Food Events: Megaworld’s LaMeza
No doubt Filipino cuisine has been making a loud buzz in the culinary world in recent years. Whether it’s in New York, LA, Canada, our well-loved Lumpia, Pancit, Lechon and whatnot have been stars of the kitchen. And last week, Megaworld Hotels and Resorts (MHR) celebrated the best of our culinary heritage with LaMeza: The Modern Filipino Table. MHR brought together all of its executive chefs for a night of merriment, drinking, and good Filipino food – with a twist.
“We want to create and celebrate Filipino food that we love and do our best because it’s from our home” shares Ms. Cleofe Albiso, Managing Director of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts. MHR is the Philippines’ largest homegrown hotel chain with 4,000 room keys and 11 properties across the country.
With the love for local food and an overflow of creative talents, Megaworld Hotels and Resorts (MHR) brings people together for an evening of festive culinary delights entitled LaMeza. By recreating The Modern Filipino Table. As a proud homegrown brand, “We want to offer our very own” says Albiso.
An Evening of Diversity and Flavors at LaMeza
Thanks to the country’s archipelagic design, Albiso notes that “Filipino cuisine is diverse and flavorful” and comes with a unique story represented by its very own signature dishes from the many regions that guests both local and foreign have all come to love. On this night, MHR gathers all its executive head chefs from all its properties. As they debut the future of its culinary offers available in all its locations through an elevated 9-course dinner designed to draw you closer to the flavorful roots of “Our Heart, Your Home”.
The event was hosted by MHR’s newest property, the Kingsford Hotel Manila, located at the heart of the Entertainment City of Paranaque. The night started with lovely cocktails greeted by the soothing rhythm of a live string quartet. A lovely spread of bite-sized eats were served with overflowing drinks.
We all salivated over their innovative but familiar tastes of kare-kare, chicken inasal, lechon ice cream, sisig, kinilaw, lechon, lumpia, empanada, humba, and dinakdakan. Everything was so good and unique, I couldn’t resist going for seconds. Especially that homemade vanilla ice cream with candied Cebu Lechon. As if we weren’t excepting a 9-course degustation! Impressive to say the least.
9-Course Degustation at LaMeza
And it was time for the main event. We were all ushered to our tables and were warmly welcomed by MHR’s Managing Director, Ms. Cleofe Albiso. I for one couldn’t be more excited as Ms. Cleofe gave us a glimpse of all the gustatory surprises that await each guest. Michelle Aventajado, the event’s master of ceremonies and a foodie herself, then takes after as she glides everyone through the evening’s program. The night becomes more pleasing with the live vocal solo of Opalhene Rose Barba with live accompaniment easing in before the first course.
Baguio: Raisin Bread with Strawberry Cream Cheese Butter
Then the night begins with Baguio. Ah, love at first bite! Imagine a freshly baked soft raisin roll topped with crispy quinoa and the dark sweetness of molasses. Soft but crispy, it was ingeniously paired with cream cheese and softened butter flavored with locally picked strawberries all the way from Baguio City.
Aklan: Crab Chorizo Tortellini with Seafood and Saffron Cream with Mushroom Tuile
We move on to Aklan. I haven’t been much around Aklan except for Boracay. But if there are two things the province is known for, it’s seafood and Boracay’s “chorizo”. And so for our second course at LaMeza, we were served with a unique pasta dish cooked with the freshest crab catch from the province and Boracay’s “choriburger”. The pasta’s flavorful sauce is made from seafood consomme and saffron cream and making it more appetizing is the spinach tuile from a local harvest.
Deeper into the heart of the evening, Aventajado gives everyone a live sneak peek as she brings everyone to the kitchen while all chefs dedicate their attention to every dish and plating before bringing them to the limelight for guests to enjoy.
Regions’ Best: Bicol’s Laing Espesyal, La Union’s Pulpo Ala Plancha, and Cebu’s Chicharon Crusted Diver Scallops
Ready for spicy Bicol? Travelers to this Southern Luzon Province immediately turn to the classic Laing Espesyal. Taro leavers braised in coconut milk for three hours and enhanced with scallop and prawn paste for a flavorful and rich taste. The twist? LaMeza’s Laing is topped with prawn and lechon kawali. Earthy, creamy, filling. Easily my favorite dish of the night!
The next course took us to the surfing capital of the North, La Union. Famous for its “pugita” or octopus, their pulpo gets a Spanish twist by poaching until it is fork-tender. Before searing it “a la plancha” or grilled on a metal plate. It is then served with creamy celeriac butter, classic aioli, and smoked tomatoes. Soft and smoky in each bite!
When one visits the Queen City of the South, it will never be complete without trying a fresh catch of scallops from Bantayan Island, the crunchiness of Carcar’s Chicharon and the famous Chorizo de Cebu. And putting them all in one dish? A little odd at first, to be honest, but surprisingly exquisite! Imagine this: stir-fried scallops with crusted chicharron, served with purple yam and corn puree with chorizo oil and Sriracha cheese. Indeed a delightful blend of flavors and textures!
Davao’s Calderobo with Cacao Cheese
Ready to take a trip to Mindanao? LaMeza flew our tastebuds to Davao to enjoy Calderobo with Cacao Cheese. It is in Davao where you will find the delicious combination of two of the most iconic Filipino dishes—caldereta and adobo! It’s a beef stew like no other where the sous vide beef cheeks are stuffed with Wagyu beef fat to create the most tender beef there is. All braised in a sweet-savory calderobo sauce. But the kitchen ingenuity doesn’t stop there! Because LaMeza topped the Calderobo with homemade carabao’s milk cheese infused with cacao compote and heirloom vegetables. SARAAAAPP!!!
Nueva Ecija’s Prawns, Pumpkin, and Edamame
Have your been to Nueva Ecija, the “rice granary” of the Philippines? Our next delight at LaMeza was a special rice dish perfectly complemented by a delectable viand. Tiger prawns are cooked in a vacuum container, then served with pumpkin-infused risotto, nutty and earthy edamame pods, topped with Parmegiano Reggiano.
Before heading for a sweet finish, everyone takes a break to look back on the saccharine journey of the chefs as they took the time to listen and share their thoughts with seasoned industry practitioners during a Culinary Conference conducted by Megaworld Hotels and Resorts. The training event that took place days prior was participated by Chef Philip Golding from the Center for Culinary Arts, Chef Reggie Aspiras, a chef, culinary instructor and columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Chef Buddy Trinidad, President and co-founder of Pastry Alliance of the Philippines, Ms. Ederlinda Decano the Group Director of Finance of MHR, and Chef Josh Boutwood Executive Chef of the Bistro Group.
Bulacan: Pastillas Macaron, Macapuno Truffle, Espasol Praline, peanut Brittle Chicharon
Alas, it was time for sweet endings. And no other place in the Philippines boasts of excellent knick knacks than Bulacan. This set of four exquisite bites inspired by the delicacies of Bulacan is a delicious fusion of classic local ingredients presented European-style.
The chewy French macaron is given the distinct sweet, milky flavor of the well-loved pastillas de leche. The humble macapuno ball we all know transforms into a truffle ball coated in white chocolate with a waft of roasted desiccated coconut, while the soft and chewy espasol rice cake gets a praline makeover with a nutty chocolate coating. Everyone’s favorite chicharron coated in glass sugar and cashew crunchies. This was my absolute favorite! I don’t eat much pork now but the marriage of sweet and salty was hard to resist! TOO GOOD I WANTED SECONDS! OR THIRDS!
Iloilo: Local Artisan Cheese, Batuan Marmalade, Guimaras Mango Essence
I love mangoes! And it was a proper delight that the night ended with a sweet ending from Iloilo. How do you put Iloilo on a dessert plate? First you place the finest cheese made from their carabao dairy farms. Then you add Iloilo’s very own batuan fruit to make sweet jam. For the final touch, create a compote made from Guimaras’ famous mangoes. Art in a plate!
Talent, Passion, and Creativity from LaMeza’s Executive Chefs
At the end of the evening, due credit and recognition was then extended to all the inspirational Executives Chefs who, through their talent, passion and creativity, made the night truly interesting namely: Chef Francis Tugnao of Belmont Hotel Manila, Chef Alejandro Bartolome of Belmont Hotel and Savoy Boracay, Chef Victor Barangan of Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, Chef Chrisopher Yu of Hotel Lucky Chinatown, Chef Angelo Chubby Timban of Kingsford Hotel Manila, Chef Ariel Castaneda Richmonde Hotel Iloilo, Chef Tristan Carlo Galang of Richmonde Hotel Ortigas, Chef Kris Espinosa of Savoy Hotel Manila, Chef June Fernandez of Savoy Hotel Mactan Newtown, and Chef Noli King-King of Twin Lakes Hotel.
Megaworld Thanks its Partners and Supporters
Megaworld Hotels and Resorts would also like to thank its partners: All Year, Diversey,Eastern, Globalinens Worldwide, Inc., GRN, Co. Harle Philippines, JMDS Hauling Services, Packaging, RGL 33 Fruits and Vegetable Dealer, San Miguel, Unilever, Wiklin Industrial Services, Windmill, Corelle, Raffles (Corelle)
This event is also made successful through the support of: Agathon, Aquasolve Phil Inc., Camaligan Construction, CG Agri, CJML, Electreus Entreprise, ESV, Excelsior, Fujitec, Golden Eye Construction Services, Green Amenities, HMCI Builder, Intra Asia Laundry & Kitchen Supplies, JC Seafood Supply, King Global, Limaseto, Megavel, Mountain Garden, Nineteen Fourteen Grain Trading, NSB Engineering Design and Fabrication, PBS Seafood Marketing, PHILOK Technology Solutions, Co., RJC, RNC, Rock and Rope, Roger Acierda, Royal Flower, Sign Media, Skycable, SLC Agrifarm, Stanway Enterprises, The Culinary Exchange, Titan Universal Industries, Toprank, Upteriors,
For more information about stays and dining reservations, kindly email email@example.com or visit www.megaworldcorp.com/hotels. You may also inquire about your future stays through Megaworld Hotels and Resorts’ and any its properties’ social medial pages.
It was indeed a night to remember. From the warm welcome, to meeting MHR’s talented chefs and HODs, and the exquisite food. Congratulations Kingsford Hotel Manila on your 1st anniversary! And here’s to discovering LaMeza: The Modern Filipino Table by Megaworld! Maraming salamat po!
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