Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu Presents International Fine Dining Experiences Without Having to Hop on a Plane

April 14, 2017

Acclaimed international journalist Cheryl Tiu has been organizing Cross Cultures dining events since September 2015, under the principle that food is the most accessible way to share, exchange and experience different countries and backgrounds. As an official tastemaker for for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (the only one in the Philippines and one of two in Asia), one can trust not only that a Cross Cultures dining experience to offer cultural insight but also to give access to some of the most creative and innovative cuisine in the world.

For the 10 Hands dining event at Gallery Vask, taking place right after the last day of this year’s Madrid Fusión Manila and in collaboration with guests chefs of the industry event, we were treated to dishes from top restaurants from all over the world: Julien Royer of Odette Restaurant Singapore (no. 9 in Asia’s 50 Best and no. 86 in World’s 50 Best, 2 Michelin Star), Ray Adriansyah and Eelke Pasmeijer of Locavore Ubud (no. 22 on Asia’s 50 Best), Josean Alija of Nerua-Guggenheim Bilbao (no. 56 on World’s 50 Best list, 1 Michelin Star), and our very own Chele Gonzalez of Gallery Vask (no. 35 on Asia’s 50 Best).

Here are our highlights from some of the world’s most talented chefs.

Julien Royer of Odette Restaurant, Singapore

55 Degree Egg is also served in Odette Restaurant.

The 55 Degree Smoked Organic Egg is an ultimate malinamnam dish, covering rich, heavy and hearty flavors that Filipinos love, celebrated in an unusual textures and artistry. The eggs are poached at 67.5 degrees for 55 minutes. Drop the poached egg over the foam that sits on smoked potato purée, buckwheat, and chorizo iberico with chorizo oil.

Nose-to-Tail Pigeon by Julien Royer.

The Nose-to-Tail Pigeon was brought in from Brittany and all of the parts were used and cooked in different ways to celebrate the nuances of each part. They served a leg confit, a sous-vide barbecued breast, a deep-fried head and neck, and liver parfait.

Josean Alija of Nerua-Guggenheim

Tomates en Salsa, Hierbas Aromáticas y Fondo de Alcaparras from Nerua.

5 Spanish tomatoes sit in a tomato and caper broth, each tomato infused with a distinct flavor. We were advised to eat them one by one. Starting with the top, which had a sure-of-itself thick skin, moving onto a minty and light one, another meaty and hearty like a pasta sauce, another that was sweet and refreshing with a basil taste and a slushy texture, and ending on a mellow, clean and zesty yellow tomato, with each tomato popping on your mouth with an explosion of flavor that punctuates: not all tomatoes are created equal.

Kokotxa was also served in one of last year’s Cross Cultures events in September 2016 though with the pilpil sauce and sans the clam emulsion.

The kokotxa, or cod neck gland, sat in a cockle and pilpil sauce emulsion. We were told to take a scoop of the emulsion in first, then take the cod neck whole, and finish off the remaining emulsion. The rich and fatty cod neck was jelly-like and pure flavor that did not shock but eased into every corner of the mouth with the fullness of it.

Ray Adriansyah and Eelke PaSmeiJer of Locavore, Ubud

One of the most standout dishes of the night, perhaps because we were reeling from the high of Madrid Fusión whose theme this year celebrated sustainability, was the Into The Sawah by Locavore, which boasted being the ultimate farm-to-table dish of Ubud. The grains are from the Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Ubud and were cooked in a snail broth (snails are oft found in rice fields), decorated with frog floss, and wild flowers, and topped off with duck yolk. Consumed with a wooden spoon, Into The Sawah’s elements each dipped into the conversation without demand or pomp, for a dish that informed and inspired.

Chele Gonzalez of Gallery Vask, Manila

They call this their savory halo-halo.

At the interactive cocktails hour, each chef had a booth where they made a fresh starter. The booth of Gallery Vask was a stylish halo-halo cart with an old-fashioned ice shaver. They inserted a block of calamansi juice ice onto the shaver to create delicate and light (think bingsu) ice, poured on cream made from smoked coconut meat and infused with red onions, ginger and chili, and added yellowfin tuna that has been marinated in salt, pinakurat, red onions, ginger and chili. The ice keeps the fish refreshing without diluting flavor, and its cold temperature and infused cream ease the delivery of the punchy flavor for a delicate finish.

Whoever thought that kwek-kwek could be so fancy?

The quail eggs in this one-bite dish are marinated in soy sauce and cucumber juice, and topped off with deep fried sweet potato. Nothing like your street kwek-kwek, this dish offers a jelly-like consistency that is a medley of texture.

Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña

Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.

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