2 Japanese chefs play with humble Filipino ingredients

Angelo G. Garcia

Posted at Aug 29 2019 05:42 AM

MANILA -- Kangkong is usually found in the classic sour soup sinigang. But what if this humble vegetable is prepared by a highly skilled chef? 

Probably a dish like this: A pan-seared MB7 grade Wagyu tenderloin served with sauteed kangkong topped with sisig-inspired crispy pork mask bits with Pedro Ximenez, bearnaise sauce, and summer truffle. 

MB7 Wagyu tenderloin with bearnaise, summer truffle, sauteed kangkong with sisig-inspired pork mask bits with Pedro Ximenez. Photo by author

This dish was part of the nine-course four-hands dinner recently organized by Epilogue at S'Maison in Pasay City. The entree was conceptualized by two renowned Japanese chefs, Yoshiaki Ito and Hiroyuki Meno. 

These two are no ordinary chefs, however. Ito is a Michelin-starred chef, obtaining his first star for his restaurant L'Archeste in Paris, France, while Meno has worked for multiple Michelin starred restaurants including the three-star Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France.

The dinner was called “A Four Hands Collaboration” featuring the two chefs. And it was the first time in 13 years that the two, who are also good friends, shared a kitchen together.

Meno is at the helm of Epilogue fine bistro and has been creating exceptional food. 

The dinner, with the media table hosted by SM Supermalls chief operating officer Steven Tan, showcased the two chefs' expertise in European flavors. 

For the first time in 13 years, acclaimed Japanese chefs Yoshiaki Ito and Hiroyuki Ito share a kitchen again. Handout

Like Epilogue's concept of “European sophistication. Japanese Discipline” the two classically trained chefs created dishes showcasing their unique culinary craft. This time, using local ingredients in their dishes. 

Besides kangkong, the chefs were able to incorporate singkamas, bulaklak ng kalabasa, dalandan, puso ng saging, sayote, adlai, talong, malunggay, mangga, and calamansi in their exquisite dishes. 

This four-hands dinner was also quite unique since both chefs conceptualized and executed each dish together, unlike in similar dinner setups where each chef is assigned to create dishes separately. 

The first three bite-sized courses were served on a single plate. These include the Saint-Jacques (chopped up Hokkaido scallop with ginger oil and singkamas remoulade), Beignet (deep-fried squash flower stuffed with aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, and topped with dalandan jam), and Pissaradiere (a small pastry stuffed with mornay sauce, summer truffle, and topped with Iberico pancetta).

Gazpacho with red bell pepper mousse, burrata, and basil. Photo by author

The soup course was a modern take on Spanish gazpacho. A foamy gazpacho was served with a red bell pepper mousse, burrata cheese, basil, and chunks of white peaches. This was paired with a glass of 2016 Saint Clair Omaka Reserve Chardonnay from New Zealand. 

Yellowtail and crab with liveche mayonnaise, eggplant, radish, and parsely. Photo by author

This was followed by the yellowtail and crab dish served with liveche mayonnaise, eggplant, radish, and parsely, paired with the same Saint Clair Chardonnay. 

Grouper in bouillabaisse soup with lemongrass, banana heart, sayote, and fennel. Photo by author

The fish entree was a piece of giant grouper in a bowl of bouillabaisse soup with lemongrass, banana heart, chayote (sayote), and fennel. This was paired with the Spanish 2017 Bodegas Aessir Bobal Rosé.

The next course was the poached foie gras with adlai risotto and moringa (malunggay), served in a coffee cup. This one was paired with the same Spanish rosé. 

The main entree was the wagyu course and was paired with the 2012 Chateau Mauvesin Barton Moulis-en-Medoc French wine. 

Vacherin with cafe biscuit, mango-calamansi sorbet, and ivoire mousse. Photo by author

Ending the dinner is the vacherin, a type of French meringue. The vacherin is stuffed with mango-clamansi sorbet, cafe biscuit, and ivoire mousse. It was paired with a Chilean wine, 2015 Montes Late Harvest Gewurztraminer Riesling.