VASK: Chef Elena Arzak x Chef Chele Dinner Experience in Manila! @MadridFusionMNL

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Chef Elena Arzak is a Spanish celebrity chef of the three Michelin-starred and World’s No. 8 restaurant, Arzak. One of the world’s most admired female chefs based in San Sebastian, Spain, she was recently in the country for the first time for Madrid Fusion Manila.

Chef Chele of Vask hosted a Kulinarya Arzak collaboration dinner as an homage to Chef Elena and to give Manileños a taste of the Arzak experience.

First Madrid Fusion Manila 2015 Series:

Here’s a photo essay of the Chef Elena Arzak x Chef Chele experience…

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The dinner started late, around 9-ish, which is around the time they eat dinner in Spain.

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The guests waited at Carlo Calma’s gallery on the 8th floor of Clipp Center, showcasing his curated collection and artworks.

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Started the night off with some cava while we waited for the guests coming from the Madrid Fusion Manila congress, all the way on the other side of town in SMX MOA.

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Gallery Vask was the center of attention and the dinner place to eat and be seen during Madrid Fusion Manila.

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There were 40 seats for this limited 14-course degustation collaboration, with the proceeds going to Fundacion Santiago

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The guests were a mix of chefs, foodies, and international media. (Wondering how much a seat costs?)

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A citrus aperitif drink was served to stimulate our already super-excited appetite.

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Four appetizers were served, starting with a Corn Cream, which is like a cold gazpacho with a chawanmushi consistency.

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✮ Crispy Rice with Barramundi Mousse (by Chef Elena Arzak x Chef Chele) 

My favorite among the four appetizers, with a playful texture, like rice crispy sandwich bites.

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Besugo Pudding with Rice Noodles (by Chef Elena Arzak) 

This reminded me of crispy taro dumplings but using fish pudding and crispy rice noodles instead.

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Empanada (by Chef Chele) 

The mini-empanadas were a bit small to have any impact.

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The Rosado Hito kept the conversations flowing and more interesting.

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✮ Ravine (by Chef Chele). King, Aligue, Local Crab – Coconut Meat – Avocada Cream – Cilantro – Pumpkin Pebbles – Vuko Soup. 

The pumpkin pebbles made with liquid nitrogen simulated rocks on the edge of a cliff, with the buko juice as the sea. A very playful and flavorful seafood dish!

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Chef Elena Arzak was always happy going around the tables, like a mother making sure her foodie kids were satisfied.

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✮ Oyster with Cellophane (by Chef Elena Arzak). With Confit Potato and Grapefruit. 

The oyster was cooked really well, wrapped in edible cellophane, giving it an elegant oyster dimsum effect.

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✮ Crispy Manioc (by Chef Elena Arzak). Hydrated with Huitlacoche Stuffed with a Preparation of Onion, Green Tea, and Foie Grass. 

A signature Arzak dish, which is a cromlech tribute to prehistoric megalithic structures, like Stonehenge in the UK. 

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You have to use your hand, scoop the foie-gras base, and eat it from the bottom up. It’s like eating foie gras ice cream–sarap!

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The man of the hour, Chef Chele, was all smiles throughout the service. I loved some of his dishes, which were an integration of Spanish Basque flavors and techniques with Filipino ingredients.

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Sorsogon (by Chef Chele). Lobster – Cashew – Green Mango Pickled – Green Munggo Soup – Sibojing – Pansit Pansitan.

A clean-tasting lobster dish with bits of vegetables and a smooth munggo soup.

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I loved the pairing of the dishes with Emilio Moro Malleolus de Valderramiro 2009 red wine.

Read Related Post: EMILIO MORO: Best Tinto Fino (Pure Tempranillo Spanish Grape Variety) Wine in Manila! 

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 Buro (by Chef Chele). Fermented Rice – Mustasa – Maya Maya. 

A tribute to Kapampangan fermented rice with Maya Maya and crispy fish skin. Traditionally, you eat the fish and buro like a wrap with mustasa leaves.

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✮ Pigeon Breast (by Chef Elena Arzak). Over a Selection of Dried Fruits served with Elaborations of Seeds like Pumpkin, Grape, or Sunflower.

Tiny but very tender pigeon breasts cooked perfectly with a puree of fresh fruit flowers, with glazed mixed seeds on the side. Surprisingly good, but I couldn’t help but think of how small and gentle this pigeon was.

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The pigeon was paired with Malleolus de Sancho Martin 2009.

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✮ Roasted Pineapple (by Chef Elena Arzak). Served with Pina Colada Bubbles.

The eruption of pina colada bubbles was due to the interaction of the milk with dry ice. Very playful and a refreshing cleanser for the mind and palate.

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Cassava (by Chef Chele). Coconut – Carabao Milk – Biasong.

Cassava dish with a bit of sourness from the Biasong and creaminess from the Carabao’s milk.

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✮ Large Cocoa and Sugar Truffle (by Chef Elena Arzak). With a Creamy Chocolate and Carob Filling.

The most raved about dessert–chocolate cotton candy by Chef Elena Arzak!

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You pour a chocolate sauce into the cotton candy and it dissolves into a choco mash with different layers and textures of chocolate!  

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✮ Sungka (by Chef Chele)

A signature Chef Chele showcase of Philippine desserts as a tribute to the culinary discoveries during the 40 Days & 40 Nights trip around the Philippines by Chef Chele and Chef Julieta

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My favorites are the pastillas, pili nuts, and the choco-covered pili. 🙂

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Each guest was given a Kulinarya Arzak apron, a signed menu, and greeting cards from Fundacion Santiago as souvenirs.

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Congratulations to Chef Chele and Chef Elena Arzak for a successful Kulinarya Arzak dinner collaboration at Vask!

Chef Elena Arzak’s creations are very playful, interactive, and cooked with flair. The flavors are very clean and simple–letting the ingredients speak for themselves. My personal favorites were the Crispy Manioc, Pigeon Breast, Roasted Pineapple, and the Large Cocoa and Sugar Truffle.

I’m proud of Chef Chele’s creations, too, which some commented as brilliant integrations of Basque-cooking techniques with Filipino ingredients, with the perfect balance of strong Filipino and clean Spanish flavors. I personally loved the Ravine, the Buro, and the Sungka.

5/F CLIPP Center, 11th Avenue corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Telephone: +63 917 546-1673
FacebookGallery Vask

First Madrid Fusion Manila 2015 Series:

Live an Awesome Life,


Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Chef Chele of Vask. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.  

P.S. Time to plan a trip to San Sebastian, Spain soon and eat at Arzak!

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