosario's signature restaurants, SawSaw by Chef Sau and Cafe Fleur, now have a new home at Cayco House by Hotel Durban in the vibrant and eclectic neighborhood of Poblacion. For Chef Sau, the new location marks his triumphant return to Poblacion. For countless fans of SawSaw by Chef Sau and Cafe Fleur, this means the eclectic neighborhood is once again the culinary playground for one of the country's top chefs (for more on SawSaw by Chef Sau, see my earlier post SawSaw and Cafe Fleur by Chef Sau del Rosario Turns a New Page in a Continuing Story at Cayco House in Poblacion from early this year).


Inside SawSaw by Chef Sau, the hidden space with its understated and subdued elegance, pristine white walls and warm earthy pastel tones glow in the shifting afternoon light. Poblacion is Chef Sau's culinary stage once more...


Founding chairman Philip John Golding brings past Disciples of Escoffier president Sau del Rosario along with one of the first members with the prestigious red sash Kaye Torres together for a much anticipated 4-Hands Dinner honoring the legacy of a true culinary icon. Each chef from the stellar cast represents key milestones in the Philippine chapter's growth committed "to transmit, serve and honor the Cuisine, its culture and its permanent evolution." 


Inside the kitchen, Chef Sau leads the tedious prep work assisted by Chef Kaye Torres and the team for the first course of appetizers. The massive open kitchen at SawSaw provides a glimpse at culinary mastery at work under the helm of Chef Sau... 


...assisted by Chef Kaye Torres. The reunion of Chefs Philip, Sau and Kaye is no doubt a momentous occasion for the local chapter promising yet another memorable evening for members of Disciples of Escoffier


Back in the kitchen, the fresh ingredients were prepped for the 4-Hands Dinner including these succulent Maine Lobster Tails...


...as Chef Sau applied the finishing touches for the evening's first appetizer course. In a seamless and precisely choreographed performance, Chefs Sau and Kate along with the rest of the team move in perfect unison in the preparation of each dish like a well-oiled machine. 


The creative and playfully inventive Kare-Kare Croquettes brings a delightful play on savory richness and textural contrasts to the palate. The delicately crisp outer layer over a silky smooth center filled with the familiar notes of the local beef and peanut sauce stew delivers a flavorful burst lingering long on the palate. And that's just the opening salvo in an evening of fresh, clean, rich and vibrant flavors at the 4-Hands Dinner with Chefs Sau and Kate for Disciples of Escoffier


Chefs Sau and Kate began the exquisite five-course feast with the Sanriku Huître with Granité de Pastèque au Gingembre, an opulent rendition with large succulent oyster topped with finely-shaved watermelon and ginger ice. The pure and clean briny sweetness of the plump oyster comes through sweetened by the watermelon and ginger granité for an auspicious start to the evening's medley of luxurious flavors. 


For the second course, Chefs Sau and Kate served the elegant Flan de Mais with Noix de Coco and Malunggay. An inspired and decadent spin on the Japanese chawanmushi, the nutty silken tofu base infused with corn and dusted with moringga powder drapes the palate with its delicate notes like a comforting hug. Each contrasting note comes together in a finely balanced finish. 


The third course of Fruit de Mer with Thermidore du Homard du Maine, Braises de Crabe, Calamansi presents a lavish presentation of the day's freshest catch with delicately poached Maine Lobster Tail, crab and ikura brightened by the citric notes of calamansi to complete the flavors. It just doesn't get better than this. Enough said. 


Chef Sau's mastery of seafood is just one of many reasons why the return of SawSaw by Chef Sau to Poblacion brings both joy and excitement to his countless fans, myself included. One dish that's always high up on my list is his masterful rendition of 24-Hour Sous-Vide Pulpo Inasal from the regular menu. Just perfect. 


At the kitchen, Chefs Sau and Kate prepared the fourth course...


...a hearty and savory dish of Boeuf BourguignonChampignons Lacaux Rôtis, Pommes de Terre. The fork-tender beef simmered for hours in wine brings a flavorful richness to the palate elegantly smoothened by the buttery mashed potatoes with the earthy hints of mushrooms completing the dish. It's just fitting that the main course featured an iconic French dish and I'm pretty sure Auguste Escoffier would definitely approve. 


That evening, members of the local chapter of Disciples of Escoffier shared their own prized bottles from their cherished collections including red and white wines and even premium sake...


...for an eclectic mix of libations that explored the full depth of flavors without borders, boundaries and rules. The flavor experience should, after all, be unhindered and open to all possibilities. 


Chefs Sau and Kaye cap the evening with a decadent dessert creation...


...with the Entremet, Banana Crémeux, Mousse au Chocnut, Génoise aux Fruits de la Passion et Glaçage au Chocolat. Imagine the sweet notes of banana-infused cream and mousse with hints of the local Chocnut wrapped in a rich and crisp chocolate shell. That's how you end a lavish feast on a high note with exquisite techniques and the finest ingredients elegantly plated. 

An evening of camaraderie and fellowship celebrated with good food for "both the body and the soul" keeps the spirit of Escoffier burning bright after more than a century. And that night, SawSaw by Chef Sau shined the brightest in the Poblacion neighborhood...

Sawsaw by Chef Sau del Rosario is located at the Fifth Floor of Cayco House by Hotel Durban, 6249 Cayco Street, Makati, Metro Manila. 

For more on Disciples of Escoffier Philippines, visit their FB Page at https://www.facebook.com/EscoffierPH/.

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