Sunshine Puey, Goddess of Degustation and Roberto Pengson, Culinary Kung Fu Master


Read First:
Sunshine Puey’s The Art of Dégustation

Imagine that this is a scene from an iron chef chinese movie where the two lovers are preparing to cook the best dinner they ever prepared in their entire life. Welcome to the world of Sunshine Puey’s Degustation Dinner in Roberto Pengson’s Global Academy Culinary School. I’m glad to be part of their second batch of degustation dinner event at the 50% off introductory price of P1,500 (regular price @ P3,000) for a 14 course tasting menu. At the same time, we got educated with the Art of Degustation:

” Dégustation means “tasting” in French, and refers to the practice of serving more courses in a meal but in smaller servings. Instead of the typical five or seven-course dinner, the tasting menu can offer anywhere from 7 to 20 or even more dishes in one sitting. A tasting menu allows the chef to fully explore the interplay of flavors, textures and aromas, to become even more creative when set free from the restraints of a traditional menu. ” The Art of Dégustation By Goldweene Quetulio

It was a select group mostly composed of friends and family of maybe 30+ people. We were fortunate to be invited by Nena of Ramblings of a Gypsy Soul. It was another fun night with the foodie bloggers and be@rbrick lover, Ariel. The menu looked intimidating (May 26 Dinner Menu by Rob and Sunshine) but I’m glad that I’m not the only one who don’t understand some of the french terms in the menu. We had a fun time pronouncing the french words, and specially I learned how to pronounce degustation properly from the goddess herself, Sunshine.

Let me share with you our Degustation experience with some French lessons on the side and some critique (from the group) to improve the overall dining experience…

It is quite ironic to find a Fine Dining 14 course Degustation Dinner in the second floor of a Korean dominated building. The door that leads to the second floor where Global Academy is located, is decorated with Korean posters that you would doubt for a moment whether you are in the right place. In a sense, it is quite a unique find to eat a French cuisine in a Little Korea building.

As you arrive in the second floor, there are tables setup in the lobby of Global Academy which could sit a maximum of 30 people at one time. The attire ranges from casual chic to semi-formal dress, but I preferred to come in jeans.

The panel of foodie “judges”: Jun, Ariel, Katrina, Wysgal, Socky, Mila, and Christine/Nena. I’m glad that they allowed us to bring your own wine without any corkage.

Amuse Bouche:
Foie Gras and Almond Praline Cone
Watermelon and Basil Napoleon
Truffle and Cream Cheese Pastry
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Wikipedia Definition:

Amuses-bouche are tiny bite-sized morsels served before the hors d’œuvre or first course of a meal. These, often accompanied by a proper complementing wine, are served as an excitement of taste buds to both prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef’s approach to cooking.

“The word is French, literally translated to “mouth amuser” [for bouche = mouth; amuser = to amuse, to please]. The proper plural form is amuses-bouche. The original French word, more frequently employed, is amuse-gueule (gueule is slang for mouth but in fact means animal’s mouth (one word in French)), although amuse-bouche is considered more polite and is usually used on menus in more refined restaurants.”

The Amuse Bouche was one of the highlights of the entire meal. Everyone was excited and raved about it — literally this was dessert that comes first before the main event. Sunshine explained to us how to properly eat the Amuse Bouche serving and you should eat it from left to right.

The Foie Gras Ice Cream Cone was interesting because of the crunchiness of the praline and the exotic idea of licking foie gras off the cone. The Watermelon shooter was also a great innovative idea where you put the watermelon in your mouth and you squeeze the vinaigrette with the watermelon juices in your mouth. Everyone’s favorite was the truffle and cream cheese pastry and how we wished that they served seconds for it. I think anything with Truffle Oil tasted good specially when combined with cheese. The PB&J Sandwich is composed of a grape with peanut butter injected inside it and covered by a piece of bread. We liked this too but you need to put it as a whole piece in your mouth otherwise you run the risk of the peanut butter squirting on your dress.

Mushroom Veloute with Gruyere and Truffle Oil — One of the best mushroom soup I ever tasted. It is rich with the swiss cheese combination and I can still taste the truffle oil in my mouth. Again, you can’t go wrong with dishes with truffle oil as an ingredient.

Wikipedia Definition:
Veloute – A velouté sauce, like Béchamel sauce (or white sauce), is one of the classic mother sauces of French cuisine.
In preparing a velouté sauce, a light stock (one in which the bones used have not been roasted), such as chicken, veal or fish stock, is thickened with a blond roux (a mixture of wheat flour and fat).
Gruyere – Gruyère is a hard yellow cheese made from cow’s milk, named after the town of Gruyères in Switzerland, and made in the cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Berne… Gruyère is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming with age more assertive, earthy, and complex. When fully aged (five months to a year) it tends to have small holes and cracks which impart a slightly grainy mouthfeel.

Insalata Tricolore, Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette with Whipped Ricotta and Candied Walnuts

Insalata Tricolore, literally Salad with 3 colors (?), was served with an interesting presentation. A small cup of salad composed of Tomato, Cucumber, etc. is framed by the whipped ricotta and candied walnut (blurred in the background). It was really just an ordinary vinaigrette salad.

Crisp Skinned Salmon, Spinach Ravioli in Beurre Blanc, and Shaved Asparagus and Prosciutto Salad

It was downhill from here onwards. The salmon was dry and hard (not sure if they served a fresh one or it was just a matter of cooking). I like the big spinach ravioli in rich white butter sauce.

Wikipedia Definition:
Beurre blanc—literally translated from French as “white butter”—is a rich, hot butter sauce made with a reduction of vinegar and/or white wine and shallots into which cold, whole butter is blended off the heat to prevent separation.
Prosciutto — is the Italian word for ham, used in English to refer to dry-cured ham (prosciutto crudo). In American English usage, the term is used more narrowly for a dry-cured ham from central and northern Italy, the two most common kinds being Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele. In British English, on the other hand, uses the term Parma ham for this kind of ham, even if it is produced elsewhere outside the Parma ham Protected Designation of Origin area.

Intermezzo (Buko Sherbet) — This was a disappointment because the buko was hard, and the shaved ice was rough. They should learn from the Kapampangans on how to make a great buko sherbet.

Intermezzo – Used throughout Europe as a way to cleanse the palate in between courses, intermezzos are usually small, light and refreshing. Sorbet is commonly used, as is a light sparkling wine such as Prosecco.

All the girls were admiring how good looking Rob was cooking our Duo of Beef meal. I know that served degustation is difficult because timing should be perfect. They are cooking the dishes right on the spot and so that it is served hot and fresh. Rob was kind enough to apologize because the main dish was served late. It was really OK to wait because, the first 7 dishes needed to be digested first with a dash of blogosphere tsismis.

Braised Wagyu Shank with Saffron Risotto — This is so rich with calories and it was not even good. Words like Wagyu and Saffron risotto makes my mouth water but it failed the moment I take the first bite. There was a foie gras on top of the Wagyu Shank and for some reason you tasted calories instead of the rich flavor of foie gras + saffron + Wagyu beef. I could tell you confidently that Wagyu beef does not taste like this.

Wikipedia Definition:
Saffron – is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a species of crocus in the family Iridaceae. The flower has three stigmas, which are the distal ends of the plant’s carpels. Together with its style, the stalk connecting the stigmas to the rest of the plant, these components are often dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron, which has for decades been the world’s most expensive spice by weight, is native to Southwest Asia. It was first cultivated in the vicinity of Greece
Saffron is characterised by a bitter taste and an iodoform- or hay-like fragrance; these are caused by the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. It also contains a carotenoid dye, crocin, that gives food a rich golden-yellow hue. These traits make saffron a much-sought ingredient in many foods worldwide.

Seared Boneless Rib with Foie Gras Sauce, Primavera Vol-au-Vents — I can’t take the Foie gras sauce anymore and the boneless rib was not even good. Probably, it is just me because after eating Wagyu beef, any other meat fails in comparison. The steak was also dry and hard. If there is such a thing as Foie Gras overload, then this would be one of those meals and no wonder, they are thinking of banning Foie Gras in the US. Definition:

Vol-au-Vents – A puff pastry case that may be round or square. It is baked, then filled with either a sweet or savory preparation.

Poached Pear in Grape Jelly, Crème Patisserie and Cotton Candy

I must admit that we will give 5 stars for the presentation of this Cotton Candy dessert. However at the end of the day, this was just an ordinary jelly dessert with cotton candy on top. Somehow, there was something wrong in the combination.

Chocolate Plate: Dark Chocolate Soufflé, Milk Chocolate and Praline Truffle, and White Chocolate Mille Feuile

The desserts were fantastic!! Unanimously, we like the Milk Chocolate and Praline Truffle (middle) which was a deconstructed Ferrero Rocher.

Souffle – A soufflé is a light, fluffy, baked dish made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a main dish or sweetened as a dessert. The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up” — an apt description of what happens to this combination of custard and egg whites.

Mille Feuile – The Mille-feuille(s) (French ‘thousand sheets’), Napoleon (esp. U.S.), vanilla slice, cream slice or custard slice (esp. U.K. and Commonwealth) is a pastry made of several layers of puff pastry alternating with a sweet filling, typically pastry cream, but sometimes whipped cream, or jam. It is usually glazed with royal icing or fondant in alternating white and brown (chocolate) strips, and combed. The name is also spelled as “millefeuille(s)” and “mille feuille(s)”.

In the end it was a great overall experience and here are some constructive criticisms from the group:

  • We don’t think that this would sell for P3,000/ head. Eating at Antonio’s or Lolo Dads or La Cocina is at best P2,000/head. The ambiance is a combination of school lobby accented by a couple of school armchairs, newspaper article and a full view of the kitchen.
  • Ambiance was not even given any attention. Even a small bouquet of flowers or accent pieces would have added to the overall dining experience. To think the place is located in a Little Korea building.
  • The focus was on the food and it was rightfully so. But if you were to charge P3,000 per head, the ambiance should compensate for it and it better be one of the best dining experience in your life!
  • The desserts were fantastic and the innovative Amuse Bouche was something we’ve never tasted before. The Duo of Beef was a disappointment because you feel like eating calories and your high blood would shoot up afterwards.
  • P1,500/ head is the right amount and they can make it a promo price forever.

Global Academy, Culinary & Hospitality
2/F Amber Square Don Escriva Drive
Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
(Beside Astoria and behind CRC)
Mobile# +63 917 439 0281

19 thoughts on “Sunshine Puey, Goddess of Degustation and Roberto Pengson, Culinary Kung Fu Master

  1. I truly enjoyed this dinner! And I couldn’t wish for a better company. Can’t wait to read your critique on it. What I found admirable was that the chefs (Rob and Sunshine) remained their cool and affable selves despite the pressure and the difficult task of pleasing 30+ people, especially us!

  2. The foie and truffles from that dinner continue to haunt my taste buds…as well as the “deconstructed Ferrero Rocher!”
    But the best part, as always, was the company. I bet Sunshine and Rob were glad we were in a separate room. We were LOUD! 😉

  3. I’m so glad I mentioned the dinner to Rache that morning! I thought you guys would be out of town for the weekend because I remember you mentioning you wouldn’t be able to make it to our cookout. I was telling Mila how I wished I could divide my body and sit with you guys also. Glad you all could make it and that you enjoyed! 🙂

  4. Hello! It’s been a long time that I haven’t post on this blog. Oh wow I wish Iam there at the degustation too.I heard a lot of good reviews and things about Sunshine Puey and I really wish that I can have a chance to try it soon. She is been getting a lot of publicity lately in a couple of magazines. Another one that I want to try was Chris and Farah posted by Lori before. It is really inetesting to try these new places. The food prepared by sunshine looks really really yummy specially the dessert and on top of it,it is quite affordable. Thanks for sharing

  5. Everything looks absolutely wonderful! The dishes were very well plated too! I wish I could have that kind of kitchen! Hahaha.. With matching flames!! 🙂

  6. The foie gras is indeed such a heavenly food. But remember , it comes from a liver of a cruelly maltreated grown duck. The duck is forcibly fed thru a tube inserted in the mouth several times a day with a purpose of making it so big and heavy that most of the time, it is not able to stand anymore. The process results to fatty liver which is what makes foie gras taste good. Kaya bawal ito sa ibang bansa! Kung meron human rights dapat me duck rights din.

  7. The write up went against the young chef’s goals of soliciting new clients. Constructive criticism should be made in private and not be put out in an open forum like this. Yes, everybody is entitled to thier own opinion but not at the expense of others. This is a powerful medium…. please use it wisely.

  8. The group of “degustateurs” are cute too… especially the girls! 😉
    I wonder how everybody can keep such a good look with so many intakes of calories.

  9. i think constructive comments should be out there. of course all consumers have the right to know if something is good or not. if there are some aspects that were not pleasing, that’s life. you can’t please everybody and people asking for honest opinions on the quality of their product should be able to take it if it isn’t so good. it doesn’t mean that i don’t want to try this (i’m planning it for my bday already as i’ve been looking for places that serve degustation dinners like Charlie Trotter’s and that other place they featured on Travel and Living), but i like going to places with my eyes wide open. at least i won’t be so completely crushed if some of the courses aren’t so good. lowered expectations just mean the chefs actually have to do less work to please me.

  10. Anton, I have a friend coming over in December who is looking forward to a degustation experience or even joining a food trip. For the degustation one, do you think there’s a website somewhere where I can check out the time/schedule? Thanks thanks 🙂
    P.S. This is becoming my selling point to encourage balikbayan-ers – the food trips and the new restos hehehe.

  11. i remember my children coming home from elementary school just behind our backyard by the river just before sunsets i was always excited cleaning entire house cooking-preparing almost half of the days as if the king of queen of foreign countries are coming home for dinner YES! a home athmosphere of any best 5 star hotel restaurant…….
    my second best mikasa ‘candice’bone chinawares pairs of ‘800’ sterling silverwares with matching mikasa crystal water-champagne glasses a 100% hand embroidery cotton napkins in lime green capis holder matches all capiz plate holders all served in complete set of china service plates flowers of mini dozen pink roses in center table next to mini lit candles on both sides as we start with ‘tinolang manok’ soup then tender- grilled t bone steaks surrounded by brussel sprouts-caulif flower-broccoli-organic mini peeled carrots as we pass the rice which my husband is fond of mixing with A1 sauce besides on top of his steak then we finished the night chatting about our daily activities as we clean our dessert plates of delicious-heavenly baked ‘ganache chocolate’ cake as we washed it along with semi sweet tasting champagne-pepsi for the children just before our military{u.s.}community neighborhood friends borrows them from us i am left with all the ‘fancy kitchen-dining room cleaning clearing and i never had a word of complain just good wonderful phrases from them….our home was our personnal restaurants i was their personnal chef- dishwasher-waitress-server-butler-laundress-housemaid-driver-plumber-mechanics-delivery personnel but was very happy doing the job for them…..if they will visit us ever again with our grandchildren i will be very happy to cook-serve them again after not doing it anymore more than a decade….no one can beat a good original style home kitchen cookings yap children are inspiration motivations to revive one heck of a great personnal home kitchen…..or text a pizza place LOL!

  12. being a someone who has worked with fresh culinary grads, i feel that the passion is there and the know how also but always bear in mind that cooking takes talent, palate and about repetitive tasks done over a long span of time…i have so much respect for those that came before me who have put in the time and effort…sad to say in chef rob’s and chef sunshine’s case is that they both lack in execution..nothing wrong…its just that they both need time pa to hone their skills…take your time guys…stick with the basics before jumping into more complicated stuff..nothing wrong with that..keep the fire burning!

  13. hello chef rob pengson nd chef sunshine puey…. sobra galing nio magluto… gusto ko sana tigman un nilu2to nio….. naka2inluv un nilu2to nio….. God Bless…. BABYE……

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