ICAAC 11th Food & Wine

It took me this long to finally blog about this epic dinner because I was undergoing a major blogging pressure from Babe For Food, who was also invited for the event. Follow her blog as well, she's not only a food blogger, she's an entrepreneur with her Team Brownie. She is also not just a blogger but a nutritionist in the making! Whew! She's spoken for so yeah, she's currently not available for the taking. :D (No, she did not pay me enough to do that! Haha!)

I received my first ever blog invite on my e-mail last May 23rd. See how long it took me to post this? Teehee! It was for the graduating students of ICAAC Two Year Culinary Arts Chefs Programme's Culminating Dinner Event aptly called "An Evening of Food & Wine". My heart as Lenka placed it, skipped a bit. My initial reaction was: Seriously?! Who could have thought to invite me? I prayed to the Seven Gods for this immense blessing! I may never be invited to this event ever again and yes, I had to go and RSVP.

The day of the event came and I was not certain how to get to the place. Thank God for Google Maps, smart phones and my decision to print a copy. I am just glad I did not get lost; heck I never even visited Guadalupe until today. As I was rushing and berated myself what type of transportation I needed to take, I saw a cab and hailed for it. I was really low on cash that day and I was sure hoping against hope that my cash on hand was enough.

ICAAC was rather located on a somewhat secluded area. Wasn't sure if it was truly secluded because I'm not a local. Thankfully enough, I am pretty good with maps and I made it unscathed. I made it in time. Honestly, I was rather early. Since I was waiting to be assisted, I took the time to take photos of the place.

Did I fail to mention that I was hoping to be a chef eventually? Back when I was in High School, when my mom would leave me at home I'd check our pantry and whip something great. Some failed to my liking but heck yeah to the great steaks I have done in my life, this was pre-Google and smartphones. It is still one of my main goal now that I have a somewhat stable job now. Yes. I am getting there.

One of the students greeted me and ushered me to the table. I believe I was way too early, it just dawned to me that this is a rather an intimate, by-invitation event. There were only roughly about 25 seats waiting to be filled. I saw only a few seats taken hence I selected the empty table near the back. I wish someone would come by and it better be someone I know. A dinner will turn out great with the people you dine with.

Chef Jeremy Young, the Dean and Head Chef Lecturer greeted me when I was about to take seat. I was truly grateful that I was even invited. I felt truly lucky!

Who was I dining with?
These are just two of the out of the four lovely guests I had the chance to sit with. My friends, meet is Miss Inez Justine Aznar or Tina to the left and the endearing Miss Anne Aznar, the other half of Chef Justin Mechill. On my left was Babe for Food herself, another Justine on the table and to my right Dr. Nestor Alonso of the Freeman.

By the way, this is gonna be a long post. I guess it's too late for that now yeah? Kidding aside, I'd try to keep my description short. The internet is supposed to be for low attention span readers and I promise I'd make it very quick and painless.

First Course: Russian Ossietra Caviar, Salmon Caviar, Creme Fraiche with Francois Labet Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Splendid Brut 

First Impression: Wow! How did they get a shell to stay on the bowl like that? It was somehow glued in. LOL!

I felt like a million dollars, first dish and caviar?! Seriously?! Seriously! I believe this cost about my kidney and half my left limb.

Taste: You see the small orange dome, when pricked; the creme fraiche just burst open. Wow! What a great play of creamy, salty goodness. First bite of the caviar and totally up to my standards now. 

Second Course: Roasted Corn, Chili, Lime, Cilantro paired with Francois Labet, Cuvee Splendid Brut, Blanc de Blanc, France

First Impression: Wait, is that a shooter? I asked the student who was assigned to serve the guests. You take a bite on the corn and drink the shooter.

Taste: Sweet, corn flavor with a tint of smokiness. The lime, chili and cilantro cotton candy that's wrapping the corn was a great mix of the usual corn on the cob. It was cute and I wish I could ask for more!

Third Course: White Gazpacho, Almold Milk, Grape, Cucumber, Lavander, Chamomile, Tomato Sorbet with Francois Labet, Cuvee Splendid Brut, Blanc de Blanc, France

First Impression: Wait, hold-up, I thought gazpachos were tomato based? Okay, the tomato is the one at the center. 

Taste: I wasn't a fan of this one. I am a fan of bursting bubbles and this was a no surprise.Those spheres on the sides were grape and cucumber. Tina, stated that the Lavander extract was truly hard to find.

Fourth Course: Foie Gras, Pumpkin, Banana with Francois Labet, Cuvee Splendid Brut, Blanc de Blanc, France

First Impression: *hyperventilating* First I had the caviar and now foie gras? I am truly liking this! Honestly, I did!
Yes, this deserves two photos.
Taste: I am a self confessed foie gras virgin. VIRGIN no more! The angels sang and the heavens opened up to take me with them. Gosh, it was totally rich, creamy and the banana chip on top was a great addition to break the texture. The pumpkin cream (?) was really good as well, not too sweet just right to balance the richness of foie gras.

Fifth Course: Blackberry and Green Tea Sorbet

First Impression: Yaay! Dessert, Y U so fluffy?

The Taste: This was a good break from the first four courses.  I am a fan of dark colored berries and this was really refreshing. I believe this would really taste great on a hot, humid summer day.

Sixth Course: Elements of Bouillabaisse, Scallop, Chilean Seabass with Arnels delle Langhe Olivero, DOC, Roddi, Italia, 2011

First Impression: OH YAAAAAAAY! Seafood. It's supposed to be a bouillabaisse right? Where's the stew?

Taste: So, it is a deconstructed bouillabaisse hence the name. This is no particular order. I loved the Seabass, it was seasoned well and maintained its freshness. The shrimp wasn't too soggy at all. Jesus, the crispy dried fish was a joy! Perfectly cooked scallop in which the shrimp was resting. I went swimming with Sebastian, if you get the reference.

Seventh Course: Squab, Strawberry, Peppercorn, Balsamic with Arnels delle Langhe Olivero, DOC, Roddi, Italia, 2011

First Impression: I hope it's on the rare side. I love my red meat medium rare. It's juicier that way.

Taste: The squab was seasoned lightly and boy did that juicy lean meat just oozes with so much richness. It was really good. And I have just converted to the strawberry fans club because I never was a fan of the berry. They were all like, "OMG! You don't like strawberries?" and I said something along the lines of, "Yeah, I think it's a very underwhelming fruit." HAHA! The wine went perfectly well with the red meat. :)

Eight Course: US Beef Striploin, Kombu Syrup, Orange Enoki Mushroom, Asparagus paired with Nebbiolo delle Langhe Olivero, DOC, Roddi, Italia 2008

First Impression: Ohh, shapes! Haha!

The Taste: I love a good beef. I am a carnivore if you haven't notice yet. It had a wonderful play of texture. The dish had a rice krispies on top to add crunch. What I did was sliced a bit of the meat, added the crispies, a bit of asparagus, orange and mushroom. Wow! It was playground in my mouth. Interesting yet well balanced. I loved how they do that. How they elevate something so common and make it an entirely different dining experience.

Ninth Course: NZ Lamb, Potato, Pistachio, Lemon, Yoghurt

First Impression: Fried potato hairs! What's that to the side?

The Taste: The meat was really good. It didn't shine that much for me however I'd like to commend the expertise to the students who made the potato (insert term here). I know it's not that easy, trust me I tried it myself. Overall, the yoghurt with a bit of walnuts served as a palate cleanser, the potato hairs were well cooked and not at all greasy. It was good.

Tenth Course: Cantaloupe Sorbet with Strawberry Sphere

First Impression: What are those small squares below? Curios.

The Taste: I loved this very much. Sorry for the shadow, I don't have time to well edit the photo and lose a great shot. The squares were cantaloupe. It still amazes me how food has changed in a lot of ways. How one can say that the sphere on the spoon is strawberry and that orange square is a cantaloupe. Mind you, it's amazingly surprising. Food science has truly gotten a long way from the simple dishes our mother's use to make.

The penultimate course: Sunflower Lamington, Flourless Chocolate Cake and Custard Ravioli, Tarragon Ice Cream and Orange Curd Cream paired with my favorite Asti Spumante Santero, Dolce, Italia

First Impression: What a lovely spread.

The Taste: Let me go ahead and say that the custard ravioli was my favorite! It tasted like mochi in a way. I love my desserts straightforward and this one was a bit off beat from what I usually like. However, it doesn't make it any less good. The effort of making identical plates and ensuring that quality is never compromised is indeed something you can be proud of. Hats off to the students!
And the final course: Dessert Presentation paired with Coffee or Tea.

First Impression: OMG! There are soo many! I will just get one of each.

The Taste: Thank God I made notes and kept it for reference. 

Almond Cookie with Pili Nuts - This is rather really sweet for my taste but with a hot mug of black coffee I wouldn't mind at all.

Florentine - I liked this. It had a great symbiosis of caramel and nutty goodness to it.

Strawberry and Cream Macaron - Melts in your mouth goodness.

Maja Mais Truffle - To die for! I loved the maja inside the truffle it was a great combination to the dark chocolate exterior.

Passion fruit Jelly with Choco Chili - This was good too. It had a mild, white chocolate outer shell and passion fruit filling. Oddly I loved the combo.

The Experience:

I really was glad I shared this table with these amazing people. It seemed like we all were friends from our past lives. It amazes me sometimes how a small group of people can converse and share their opinions about the food. I gained not only this immense invite and blog entry but I would like to believe I gained friends as well. I know for a fact that these graduating students of ICAAC gave their heart to the dishes they served and they gained friends in the end. I talked to very interesting people. For a fleeting moment I thought to myself that I could get used to all this. Haha!

I'd like to thank Chef Jeremy for inviting me and share this celebration that we all love and I a strongly feel passionate about: Food.

I'd end this long blog post with two quotes from one of my favorite Chef, Julia Child who could have been 100 years old last August 15th. She passed away 2 days before her 92nd birthday. She had French Onion Soup for her last meal. Did you know she was a breast cancer survivor as well? Yeah, I know! She's one tough woman!

Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.

People who love to eat are always the best people. 


  1. Thanks for the shout out in your intro! It was a fun dinner with you. :D

    Babe for Food - your BFF in Cebu dining! :)

    1. Haha! I know right?! It was a great experience for me as well! Sana marami pang ganito?! At naka-Tagalog akong bigla? :)


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