Friday, December 2, 2011

San Miguel Great Food Club brings an early Christmas to Mercato Centrale

My friend Kitty invited me to her media event recently at Mercato Centrale. Actually, I went for two purposes. One, I have not seen Kitty in over 3 decades. Second, I wanted to check out what the San Miguel Great Food Club was all about. I was not a member (it shows that I'm no culinary person) but I do love good food. And the theme for this event was "The Flavors of Christmas". How can you resist such a title????

The event revolved around making the celebration of the Yuletide season as easy as possible, stress-free and yet festive enough.

It all began with Danny Dela Cuesta, a food expert and event stylist, who briefed the audience on different ways of decorating the Christmas table, even using recycled Christmas decor. He gave tips on different topics: the menu, the buffet table, the dining table and food presentation. Danny works as the VP for Food Business Marketing of Contagious Consultancy Group and was schooled in culinary education at Le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine et de Patisserie in London, England under the tutelage of Chef Jean Claude Boucheret.

I could not stay long enough to see the actual demos but I was able to interview the 3 chefs who were part of the program.

Chef Dennis Edillon

Chef Edillon is the Corporate Executive Chef of Urban Chef. He said he was speaking about how to prepare just the right portions for Christmas meals so as to minimize or totally eliminate food wastage or over-preparation. Now this really caught my fancy because I do see that in many Christmas parties, there is either too much or too little food for guests. Here are some tips I picked up from Chef Edillon:

  • When buying meat to prepare a dish, consider that you will be trimming off fat and bones. What remains must be adequate for the dish you want to prepare.
  • People eat 250-300 grams (max of 400-450 grams for bigger appetites) of food per his estimate so this is his general benchmark for estimating portions
  • There are different ways to apportion for appetizers, main dishes and dessert. If you have 3 kinds of viands, portions will be smaller. If you only serve a single main dish, portions should be larger. For cocktails, it depends on time of day or depends if cocktail party takes place of dinner, in which case you serve more for people to feel full. If you serve cocktails before dinner, you can serve smaller portions.
  • When it's a potluck get-together, ask how many people are bringing food and what they plan to bring so that you don't end up with too much food or similar food.
  • Stick to your favorites for Noche Buena because you can never go wrong. Kids will always remember the occasion by the food that was served.

Lori Baltazar

Lori is well known in the blogosphere as a very popular food blogger who specializes in desserts. She blogs at Dessert Comes First. She developed 2 desserts for San Miguel: Brownie-in-a-Cookie Cookie (like chocolate chips in a cookie but instead it's frozen brownie chunks) and Chocnut-Queso de Bola Cheescake in a vanilla wafer biscuit crust.

Chef Ed Quimson

Chef Ed Quimson calls himself a high school dropout who just loves to cook and cook, which is why he says that all his recipes are so easy that a housewife can easily follow them. Chef Ed says he's not technical at all. For San Miguel, Chef Ed developed his special sauce for the Christmas Ham using Purefoods Fiesta Ham (yay, I have 2 hams here that I can prepare using this recipe!), Roast Jumbo Chicken with Green Grapes and Cranberry Jelly, and Pork Pata with Yellow Lentils (recipes are also in my Yogini Foodie blog).

Guests at the event got to try these goodies as well.

For more delish recipes from San Miguel Great Food Club, register FOR FREE at

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