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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Culinaire: The Magical Food Journey Returns

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Foodies rejoice at every news of food events where their taste buds are again challenged to experience different tastes from several restaurants, caterers, chefs, and many other sources of gastronomical delights. I would often join such events because I am entirely curious of their creative yet delectable offerings.

No one can deny the fact that Filipinos love to eat and we welcome all kinds of dishes from all over the country, and the rest of the world. The many popular restaurant brands abroad have already touched the Philippines and it seems every day means a new one reaching our shores. Whether through a brand franchise or merely an influence of international flavors, the country is indeed blessed with so many food choices.

One of the best gathering of culinary delicacies happened only a few months ago - the repeat of SMX's Culinaire seems to be a surprised repeat. I knew it was just held within this year and so I was in sudden awe when I've learned that there's a second one happening this October 10, 2016.

Since I was able to attend before, I could now critically compare the two events to mention all the differences. The event promised everyone to experience a night of gastronomical feast, technological trickery, magic in a fast paced breath-taking performance, and amazing light show all in one event. Now we ask if it was accomplished as advertised.

I would say a definite yes!

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From the first one - a flash mob that started singing at the start of the event, this time the organizers made it a bit sophisticated with servers fancied with LED light accessories carrying out several trays of appetizers or starters for everyone to indulge.  The servers carried out culinary delectables from the different participating caterers to one function room that served as the waiting area of guests. These bit-size starters were consumed faster than you can say "Culinaire."

Then comes the stunning light show where dancers wearing LED lights came out from the main dining hall and performed for the entertainment of the crowd. This was not the first time I've seen such a performance, but this few minutes of show still had me staring in appreciation. The crowd were equally amazed by the seemingly magical performance where technology and imagination merged into one outstanding show.

After their performance, these LED light-enhanced dancers ushered in the guests to come in to the main dining hall where everyone saw the fabulous table setups, and the main stage where the big Culinaire sign is displayed. A couple of mascots on stills where also present at both sides to add a Carnival-or-Circus-like theme. Later this theme was more emphasized with a humorous magic act on stage.

If you look real close at the tables, you'll notice that though all seem to be setup similarly with one general theme, but the intricacies of the table decors are noticeably unique per area depending on the caterer nearby. Thus, I concluded that the organizers again let the caterers add their touch of creativity on certain tables that were probably assigned to them. This was similar to how they did it last year, but this time it's a lot more formal.

The stage last year was located in the middle of the room. Now it's at the middle but far end of the Function room 5 of the SMX Convention Center. It is now nowehere awkward since back then the people on stage had to face at every direction every now and then to address the crowd from every direction. Now everyone is easily facing the same way. However, with reference to the performances, lucky are the ones near the stage. So majority of those at the far end would probably be more focused on their dining experience and would just listen to the audio of the performances.

The media were assigned to a table somewhere at the front which is located at the left side facing the stage. We were seated with representatives from different newspaper publications, a TV network and a couple of online sites. Wazzup Pilipinas is proud to be among the few publications who were invited to attend this awesome event.

When the host announced that we could now start dining on the dishes prepared by the 10 caterers and 1 mobile liquor bar serving cocktails, we knew we should hurry up for the queue would be long. True enough, we may have made it easily at the first queue at the first caterer, the length of the queue at the next caterers were challenging. Learning from the previous Culinaire, I decided to fall in line at the first three caterers rather than eat first. I don't know if that was the best idea, since when I was done with the first samplers, I found that the next caterers are now having difficulty replenishing their dishes. Thus, not all dishes were available at every caterer. I couldn't blame them because the huge crowd was really overwhelming for all.

This was probably because the crowd turn-out was huge this time. When before it was only an invitation only event, this time SMX has opened it to all interested foodies who would like to partake of splendid dishes from different certified caterers of SMX namely Conrad Manila, Albergus, Bizu, Hizon's, Juan Carlo, TastePro, Jioe, LJC, Tamayo's, Via Mare and Event Shaker. There were tickets that can be bought at Php 1,010 net per person from SM ticketing.

I was able to get one more plateful from one caterer where I patiently waited in line again. I wanted to make it at least five caterers but I realized that's no longer happening. I never really bothered since I was already full anyway. This is actually the only dilemma - how to possibly be able to taste all servings from all these caterers.

After some song performances from a lady accompanied by two guys making the music, a magic show continued entertaining the crowd. This performance was a lot more interactive since it asked for participants mainly from the organizers themselves. There were usual magic acts, but the real interesting moments was when representatives form the SMX group participate din the magic acts. There was even a laughable point where they showcased the trending Pen Apple Pineapple Pen (PAPP) song, and when a guy was asked to put his head and hand inside a portable guillotine machine. Lol!

When we thought the event was soon ending, the host surprised us with the presentation of desserts from the different caterers. These desserts were all displayed at both left and right of the stage. The sweet treats were gone within a blink of an eye. Yeah! I started picking the sweet treats at the right, and when I reached the left side of the stage, the desserts there were all gone already.

Overall, I could say that Culinaire has outdone itself compared to the previous one. Though I was not able to try out all the food servings, the dishes I've tried were beyond outstanding. 

Congratulations to Juan Carlo for winning the People's Choice award that night. Though I was not able to try out their food this time, they were the first caterer I've tried last time. Not only were their table decors impressive, their food was also extraordinary.

Congratulations to SMX for another successful Culinaire event. It was truly a magical food journey. See you at Culinaire again next time!

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