Launches Power Lunch with Margaux Salcedo

A few weeks ago, we started Power Lunch with Margaux Salcedo, an online show for, aired on Youtube.

Tourism Sec. Berna Romulo Puyat
Tourism Sec. Berna Romulo Puyat

It’s an effort of mine to bring my two worlds together: food and politics. I realized that my friendships are so diverse: that the beliefs of my friends stretch politically from left to right, from activists to bureaucrats, from the administration to the opposition to the media; religion-wise from Muslims, Catholics, born-again Christians, Buddhists to atheists; even culturally, from art collectors to pop culture enthusiasts. If there was a dish to describe my friends, it would be halo-halo.

But there is a common thread for all of them: They all love food.

So I thought, instead of eating alone when on food ventures, why not have a grand time sharing calories with my kick-ass friends in a setting that allows us to talk about current events while enjoying each others’ companies through delicious food?

Hence, Power Lunch was born.

And I have been on a roll discovering very interesting things about people I admire.

For example, I learned from Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, one of the first persons I had a Power Lunch with, that President Duterte loves durian and doesn’t mind at all eating sardines. (Watch my Power Lunch with Sec. Berna Puyat AT THIS LINK.)

Meanwhile, Berna herself does not eat any kind of seafood at all, even if she is constantly promoting all kinds of Filipino food. She is allergic. If she must eat fish, it has to be incredibly fresh.

Power Lunch with Margaux Salcedo;
Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, with whom I had Power Lunch this week (that episode goes live on Sunday in, like the President, also loves Filipino food but pairs his kare-kare with a good merlot. That is, if he has a chance to eat—he hardly eats! He has been working so hard, he forgets to eat. Proof: Our Power Lunch was a very, very late lunch, at 5:00 p.m. (more like happy hour) and his last meal was breakfast at 6:00 a.m. (Watch my Power Lunch with Sec. Ben Diokno at THIS LINK.)

When he was younger, though, he and his fellow University of the Philippines (UP) professors would drive all the way to Batangas from the Diliman campus during lunch break just to have bulalo. “We would leave UP at 11:30 a.m. and be back by 2 p.m.,” he reminisced. “Kaya pala kayo matalino, mahilig kayo kumain ng utak (That is probably why you are all intelligent, you eat marrow),” I said.

Former Sen. Rene Saguisag, whose Power Lunch episode went live last Sunday, cannot eat a heavy dinner. He will go for just tapas and cheese or just pica pica. That is because he still goes dancing after. “I need it as my exercise!” he confides. (Watch my Power Lunch with Senator Rene Saguisag AT THIS LINK.)

Margaux Salcedo with Rene Saguisag
Former Senator Rene Saguisag

Meanwhile, election expert and former Commission on Elections Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal loves a mean steak. “Go big or go home, right?” he joked. (Watch my Power Lunch with Goyo Larrazabal AT THIS LINK.)

New York Times’ Jason Gutierrez shared that the foreign press love to eat and hang out at Oarhouse in Malate. (Watch my Power Lunch with Jason Gutierrez AT THIS LINK.)

Renato Reyes Jr. of Bayan, whom I had the privilege of having a Power Lunch with before the President’s State of the Nation Address (and the House Speakership power grab), also loves a good steak. (Didn’t I tell you my friends range from right to left, from admin to opposition?) But more importantly, he also knows where to get a good sisig. He strongly recommended the sisig at Casa Marcos in Quezon City, which we fortunately caught on their last day before moving to Baguio. It was spicy and good! (Watch my Power Lunch with Nato AT THIS LINK.)

Power Lunch with Margaux Salcedo;, Willie Soong
Willie Soong

The biggest revelation so far, however, has been that of luxury car distributor Willie Soong, president and CEO of Autostrada Motore, better known as the distributor of Ferrari and Maserati. Everybody knows him for his cars and that was how I knew him too, because I met him when he led 25 Ferrari owners to Baguio, driving their Ferraris, for the brand’s anniversary.But I did not know—because I only met him last year at this event at the Manor in Camp John Hay (and also because I am so young—hahaha!)—that he also created Racks. Yes, that Racks with its famous fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs.

I found out at our Power Lunch that not only was he the owner but also the creator and “chef” of Racks. He personally developed the ribs recipe as well as each signature sauce.

Over our Power Lunch at James & Daughters of Chef Jonas Ng at the Fort, he shared he quietly celebrated the 25th anniversary of Racks with the original team just a few months ago, although he has already given the Philippine rights to the Prieto family.

He also shared the ups and downs of owning and managing a restaurant business before the turn of the century.

Power Lunch with Margaux Salcedo;, Goyo Larrazabal
Former Comelec Commissioner Goyo Larrazabal

Funny enough, one of the highlights of his Racks days was when the Department of Tourism in 1994 asked him to host a lunch for all the Miss Universe contestants at the Malate branch. The sponsorship was worth it because after lunch, each of the contestants gave him a kiss. The last kiss of course was from his own Miss Universe—his wife.This Power Lunch online show is so much fun for me, discovering the life story of each of the personalities, who are movers and shakers in their own ways, all making a difference in the country and in the world. Even if most of them are already my friends to begin with, the show gives me an opportunity to find out details about them I never knew.

It’s also even more fun because I insisted the third character must be the restaurant. We also get to know the chef or the restaurant’s signature dishes over our lunch.

My latest discovery is that chef Jonas, aside from cooking great Asian food, makes a mean langka ice cream. Try it at James & Daughters.

I hope, in time, Power Lunch becomes as much fun for the viewers, too. Please join us for lunch today. Visit or search Power Lunch with Margaux Salcedo to find the ManilaSpeak channel on Youtube.


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Margaux at Mireio: Chateau Giscours & Chateau Du Tertre for the Commanderie de Bordeaux

Chateau Du Tertre at the Margaux at Mireio dinner of the Commanderie de Bordeaux hosted by Gigi Montinola

I had the pleasure last Friday of attending a gathering of the Commanderie de Bordeaux entitled ‘Margaux at Mireio’, a beautiful dinner prepared by Mireio Chef Nicolas Gretin paired with Margaux Grand Cru Classe wines Chateau Giscours and Chateau du Tertre.

The Commanderie de Bordeaux is an international organization of wine lovers founded in Bordeaux, France with chapters in major cities of the world, now including Manila, Philippines.

Chef Cyrille Soenen, Mireio Chef Nicolas Gretin, Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre Alex van Beek, Commanderie De Bordeaux President Aurelio Gigi Montinola
Margaux at Mireio. Right to left: Commanderie de Bordeaux’s Le Maitre or The Master and founding commandeur Gigi Montinola, guest of honor Alexander van Beek, director general of Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre, Mireio Chef Nicolas Gretin, Maîtres Cuisiniers de France Chef Cyrille Soenen

I attended as guest of current Commanderie Le Maitre (The Master) and one of the original commandeurs, Mr Aurelio ‘Gigi’ Montinola (former President of BPI). “I thought of you because the dinner tonight is all about Margaux,” he said very generously to this Commanderie first timer.


Left side, L-R: Jimmy Panganiban, Margaux Salcedo, Gigi Montinola. Right side, seated (R-L): Ernest Cu, Arlene Cu, Alexander van Beek of Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre, Chef Cyrille Soenen ... Chateau Giscours, Chateau Du Tertre, Grand Cru Classe Margaux at Mireio, Raffles Makati
Commandeurs and guests. Left side, L-R: Jimmy Panganiban, Margaux Salcedo, Gigi Montinola. Right side, seated (R-L): Ernest Cu, Arlene Cu, Alexander van Beek of Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre, and French Master Chef Cyrille Soenen. (Sorry did not meet the guests at other end of the table!)

The guest of honor was Alexander van Beek, Director-General of Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre, who flew in all the way from Bordeaux.

Mr Alexander van Beek, Directeur Général, Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre with Commanderie de Bordeaux president and one of the original commandeurs Mr Aurelio 'Gigi' Montinola
Mr Alexander van Beek, Directeur Général, Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre with Mr Aurelio ‘Gigi’ Montinola, Le Maitre de la Commanderie de Bordeaux aux Philippines


The evening began with cocktails at the romantic Mireio terrace. Even past sunset, the terrace is beautiful – that view! And we were lucky the weather was just perfect. Guests “warmed up” for a night of wine appreciation in the unusually chilly Manila weather with Ayala champagne and salmon hors d’oeuvres.

Then it was time for the real thing: check out this menu.

Note that the first two bottles are 2009 vintage and the last two bottles are from ten years earlier.

2009 has a reputation of being an excellent year for Bordeaux wines – evidence that the commandeurs really know their wines! And while 1999 was a shadow vintage (I will explain later), 2000 was likewise an excellent year.

Margaux at Mireio. Chateau Giscours, Chateau Du Tertre wines for the Commanderie de Bordeaux.
THE Menu for Margaux at Mireio. Gigi Montinola had to approve this menu by Mireio Chef Nicolas Gratin paired with vintages of Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre chosen by Director General Alexander van Beek. But how can one disagree?


Du Tertre, Alex explained, means “little hill” or “hillock” (Google translates it to “the mound”; Wikipedia says “tertre” means a hilllock or rising ground). As such, it is an ideal location to make wine because the elevated parts allow for better drainage but also better exposure, resulting in wine with texture that is soft without sacrificing depth.

Alex, who is Dutch, on the mic shared an inside joke that the owners personally like this location not just because of the resulting excellent wine but because atop the hills is where the Dutch can “look down” on the French (that was a joke made in loving jest, of course – the Dutch loved the wine so much they purchased the chateau!).

Here is a quick Wiki on how Chateau du Tertre was acquired by a Dutch family:

“Le Tertre (or Du Tertre) passed through the ownership of the Arrérac family and Marquis de Ségur until the 1855 classification. When the estate was owned by Charles Henri, Le Tertre hold a good reputation and was in demand on the Dutch market.[1] It was sold to Henri de Koenigswarter in 1870 under whose ownership Le Tertre’s reputation increased further … in 1961 Château du Tertre was acquired by Philippe Gasqueton, who restored the vineyards and château with the backing of Belgian business partners. Following Gasqueton’s death in 1995 his widow sold the property to Eric and Louise Albada Jelgersma, owners of the neighbouring estate Château Giscours.

And from the Chateau Du Tertre website:

In 1997, a Dutch businessman, Eric Albada Jelgersma bought the estate and invested in the large-scale overall restructuring, thus returning its noble personality to the Chateau du Tertre.

Chateau Du Tertre at the Margaux at Mireio dinner of the Commanderie de Bordeaux hosted by Gigi Montinola
Chateau Du Tertre. Spelling looks like “Duterte” but it’s pronounced like ‘daughter’ in French-Bisaya accent: “Du-ter”, as in “my du-ter Sara” – hehe! Plus a very soft T in the end.

As I mentioned earlier, we started with a 2009, comparing this to the Chateau Giscours of the same vintage.

The 2009 Du Terte was easy to appreciate with its soft texture, good nose and a spiciness in the end attributed to the higher content (vs other labels) of Cabernet Franc which, in Alex’s words, “adds freshness and energy to the wine”.

For the main course of pan seared duck, a 2000 Du Tertre was served, which had the same definitive bouquet and spice notes that hit the roof of your mouth though this vintage is more creamy and tannined. I would buy a case of this for a holiday family dinner.


This 2009 Du Tertre was compared to the 2009 Chateau Giscours, whose estate is located just beside Chatea Du Tertre.

My two seatmates – Gigi Montinola and Jimmy Panganiban – and I were all more drawn to the Giscours. (Nothing to do with the label sounding like the name of the incumbent president.) After Alex described the Giscours, I understood why: it is because the ’09 Giscours – in Alex’s words – is “INTELLECTUAL”! Hmmm!

What does that mean?! I asked. It meets our IQ requirements?  Alex explained: It means that while it is not as easygoing and immediately enjoyable as the Du Tertre, its complexity makes it more appealing. In other (Alex’s) words, the Du Tertre is the girl who is immediately likeable while the Giscours is the one you appreciate more as you get to know her better – like moi! a real Margaux! CHAROT! Haha!

Beef carpaccio consomme by Chef Nicolas Gretin for Margaux at Mireio
Beef carpaccio consomme by Chef Nicolas Gretin. Guests were impressed by the unique combination of consomme with a carpaccio while Alex van Beek, Dir. Gen of Chateau Giscours, expressed how he appreciated the soup with 2009 Giscours.

But the most appealing drink of the night for me (and my most esteemed seatmates) was the 1999 Giscours. It was just so beautifully balanced, so refined and elegant. Alex says the wine “dances on the palate”. – I’m not quite sure what that meant but I am guessing the wine comes alive in your mouth. What he said that I did understand is that this vintage of Giscours – although 1999 was not as exceptional a year as 2000 for Bordeaux in general and therefore called a ‘shadow vintage’ – has “perfect harmony”. That was easy to understand; it was immediately evident 🙂

“With this wine,” Alex said, “You will understand what Margaux is about.”

I definitely went home with a better understanding of Margaux, and an eagerness – a thirst – to learn even more! I’ve heard this said about me I didn’t realize it also applies to the wines – you really can’t get enough of Margaux!  😉 😉 😉


Margaux at Mireio. Gigi Montinola welcomes the Commanderie de Bordeaux for an evening with Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre, Margaux
Commanderie de Bordeaux Le Maitre Gigi Montinola welcomes the commandeurs (and their ‘commanders’ aka wives – it is a predominantly male association) and guests for an evening of Chateau Giscours and Chateau Du Tertre