Alain Ducasse Institute Philippines at Enderun Colleges is one of the leading culinary institutions in the country equipped with world-class chef instructors; Tuloy Foundation is an organization that provides shelter and education to street children. The two have come together to form a powerful program called “Youth With A Future,” which aims to transform street children into world-class chefs of the future.
What is now slowly becoming a tradition, a charity dinner (and auction) is held in the Atrium of Enderun Colleges every year to help raise funds for the Culinary Center of the Tuloy Foundation as well as choose ten lucky scholars to undergo training with Chef See Cheong Yan, the Culinary head of Enderun Colleges and Chef Marc Chalopin, the Executive Chef of Alain Ducasse Institute Philippines.
Ten scholars from Tuloy Founation are chosen to have their culinary training for three months at Alain Ducasse Institute Philippines and are awarded with a Certificate of Culinary Arts from Alain Ducasse Education in France upon completion of the training program. It doesn’t stop there – after completing the program, these scholars are successfully placed in internships and jobs in respected establishments in the Philippines as well as abroad.
The star of this year’s charity dinner was, of course, Chef See’s Curry Laksa.
Appetizer: Beef Satay in Peanut Sauce
I believe that the secret to kick ass satay is all in the Peanut Sauce. If you’ve got a great recipe for Peanut Sauce then you are good to go. There is no denying that Chef See’s Peanut Sauce may just be the best in the country. It is sweet, savory and chunky just as it should be. Many people use peanut butter when preparing Peanut Sauce but you could taste and see real peanuts in this one.
Appetizer: Shanghai Pork and Garlic Stem Ravioli in Tomato Sauce
Each dumpling was generously filled with shanghai pork and greens. The tomato sauce complemented the dumplings in a way I didn’t think was possible. It was quite refreshing and is the perfect start to a heavy meal.
Soup: Curry Laksa, Egg Noodles, Seafood Selection
I’m sure that Curry Laksa is not an easy dish to make considering there are so many complex flavors that need to be captured – the spiciness of the curry, the sweetness of the seafood and the refreshing aftertaste of the lemon grass. You may think that this dish is just a regular curry with noodles and seafood but one bite could prove you wrong because all it takes is one bite to taste an array of different spices all complementing each other. CJ Juntreal of Manila Bulletin said it best and I quote:
“To first-timers, laksa is just a spicy, curry-flavored soup. But dig a little deeper into that curry flavor, and you will notice the nuances of lemon grass, heat from the chilies that builds slowly with each mouthful despite being tempered by the coconut milk, a hint of sweetness from the shallots, and the pungency of the turmeric. All those flavors come from the rempah. And underneath that complex blend of flavors runs the heady taste of prawn stock and umami from the belachan. It’s a dish that is just a bit addictive, as you keep spooning it into your mouth, vowing that each spice-redolent mouthful will be your last.”
Main Course: Chicken Rice – Tender Poached Chicken, Pilaf Rice, Condiment Sauces
Chicken Rice is one of my absolute favorite dishes. When I would vacation in Singapore as a child, this is the ONLY thing I would eat. Until today, it is the first thing I look for when I go to visit my family in Singapore. Chef See may have been able to work all over the world but he surely hasn’t forgotten his roots because just one taste of this brought me back to my childhood in Singapore. There really is no way to describe the wonder that is Hainanese Chicken Rice (I’m sure those of you who have tried it can agree) – Especially when the sauce from the chicken drips into your rice, highlighting the flavor of the rice even more. The dish is popularly referred to as Chicken Rice because the rice is cooked in chicken stock, the chili sauce also has some chicken stock, and you are served chicken soup along with the juicy white chicken. There really is nothing better than a good plate of Hainanese Chicken Rice.
Dessert: Baba Au Rhum
I was never a fan of Rhum Cake until I tried this. I always felt that the cake was either too dry or the rhum too much but being given the sweetened rhum on the side instead of having it poured on the cake for me was a treat as I got to control how little (or how much) rhum I wanted. I drizzled enough to lightly cover each part of the cake and was able to enjoy the combination of flavors that would burst in my mouth upon each bite. The cake itself was not so sweet so the whipped cream was a good addition. I’ll admit though, I was so full from the whole dinner that towards the end, I was just shoving spoonful after spoonful of whipped cream in my mouth. I regret nothing.
Attending this dinner made me feel good knowing that the proceeds of this dinner are going towards the Tuloy Foundation and that because of this, Enderun Colleges will be taking in 10 more scholars and turning them into the Chefs of the Future.
Eating is awesome but eating for a cause like this? Even better.
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