Minnie Puno’s The Home Chef Private Dining

The idea of opening one’s house to strangers for private dining may seem odd and a bit foolish to some, but not for Minnie Puno. Minnie is known in the foodie circle for her Minnie Mousse (chocolate mousse with a twist of liquor), ang saWRAP asian wraps sold in Legaspi Market, and CROQS, filled Potato Croquetas. So when she decided that she wanted to share her passion for cooking with foodies in her own home, I decided to make that the inaugural event for Secret Resto.

Secret Resto is an experimental project where we invite OAP friends and readers to join us in experiencing a different kind of resto for the first time. It is innovative in terms of its promise to offer the latest restaurant experience with a different concept every time — Different Menu, Different Place, Different Chefs. We aim to achieve a foodie experience that we will all cherish and, sometimes, immortalize in the blog. We also hope to achieve lasting foodie friendships and create meaningful networks through this experience.


Private Dining is a rising trend these days, especially for mini-celebrations and get-togethers, typically for around 10-20 people. Foodies seek out these private dining places because the quality of food is better than what you would get in an ordinary restaurant since:

  1. Private Dining places usually have zero rental costs and most of the expenses of the chef are focused on getting the finest ingredients for the food.
  2. The food is cooked with fresh ingredients bought typically within the day, and cooked on-the-spot as you progress through the meal. Reservations are confirmed days in advance with the confirmed number of guests.
  3. The food is cooked with love and dedication, especially because the dining event happens in the host’s own home.

Some of my favorites for Private Dining in the Metro would be:

The Artist Chef 
Chef Popit’s
Bruce Lim’s Chef’s Table 
SOCO Private Dining
Lolo Dad’s in Malate
La Cocina de Tita Moning
Qasa 61 in Marikina
Isabelo Garden Restaurant in Marikina
My Mother’s Garden in Malate
Lemuria in Horseshoe

and
 
Chef Laudico’s in Urdaneta (discontinued)
I have to mention Chef Laudico even if he discontinued it because he was the pioneer in the private dining landscape. Also, I’ve had memorable dates with my wife there. I heard the only reason it was discontinued was because the Urdaneta association did not like a commercialized operation within the village. (Can anyone confirm this?)

The success of a private dining event depends on three things:
(1) The awesome company during the private dinner;
(2) The customized menu and quality of food; and
(3) Attentive service and interaction with the Host

We had great company that night at The Home Chef. The food was good, the waiter was very attentive, and Minnie shared with us her stories throughout the night. You can see the attention to detail with the fresh flowers, lemon centerpiece and the hand-crafted menu. The P1,500/head fee was sulit. ðŸ™‚

However, on hindsight, the menu we had was a bit weak because it did not showcase her strengths or uniqueness. Here are some suggestions:

  1. The appetizers should include one of her best asian wraps or her best potato croquetas since those are her well-known specialties. Maybe a a special version or flavor just for the private dining event (like Lechon Croquetas or a special Shawarma Wrap, for example) could be offered.
  2. The main dishes should revolve around the best dishes served during special occasions for their family, like the menu served during birthdays, Christmas or special anniversaries. This way, people can experience what is it like to be part of a celebration in Minnie’s home.
  3. Lastly, always end with the dessert that will blow the diners’ minds away — the Minnie Mousse. Experiment with new flavors — the more exotic, the better.


Appetizer: Crostini with Roasted Vegetables & Sardines in Olive Oil

This is a good starter (although a bit basic). The vegetables used in this Crostini were utilized in the rest of the menu, like the tomato was used in the soup, carrots in the pasta, and the zucchini in the chicken dish.


Soup: Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

It was a good and healthy soup to start the dinner, but it was a bit salty. 🙁 


We shared some laughs with Nancy, and I was intrigued with her trivia that Mario Tayag is 10x better than Claude Tayag. I wonder… If Claude has Bale Dutung, would Mario Tayag have a similar Private Dining place where we can experience his cooking?


Salad: Arugula Roasted Pepper Salad with Seared Rib-eye Steak

The arugula was fresh and the 3 slices of steak were cooked to perfection. The only thing is there’s no story to this salad, and you can get a similar kind of salad elsewhere.


Our Happy Couple Neighbors, Nestor and Maricel, joined us for the event. We always have a fun time with them because Nestor is funny and likes to crack jokes.


Pasta: Pasta with Anchovies & Seafood

It was good — the pasta was cooked al dente with fresh seafood, but it was nothing special.


Fides with her friend, Jay. She always joins us whenever she can on our culinary tours or foodie escapes. 🙂



Meat: Pollo al’ Aretina (Chicken with Mushrooms & Zucchini in White Wine)

I enjoyed this healthy serving of chicken. It was the last main dish in the menu. Sadly, most of the people in our group were already full at this point, and some (like my wife) don’t like eating the white meat of the chicken.

We did not have rice in the menu, but you can specify if you want it to be included in your private dining menu.


Dessert: Bailey’s Chocolate Mousse
BeveragePine-Orange Spritzer with Apples and Mint, Coke or Sprite with a slice of Lemon, Coffee or Tea

Our friend Dedet couldn’t stop raving about Minnie’s new mousse flavor — The Bailey’s Chocolate Mousse! I love Bailey’s too, and I liked how it was smoothly integrated in the mousse.

In private dining, you would want people to rave about every dish that is served fresh from the kitchen. Give foodies a reason to rave about the food by making it interestingly yummy and by sharing the story behind it.


I liked the overall ambiance of Minnie’s home, which was accented with paintings from well-known artists like Amorsolo, Salita, Badon, and Malang. But her most priced painting of all is her own painting of Intramuros, proudly displayed in the dining room.


Thanks to Minnie for cooking and sharing with us an intimate dinner! We will be back for your special Christmas traditional menu! 🙂

The Home Chef Private Dining
by Minnie Puno
Location: somewhere in the Ayala Alabang area
Telephone: +63917-8382559, +632 842-2559
Emailminniepuno@yahoo.com

Live an Awesome Life,

Anton 
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
Follow Me FacebookTwitterFlickrYoutube

P.S. Minnie will be out of the country for a while. Email her if you want to make reservations or if you have questions about the private dining.

13 thoughts on “Minnie Puno’s The Home Chef Private Dining

  1. Hi Anton, is it really worth the 1500? Based on your review, most (if not all) of the dishes are nothing special.

  2. maybe he meant it is well worth{sulit}1,500 pesos per head just like it is well worth a 4 star hotels but not yet near a 5 star hotels caliber{not close to perfections yet}

  3. I think its worth it considering someone is letting you into their house and cooking you a unique meal, its not a commercial operation that has guests every day… like Dinner Parties, except you pay for your dinner 🙂

  4. Yes it is definitely worth it because the food is good and the personal intimate experience with Minnie in her home (which is priceless). I would go back but this time, I would know how to customize the menu.

  5. this is called private dining in ‘style’ i love the paintings what a collection that will never fade away just rising in economic values more than four folds a smart investments but the table flowers needs a little more artistically presented flowers must be presented much more special minimalism is good BUT MUST HAVE A TWISTS SOMEWHERE not tall so diners can see each other face to face & not too low to stress a boring all flat table presentation love those wooden interior accents what a way of expressing simple filipino elegance

  6. Thanks for sharing that link!  I'm putting up SecretRestos.com soon, so that website is a good benchmark 🙂
    Live an Awesome Life,
    Anton Diaz
    Founder, http://www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
    Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
    Follow Me FacebookTwitterFlickrYoutube
    Latest Blog Post on Our Awesome Planet: Our Inconvenient Truth

  7. my business ‘fantasy’ personnal private dining: mahogany or maple square table for 8 under a fine crystal or colored chandelier below a semi medium flower arrangement of white pink purple lime green roses below are mini hydrandreas where micro tiny bits & pieces of lime green leaves inserted in betweens & corners inside a semi deep crystal bowl where dozens of lit designed floating candles lighted the table & dining room as fine set of meissen or dresden porcelain-bone china plates-services{also mini bread-butter] grace entire table beautifully partnered by 100% cotton napkins but hand embroidered sterling siverwares & fine crystal wares-set of glasses salt & pepper per guest that will SPECIPICALLY EXPLAINED O WOULD TELL what type what kind of foodS will be served BY JUST SOLELY LOOKING at the silverwares & crystal glasses shapes thus eliminate the ‘need’ of what menu questions & that hand written menus on table tops that will say sopas na tinolang manok green salad na lumpiang sariwa mechadong baka adobong manok halo halo sa mababa pero malaking bowl na may halong home cooked minatamis na hinig na hinog na mga saging kamote halaya leche plan melon at on top ay ice cream na keso at makapuno as the song WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD is sung by a sweetest filipino voice in a filipiniana attire behind her is a small orchestra as the waiters in all white tuxedo on both sides of the table served the food from the right side as well as the pouring of the fine CRYSTAL CHAMPAGNE as they removed the used dishes on the left sides of the guests with happiness in their faces thru out the course of the night nakakagutum so tara tarana sa MGA magANDANG restaurant have a good appetite just like this filipino private dining in style foodie article lol

  8. Hi Anton,
    I’ve been an avid reader ever since. I would love to be a part of the culinary tours or the private dining you’ve been having.
    Kind regards,
    Coco

  9. sana naman yung mga sikat na artista at singers lalo na mga pulitico na may masinop na asawa ay gamitin din ang mga bahay nila ngayun na ganitu na private dining houses dapat talaga ang gawin nilang pet project kasi this personnal na culinary ay masarap kasi o dahil personnal talaga kasi kaya masarap at memorable ang dating historical pa pero unang una kasi swerte kung magpapagawa sila ng bagong modernong architectural design na mga bahay na kahoy ang mostly interiors iban pa sa marmol na outside walls ng bagong ipapagawa nilang mga personnal na bahay na this time may privacy kasi design nila ang mga bagong bahay since yung ngayun nilang bahay ay gagawing private culinary dinings tulad nito so sige na paraswertehen lalo design your own architectural na bagong bahay sa medyo mataas na lugar para may views na breath takings sige na mga kababayan na mga sikat plano at magpagawa na ng bagong maswerteng bagong mga bahay bahay if you can afford million pesos bags shoes dresses jewelries eh bahay pa kaya? lol! salamat po

  10. ang mga magiging masasaya mariwasa matatag magandang mga bagong filipino houses ay yung may mga built in na mga concrete plants-flower pots na around new houses liban pa doon sa mga bakud-fences nila na concrete ay yung mga ibabaw ay gagawing taniman ng mga halaman to
    add more heights eh di tipid sa semento eh dapat nga kasi mga bushes ng halaman ang dapat maging mga bakud nyo dyan may bakud na halaman na tipid pa sa semento maganda pa dating lol! ang taong may pag hanga sa mga natural lalo na sa mga halaman at puno bundok hills rivers waterways sa starry starry nights at himig ng mga ibon ay hindi ma de-depressed kasi may natural silang ibang minamahal lol kaya sige na plano na kayo sana naman po

  11. like grandma dapat pausuhin ng mga filipino ang mga architectural design na mga bagong style na bahay kubo na made of bamboos na may ‘walk in’ closets at at all around terraces o balconies o all around elevated porches besides wooden floorings o walls pero marmol yung outside walls
    tapos used higher semi colored stained glasses to add extra sunlights sa interiors o windows pero may metal na double protections para sa masasamang tao ‘maganda kasi’ kung yung mga ‘pinaglumaang bahay’ na lang ng mga filipino families ang gawing personnal culinary private dining hayaan nila na mga relatives nila ang maging care taker na mga dating bahay bahay nila as culinary homes of the new era..kasi yun ang mga bagong practikal na investments kasi hindi naman nabubulok ang mga marmol na bahay at since yung lumang mga bahay ay will be a money making culinary homes eh di may papasa sa bayad ng mg mga bagong architectural homes na medyo sa mataas na mga lugar na may breathtaking views dapat talaga lalo na pag medyo part ng higher human species ang involved tulad ng mga local artists na mga filipinos{painters actors musicians writers publishers athletes full scholars landscapers botanists yung mga national o local champions etc. etc.din dapat} para ang swerte na bagong darating ay more than quadruples ayaw nya o gusto nya eh kusang darating lol!

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