NOMA by Rene Redzepi is one of the top restaurants in the world. So when Sous Chef Yannick Van Aeken and Pastry Chef Louise Bannon — who both worked in NOMA — visited the country on a quest to savor the best of Philippine flavors, the Manila Food community was abuzz with excitement! 🙂
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Together with Chef Robby Goco, they hosted a private pop-up dinner for Manila’s top chefs, foodies, and food editors in Aleth’s Kitchen. The former NOMA chefs were fascinated with Philippine ingredients, and were challenged to use it in a memorable degustation in Makati. 🙂
The dinner experience was a historic moment because of the cultural foodie exchange between Belgians and Filipinos. And it was also a foodie celebration because Filipino Food and our very own ingredients were getting the attention they rightly deserved by the top chefs in the world.
Here’s a photo essay entitled “A Taste of NOMA in Manila” to immortalize the experience…
The pop-up dinner was held somewhere in Makati, in the beautiful home of Ms. Aleth Ocampo.
The dinner mood was set with a nice relaxing view of the pool.
GLEN RAMAEKERS shared with us the story that led to this epic dinner, which started in 2012.
Read the background story here: Four Belgians, one mission: To taste the Philippines
Chef Robby Goco prepared the appetizers to get us ready for the main course.
Appetizer #1: ✮ Scallops sea urchin crustacean tapuy essence
You have to drink the soup first, made with tapuy (a cordillera rice wine) and juices of shrimp head, before you eat the juicy scallops with the creamy uni. One of the best appetizers I’ve tasted! 🙂
We headed to the kitchen to look behind-the-scenes and were greeted with another appetizer.
Appetizer #2: ✮ Native Eggplant and PineNut Salad
Ube and kamote chips, with a roasted eggplant dip with pine nuts and olive oil from Pelepones, Greece. 🙂
It was a pleasure meeting the Guest of Honor, Chef Yannick Van Aeken. Here he is prepping for the meal.
Chef Louise Bannon preparing the mangoes for the coconut dessert.
The cast behind this epic dinner hosted by Chef Robby Goco.
Pio Goco was live “blogging” the preparations, the dinner as it unfolded, and the post-dinner congratulations via a private Facebook Messenger thread. It was an awesome coverage, Pio!
We were excited to see this unique Belgian creation, which is baked oatmeal sheet served like lavosh chips. Of course, a Filipino meal wouldn’t be complete without chicharon! 🙂
Appetizer #3: ✮ Ilocano Ipon and Fish roe dip
The last appetizer was buttered garlic bread with a dip of Ipon (dilis from Ilocos Sur) and fish roe.
Chef Robby Goco surely knows how to make Manila’s top chefs and foodies rave about the appetizers. An awesome start to this great meal!
Meet the respected chefs of Manila with the Belgian delegation in the Kitchen, ready to kick off the main course. 🙂
Mad Scientist Kalel is the in-house mixologist and bartender serving the drinks.
I love this cherry beer from Belgium. 🙂
The dinner was a Bring-Your-Own-Booze event and we got excited with the wide variety of drinks available that night.
Lemon and Dalandan juice, served throughout the night.
It was a drink-all-you-can night…just the kind of dinner we love!
Another favorite was Kalel’s own ✮ Mojito concoction.
You can feel the excitement in the air, as we patiently waited for the first course of Chef Yannick’s creations.
The 6-courses menu for the night with a bonus dessert handwritten by Chef Yannick himself.
We had the privilege of being served by Chef Jayme. 🙂
Course #1: ✮ Angel Wings with Sigarilyas, Kalamansi, Coconut Vinegar & Pickled Shallots
I love the simple style of his cooking and how he made sure the tastes of the ingredients speak for themselves. I also love that he used the natural sauces of the seafood as flavoring and our very own spicy vinegar, Sinamak.
I must say, we should be all proud of our very own Diwal, also called Angel Wings clam.
Course #2: ✮ Organic Mussels with Pumpkin Sauce and Kalamansi
This second dish was light but very tasty, a combination of pumpkin, seaweed, kalamansi, mussles, and chicharon.
It was a learning experience for all of us, knowing that our very own ingredients could taste this good and hold their own. We need to take risks to discover different flavor combinations.
You can hear everyone raving about the meal so far. 🙂
The third course was a fish & pork soup with moringga — our very own Malunggay!
Course #3: ✮ Pure Dashi, Malunggay, Seaweed, Daikon, and Egg with Consomme Broth
The presentation was beautiful! The colors of the ingredients speaking simply, without pretention.
You eat the soup with malunggay and with a bit of the egg yolk to fully experience the flavors. Sarap!
It was also a pleasure meeting the players in the Philippine Food scene in one dining table. 🙂
Course #4: Ube with Wild Oats, Organic Brown Rice and Kiziek (a Nordic bread/biscuit)
This was interesting…Ube mixed with cherry beer from Belgium. They recommended pairing it with the cherry beer.
Just a bit disappointing because it lacked taste. I feel they should have put some protein, either a piece of beef or pork, to complete this.
Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat deserves a special mention for partnering with Glen Ramaekers to jump-start this Belgium-Philippines Food Cultural exchange.
Thank you to my foodie seatmates, Jin Loves to Eat and Devon. 🙂
Thanks also to Chef Aileen Anastacio and Chef Pixie Sevilla, who were seated across me, for the great company throughout the dinner.
Course #5: Cabbage with Home made Kimchi
The next course was a roasted cabbage with Kimchi.
I must admit, the taste was forgettable.
It’s always fun to eat with these foodies, chefs, and food writers respected in their own fields.
Aleth’s home was very beautiful and the attention to detail was superb 🙂
Happy Faces and Smiling Tummies 🙂
I had to sneak in a photo-op with the chefs in the kitchen to immortalize this moment. 🙂
The dessert was served on coconut shells with mango.
Dessert #1: ✮ Mango with Homemade Ice Cream made of coconut milk, kalamansi, and mango
It was served with home-made coconut milk ice cream and bit of thyme. 🙂
Jin loves it so much that we had to fight over the extra serving. I ended up conceding to Jin. 🙂
Gaita was raving about it, too!
Dessert #2: ✮ Yema Balls by Heny Sison
The yema was served and all of us loved it…it was very addicting!
Initially, we didn’t know who made it. Then we found out it was made by the Queen of Philippine Cakes and Pastry — Chef Heny Sison!
Dessert #3: ✮ Truffle made out of reduced coconut cream fudge topped with latik.
This was a bonus dessert of Coconut Milk reduced with glucose. You can taste the distinct latik flavor.
The banana was very already good but it would have been more awesome if it was coated with the chocolate coconut cream. 🙂
Thank you and Congratulations to Chef Yannick Van Aeken and Pastry Chef Louise Bannon for the awesome dinner!
Read Related Article: Guides.ie | YANNICK + LOUISE AND NEDE NO LONGER HAVE AN ASSOCIATION. WE WISH ALL OF THEM WELL
To cap the night, Kalel introduced his signature ✮ Kryptonite Lambanog!
You have to bite the lemon first, drink the smooth lambanog, then eat the Magic Berries without the seed, then finish with eating the rest of the lemon.
BONUS DESSERT: Adam’s Ice Cream!
Adam Lieber brought his new flavors of ice cream and alcoholic sorbet!
I personally like the Wasabi Banana.
The alcoholic ice creams were also interesting, particularly the Watermelon Margarita and the It’s Bellini Time.
Jin’s favorites were The Ambassador’s Butter Cream and the Wasabi as well. 🙂
It’s been an honor to be part of this historic meal. 🙂
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: This private dinner with Chef Yannick Van Aeken and Pastry Chef Louise Bannon was courtesy of Chef Robby Goco. (Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here)
✮ – We love this!
P.S. One of these days we will eat and feature NOMA in OAP!