By Primrose Madayag Knazan
Seven Filipino chefs come together at Sama Sama Night, the latest Baon Manila Nights held on Sunday, June 12, 2016. Proceeds went to support the Norwest Co-Op Community Centre which promotes healthy food for the Inkster community through programs such as skills training, lunch and breakfast programs, a community garden, and a low-cost good food market.
Baon Manila Nights is a series of monthly pop-up dinners giving Filipino chefs in who regularly work the line at other Winnipeg restaurants the opportunity to present innovative takes on Filipino cuisine.
The first course was created by Jeremy Senaris, who at the time of the dinner was announced as one of the top two finalists on MasterChef Canada. Not a chef by trade, Jeremy was excited to work with professional chefs in an industrial kitchen. Jeremy presented a deconstructed ginataan and crab cake topped with rice crisps and charred green onion. The coconut milk reduction was rich and had a pleasant spice, which he said was a new version of his mother’s recipe. After excelling on this season of MasterChef Canada, Jeremy says “I wanted to represent my culture by presenting a Filipino on every episode.”
Chef Allan Pineda, the founder of Baon Manila Nights, served the second course, a spicy sinigang ramen with kimchi, roast pork and a sous vide egg. “This night was special for me.” said Allan. “I lived in this area for 22 years. It hits close to home.” He hopes to do more pop up dinners for charity in the future.
The third course, an curry coconut arancini, or fried rice ball, topped with a breaded chicken oyster with pickled chillies and garlic crumble, was made by Chef RJ Urbano from Creme De l’Essence. RJ enjoys presenting unique takes on Filipino food because “People come to restaurants for a different experience. Why order something that you can make at home?”
Two-time Iron Chef Winnipeg Chef Claire Snowball from Red River College made the palate cleanser, a papaya granite slush with sparkling wine and mint, refreshing after the spice of the previous dishes. Claire was happy to be part of Manila Nights for the second month in a row to support such a great cause.
The main course was presented by Chef Rob Austria and Chef Kevin Castro from Stella’s, with a tender six-hour braised shortrib, chilli garlic kare kare peanut sauce, squash puree, crispy tripe, green beans, bagoong, and rice cake. Trained with French techniques, Chef Rob was happy to use his skills to cook upscale Filipino Food, “I like experimenting with different cultures.” Referring to Manila Nights, Chef Kevin says “Here we get to express ourselves, doing our own food. This is our way to upgrade and be creative.”
Dessert was made with love by Nikki Melegrito from Sugar Blooms and Cakes. She presented two desserts: naked ombre macapuno ube cake and almond cashew sans rival. Having never been professionally trained, Nikki learned her recipes from her mom. She says she was initially intimidated but excited about her first appearance at Manila Nights.
Baon Manila Nights has announced the Jeremy Senaris will be the next guest chef, date to be announced. For more information, follow @ManilaNights on Instagram and Twitter and on Facebook.
Photos by Bryan Mesias | Filipino Journal