In Photo: Charcoal coconut ice cream, crispy cheese cracker, toasted bread crispy milk custard fritters, vanilla and strawberry sauce. Sweet vinaigrette king prawn with egg white pearls in pumpkin sauce.
Cesar Cruz Jr.
Business Mirror | April 18, 2019
Fine Chinese Cuisine
Whenever celebrity chef Jereme Leung is in Manila, those who clamor for fine Chinese cuisine are always in for a special treat.
The Hong Kong born culinary artist brings with him an assortment of ingredients rarely found on our shore. Needless to say, he creates a big impression in the dining scene of the Metro by way of his ingredients coupled with his unique cooking method and creative presentation.
Master Chef Jereme Leung
His award-winning restaurant at the Conrad Manila, China Blue, known for its modern take of traditional provincial Chinese dishes is offering for the whole month of April a collection of wonderful culinary delights made from fresh seasonal ingredients—the Summer Harvest. The refreshing and invigorating collection is available in á la carte and set menu for both lunch and dinner.
In order to come up with inspired dishes that could be adopted in the Philippine dining environment, Master Chef Leung and his kitchen team immersed themselves in the culinary scene of Guangzhou. The food experience they had gave birth to the Summer Harvest collection.
In a recent intimate lunch event with media practitioners; the culinary wizard, together with the hotel’s resident executive Chinese chef Eng Yew Khor introduced our excited tastebuds to his culinary masterpieces. But before this writer and his colleagues partook of the feast, we were led to the immaculate kitchen of China Blue to have a master class with the highly regarded chef.
We got to try our hands in replicating a dish, which he demonstrated step by step. The dish, which is crispy milk custard fritters is derived from the city of “Da Lang” in Guangdong province, China. We excitedly wore our apron and got busy in a friendly competition to make the best looking dish worthy of a master chef’s approval. The fun cooking experience provided us an understanding of the hard work and attention to details Chef Jereme puts in his craft.
Chilled octopus salad
Afterwards we headed to the dining area. To our delight, our finished products were pigeonholed to several categories, such as- best in culinary skill, best in wow factor, best in taste. Everyone had a blast applauding each other as those in attendance received their respective award.
At this point, Leung provided us a glimpse of someone at the top of his game. In a focused and relaxed state, he churned out his culinary masterpieces with painstaking precision as every dish is an edible proof of his skill and creativity. To whet our appetite, he made a plate of three kinds of appetizers, which are light and easy on the palate- first-soy caramel glazed eggplant, second-chilled octopus salad with plum cherry tomato drizzled with sweet sesame dressing, third-braised US beef, in ginger and garlic crisp. The appetizer sampler showcased the versatility of the summer vegetables as they transform into flavor bombs with a slight tweaking of ingredients here and there.
The next course was double-boiled moon fish clam, healthy Dendrobium Herb, Black Chicken Consomme. These rare ingredients were served a bamboo cup, which paid tribute to life-giving and nurturing aspect of nature. The hot soup was pure liquid meditation as it soothed one’s sense with every sip.
Double-boiled moon fish clam, healthy dendrobium herb, black chicken consommé, soy caramel glazed eggplant and braised US beef.
The main course, on the other hand, showcased the delicate flavors of the sea with the serving of plump and juicy King Prawn in sweet vinaigrette on a bed of egg white pearls and pumpkin sauce; Baked Live Black Garoupa Claypot with shallot, garlic and coriander spices; Braised Abalone, Salted Chicken Guangdong Style, Fragrant Onion Rice.
Before serving the claypot dish, Master Chef Leung poured a Chinese liquor on top of the claypot cover and then proceeded to set it on fire. According to him, the dish will be infused with the essence and fragrance of the liquid. He placed emphasis on eating the dish while it is hot as all the flavors of the dish are pronounced. As for the Braised Abalone dish, the diner himself/ herself will be the one to pour its special sauce on to the food. It was evident that supporting ingredients of the three main courses exhibited restraint as not to outshine the subtle flavors of the seafood dishes.
As for dessert, a plate of coconut charcoal ice cream, crispy cheese cracker, and toasted bread crispy milk custard fritters in vanilla ice-cream sauce was served. It was the elegant and more artistic version of the dessert we cooked before we partook of the gustatory pleasures.
Master Chef Leung convincingly demonstrated the many factors that turn a meal into an awesome dining experience.
The Summer Harvest is, without doubt, a taste of the extraordinary.
Cesar Cruz Jr.
Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.