Indonesian cuisine at Sofitel’s Chef’s Table

Sofitel held a lovely dinner just this week featuring Indonesian food featuring Chef Pradipta Bayu Primaputra of Pullman, flown in all the way from Jakarta.

Here are his impressive credentials shared by Sofitel:

Our featured Chef, Pullman Jakarta’s Indonesian master Chef, Pradipta Bayu Primaputra.  He grew up in vibrant Jakarta where his interest, deep appreciation and passion for Indonesian cuisine were cultivated. He pursued his love for food with experience enriched by attachments with Ritz Carlton Doha and the capital’s most prestigious catering company and provider of choice for culinary requirements for dignitaries and state visitors, Culture Royale. For this week-long food festival featuring Indonesian dishes, he will introduce heritage recipes rooted from Javanese, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Balinese cuisine.

In person, Chef Bayu is a lovely fellow: soft-spoken, humble … But his cooking is the total opposite: dynamic, fiery, alive!

Dinner started with this earthy appetizer: Gado gado. It is really is just boiled vegetables … but that cracker! With the Indonesian peanuts and the kaffir … that is one beautiful cracker. Chef Bayu shared that this is a popular dish in Jakarta – you can find it on the street, you can find it in a five star hotel.

Next we had the Balinese version of satay: Sate Lilit. Sate is usually done with chicken but this one used prawns, as sate lilit is usually made with seafood. But what i loved on this one was the sambal paste that crowned it. It made those simple appetizer sticks come alive!

For the main course, we simply had chicken. But there is nothing simple about making this chicken. First of all, it is cooked like it was “inasal” but more complicated is the sauces that come with, using both a red chili paste and a white chili paste – both made by the chef from scratch!

Finally, dessert. This looks just like our minatamis na saging. And the chef did use just local bananas. But what made it Indonesian is the milk that was first simmered. Pour this on those bananas and you are immediately transported to Indonesia!

This series of dinners is for their campaign called Flavors of the World wherein they feature a foreign chef every number of months. But what is special is that the guest chefs do a “chef’s table” and you get to watch them while they cook. Or you can even book a cooking lesson, especially if you are a big group!

Insider tip- here’s the sked for the next “flavors of the world”:

  • Flavors of Thailand in time for the Songkran festival on 18th –20th April 2017 featuring Spiral’s own Chef Romeo Malate
  • Flavors of France in time for the (French Month featuring London-based Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Galmiche on 7th –17th July 2017
  • Flavors of India on 11th – 24th September

If you want your own private dinner or cooking lessons, just call Sofitel and they will arrange and customize it for you. Some requirements: minimum is for 10 people, 3 days notice, P4,200 nett per person including 5 courses, coffee or tea plus the bespoke welcome drink, and if you want wine-pairing, just add P1,500 more.

You have until Sunday to catch Chef Bayu at Sofitel’s Spiral. Head on over! It’s worth the traffic!

Sofitel brings in French Master Chef Matthieu Garrel

Maitres Cuisinieres de France Master Chef Matthieu Garrel of Le Belisaire visits Sofitel Philippines. Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.

Chef Matthieu Garrel, Le Belisaire, at Sofitel Philippines. Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.com.The Philippines has truly been blessed with many an excellent foreign chef this year. After the recent visit of French Master Chef Christian Tetedoie comes another Master Chef: Matthieu Garrel.

In case you missed it, click HERE for my piece in the Inquirer on the visit of Christian Tetedoie, the President of the Maitres Cuisiniers de France (Master Chef of France), the highest honor for a chef in France, in the Inquirer.

Also very proud of our adopted French chef, Philippine-based Cyrille Soenen, who just joined this exclusive league of chefs this year. Thanks to Cyrille, we can now boast of having a true French master chef on our shores!

I didn’t know what a delight I was in for until I noticed Chef Matthieu’s jacket. Sofitel’s PR Director Yasmine Hidalgo often holds wine dinners and I like to attend just to increase my vino knowledge so I thought it was just another wine dinner (which are always special). Turns it was an extra special night, entitled “An Evening in Paris”.

“Master Chef! Oooh!” I said, as I was introduced to Chef Matthieu. “I paid for this,” he joked. That was just the beginning of a series of hilarious comments from this Master.

When I asked to have my book signed, he signed at the back instead of the front page, where there is a caricature of him. Then he said, “You want a picture of me with hair?” And proceeds to draw hair on the caricature. “No need, you look like Sean Connery without hair!” I joked back.

Master Chef Matthieu Garrel of Le Belisaire visits Sofitel Philippines. Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious. But as funny as he is, he is serious about his food, as we saw in the meal that followed.

French Twist

What better way to start a French dinner than with oysters? Garrel’s version, however, is made special with a champagne sauce. It also very curiously used chorizo!

Maitres des Cuisiniers Master Chef Matthieu Garrel of Le Belisaire visits Sofitel Philippines. Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious. This was followed by a lobster ravioli. This is a signature dish of his restaurant Le Belisaire although they use langoustines. Don’t be fooled by that lobster head. It’s just for your eyes (nothing underneath). The lobster meat is neatly tucked underneath that sheet of pasta. So when you cut through the sheet, there is a burst of umami. Truly a fine dining dish. Maitres des Cuisiniers Master Chef Matthieu Garrel of Le Belisaire visits Sofitel Philippines. Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.

Foie Foie Foie!

But those were just introductions to the stars of the show: foie gras. Damien Marchenay, F&B Director of Sofitel Manila, who was my seatmate at this dinner, shared that Le Bar, which pretty much works as Sofitel’s lobby, will be offering a foie gras menu designed by Garrel for the month of July, as they celebrate French month.

So in comes a very curious combination, another “French twist” by Garrel: foie gras with … vegetables and clams! It is deceptive. You think you are eating something not just delicious but also healthy. Such relaxed indulgence!

This was paired with an 2007 Alsace Grand Cru Riesling Altenberg de Bergheim which the sommelier explained is “not Germanic but very French” even if it is a Riesling. She emphasized that it is not sweet, which is what distinguishes an Alsacean Riesling.

Maitres des Cuisiniers Master Chef Matthieu Garrel for Sofitel Philippines. Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious. Then the piece de resistance: Duo de Canard. Beneath that glistening piece of foie gras are layers of a puree of buttered stewed duck and mashed potatoes. This is really indulgent, a filling meal by itself. The veggies on the side obviously break the monotony of the indulgent duck.

Maitres des Cuisiniers Master Chef Matthieu Garrel for Sofitel Philippines. Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious. This was paired with a 2008 Saint Emilion Grand Cru. While the sommelier explained that St. Emillion is a wine that is “softer” and “more elegant”, I personally preferred the following wine, a Cotes du Roussillon by Bernard Magrez, even if it is relatively still young (2011; the most highly recommended vintage is 2004) as it was surprisingly more velvety. It is 70% Syrah. Apparently, as you can see in the photo below, I am inclined towards unctuous flavors, depicting an appreciation for wines with higher alcohol content!

Maitres des Cuisiniers Master Chef Matthieu Garrel for Sofitel Philippines. Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious.
Photo courtesy of Yasmine Hidalgo via Facebook. Chef Matthieu Garrel (in chef’s jacket) beside Yasmine Hidalgo of Sofitel (seated with glamorous necklace).

The Cotes du Roussillon Mon Seul Reve was served with the Moelleux Chaud au Chocolat du Belisair. This immediately brought me back to France. There is something about the French and chocolate. It was creamy yet definitive, i.e, the taste of chocolate was not lost in its creaminess; and rich yet elegant, i.e., hindi sabog. Loved this. Dude knows his chocolate.

Maitres des Cuisiniers Master Chef Matthieu Garrel for Sofitel Philippines. Margaux Salcedo for margauxlicious. It was, as its title suggested, “an evening in Paris”. Garrel deserves that Maitres Cuisinieres de France title. An excellent chef indeed.

If you are in Paris, check out his restaurant Le Belisaire, which is said to have been a favorite of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In the meantime, this menu is now offered at Spiral the buffet of Sofitel Manila. There is also a special Foie Gras menu at Le Bar for the month of July.

Sofitel Manila
Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila
CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard
Tel: (+632) 551-5555

Le Belisaire, Paris.
2 rue Marmontel
+01 48 28 62 24