Tuesday, November 14, 2017

LCUP’s Year-End Triple Treat—Culinary Awards, Degustation Dinner, Venue Launch

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Malolos Vice Mayor Gatchalian Continues to Honor the City’s Gastronomic Heritage Artists

La Consolacion University Philippine’s Chef Jeremy C Malcampo marks another milestone in LCUP’s academic history with their year-ender Seven-Course Molecular Gastronomy Dinner—a triple treat of culinary awards, degustation dinner, and venue launch—themed “SATORI from the Kensho Zen Tradition.”

Indeed, Chef Malcampo’s concurrent roles as Director for Culinary Arts, General Manager for Café Barcelo Food Services, and Vice Dean for the College of International Tourism and Hospitality Management cannot be discounted.

He set up the Culinary Arts Program for LCUP after “we got him from La Consolacion College Manila,” confides Sister President Imelda A Mora, OSA, PhD. “LCUP is now recognized in Bulacan as a leading culinary school.”

Malolos—A City of Gastronomic Heritage. Through the tireless support of Malolos City’s Vice Mayor Hon Gilbert “Bebong” T Gatchalian, an engineer and staunch cultural advocate, LCUP levels up its presence in the province of Bulacan not only as an academic hub that specializes in hospitality and culinary arts but also as a provincial center for the Gastronomic Arts.

As Vice Mayor Gatchalian promised—“to continue to seek out, recognize, support, and preserve Maloleño heritage by awarding recognition to its heritage artists”— during the first graduation degustation dinner earlier this year, LCUP honors Adobo Magazine alongside three icons of the city’s rich culinary heritage: a second-time awardee and two first-timers who are institutions of popular Malolos cooking.

Joining Nanay Mercy D J Antonio, for heir to the 1820 Maloleño classic “Empanada de Kaliskis,” to receive the prestigious Chef’s Culinary Award are Ms Divina P Iso of “Valenzuela Bahay Pawid LTB (Lugaw Tokwa Baboy)” and Mr Gregorio S Dela Cruz of “Gorio and Mimi Special Kakanin.”

Bahay Pawid is a third-generation lugawan that is also known for its lumpia and kutsinta. “Our family started as a rice dealer, but when the business went down we turned to the lugawan business,” shares Miss Iso. “To promote our lugaw, we dared customers to try our lugaw and pay only if they are satisfied—if not, they get their bowl for free!”

Vice Mayor Gatchalian, who lauded the awardees by citing their place in the city’s history and heritage as leading proponents who helped shape the Maloleño palate and popular food consciousness, recalls being greeted by the store’s mynah bird and feasting on Mang Fil’s lugaw and tokwa—along with a horde of students from Regina Imaculada and Don Bosco—and craving for Tatay Gorio’s bibingka.

“Cooking is an intangible heritage that forms a big part of our identity—of what we are as Maloleños,” he avers.

Cultural promotion and heritage preservation are two valuable responsibilities that all of us should take to task; not only because these two are upheld by the Constitution, but also because through these two “we build nationalism, nurture patriotism, and promote human liberation and development.”

LCUP—A Center for Gastronomic Arts. While guests marvel at the tidbits of Malolos culinary history and heritage during the awarding ceremonies hosted by CITHM Dean Rossette C Tanwangco, this semester’s batch of graduating Culinary Arts students treated family, friends, and guests to a cornucopia of unique concoctions that make up their Japanese philosophy-inspired multicourse taster’s feast.

Among the evening’s generous menu offering, the writer and his friend, Andres Dela Cruz, agreed that the following were especially appealing as they are delightful to the eye, the palate, and the stomach: Saffron-Truffled Tilapia and Katsuboshi Pate; Hors D’Oeuvres, served with Asti Spumante Dolce—Salmon Trance Meuniere, Cheddar Arugula and Mirin-Stuffed Ravioli Au Beurrenoisette, and, particularly my favorite, Amuse-Bouche of Melba Mascarpone-Feta, Fig Paste, Citron Shrimp, Pike Caviar; Canard, Poulet, Oeufs et Algination, served with Porto Wine in syringe—Sous Vide Confit of Crispy Chicken Thighs Marseilleseanne, Truffled Deepfried Foie Gras, Balsamic Reduction, Pesto Genovese; Sorbet et Confisseries—again, my preference milky sweet on cotton candy, Nitrogen-Blasted Pastillas de Leche de San Miguel in Hard-Cracked Sugar Coat; Entrecote—Le Plat Principale, served with Cabernet Sauvignon—US Black Angus Rib-Eye Steak A la Chateubriand; and, Desserts, served with Muscat or Gewurzrtraminer—Hard Cracked Sugar Blueberry Panna Cotta, Strawberries, Butterscotch and Coffee-Pulp Ganache of Crème de Cacao.

The food, according to Chef Malcampo, has been inspired both by the French and Japanese traditions—“they have been deconstructed, in the manner of Derrida, food created by the hungry”; and, “inspired by the Zen tradition of seeing essences, in the manner of the Kensho [Ken seeing + sho nature] tradition.”

To sum these influences is the “sudden enlightenment” or Satori that is produced and arrived at in the process.

Kenzo Board Room—A Showcase of Festivities. But the sumptuous graduation dinner would not be complete, with all the honors and dishes considered, without giving due attention to the venue—the Kenzo Oculus Board Room—being used for the first time for this yearend festivity of sorts.

Indeed, Kenzo which in Japanese may mean “strong and healthy,” “wise and humble,” or “build and polish” augurs what the gathering wants to achieve and impart in its guests, honorees, and organizers. On the other hand, Oculus refers to “a round-like opening, an eye” for which to see, and to see both from without and from within, see far.

The venue, home to a deliciously big and bright mural in orange and yellow by no less than Chef Malcampo himself, is a rectangular length of dinner-meeting space enclosed on all sides by transparent glass—the perfect showcase for LCUP’s best talents, promising projects, and materializing visions.


Text by Camilo Mendoza Villanueva, Jr
Photos by Andres DlC Dela Cruz

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