Jan 072015

Marco Yuchengco Santos, CEO of Boomerang Consultancy Pte. Ltd., with wife Carmen Romualdez Santos: They were also celebrating their 19th anniversary that evening.  

Singapore’s Boomerang Consultancy Pte. Ltd., headed by chief executive officer Marco Yuchengco Santos,  in collaboration with Sphere (an events arm of Singapore Press Holdings, Inc.), brought to Manila a unique gastronomic experience.

Borrowing the same idea that has brought delight to foodies and the culinary world in Singapore for the past four years, Epicurean Masters, presented by Banco de Oro (BDO), gathered world-class celebrity chefs last Nov. 19, 24 and Dec. 3.  I was able to attend the Dec. 3 event with chef Diego Chiarini at Finestra restaurant in Solaire.

According to Santos, “I am part of a project with the Singapore government to promote culinary events here in Manila since Asia has been increasingly enjoying the limelight as a success story, seen as the major force leading the recovery of the global economy in the aftermath of the last financial crisis. 

“One keenly watched aspect is the growing depth of rich and diverse offerings in exceptional dining cuisines across Asia. The records bear this out as the number of award-wining Michelin-star chefs in Asia has been steadily rising, from Tokyo, Osaka to Hong Kong and Macau. Indeed, Tokyo now has the largest number of Michelin-rated restaurants in the world.”

Against this vibrant backdrop lies the creation of “Asian Masters” — a celebration of who we are to the world. It is a gourmet and lifestyle event that takes pride in celebrating Asia — our talents, our produce, our heritage and our culture.  Inaugurated in January 2011, Asian Masters 2014 culminated one month of gastronomic and lifestyle events in November.

Targeted at anyone who enjoys dining and vibrant lifestyles, the event provides a unique, carefully crafted platform to showcase a myriad of gourmet activities that includes demonstrations, workshops, luncheons, gala dinners and tastings. Lifestyle activities that revolve around the performing and visual arts, fashion, wellness, clubbing, etc., are included, always with a thread of gastronomy and dining woven into its program.

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Positioned as a key regional annual event that takes place over an entire month, its reach will extend far beyond Singapore’s shores to visitors from Hong Kong and China to Japan and Malaysia and now the Philippines.

We arrived at Finestra and right in front of the door was chef Diego welcoming the guests.  I love his warm personality and his down-to-earth character.  He is so funny and very entertaining even when he serves the food.  He loves the Philippines and on the side he told us that he is hoping he can move here and find work here because he loves it here.

Chef Diego Chiarini has been internationally recognized for his unique style of cuisine on numerous occasions. He has worked at Bice in the Tokyo Four Seasons Hotel, which has garnered the distinction of being among the 10 best Italian restaurants in the world. His penchant for hand-selecting only the finest ingredients sourced directly from Italy has given prestigious establishments like the Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris, the Four Seasons Hotel in Milano, and the Hotel de Paris in Monaco even more sophistication and culinary appreciation from guests the world over.

We had a unique dining experience that evening. We had a six-course degustation meal and chef Diego prepared recipes dating back from the 16th century.  He likes collecting recipe books and that evening we tasted food that was cooked hundreds of years ago and they were still appealing to us in the 21st century.   

Aside from the food, we were hosted by chef Reggie Aspiras, there was entertainment by a string quartet, and singing by Karylle.

I’m looking forward to this year’s Epicurean Masters and what is in store this coming November. 

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For more information contact Leah Basco at 0915-732-6292.

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