MANILA – In just six years, F1 Hotel Manila’s annual Luzviminda festival has become a delicious part of the Independence Day celebrations of local foodies.
Previous editions of the much-awaited food promotion of the Taguig hotel featured a veritable who’s who in the Philippine culinary scene from “Adobo Queen” Nancy Reyes Lumen and celebrity chefs Tatung Sarthou, Bruce Lim and Tristan Encarnacion to culinary stars Mikel Zaguirre, Pauline Banusing and Kal-el Chan.
For the sixth year of Luzviminda, F1 Hotel’s executive chef Angelo “Chubby” Timban is trying something different. Instead of flying in guest chefs from the regions, he teamed up with two Manila-based chefs to create dishes that capture the range of flavors of Filipino cuisine.
AJ Reyes is the executive chef and owner of Privatus Private Dining in Pasig, while Zhe Jacinto is the chairman of Culinary Team Pilipinas and a frequent guest chef on TV.
The three chefs have prepared their own interpretations of traditional Filipino dishes that make up the buffet of the hotel’s main restaurant F All-Day Dining for lunch and dinner at the price of P1,699 nett per person.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Timban said they researched on the previous editions of Luzviminda to check on the dishes that were served previously. The two guest chefs were asked to send their proposed menus and recipes and it was Timban who decided on the final list of dishes in keeping with this year’s theme “Timeless Flavors.”
The star of this year’s buffet spread isn't a single dish but the variety of local ingredients that the chefs used, many of them not commonly found in the metro.
Indeed, the buffet tables were dressed with raw ingredients from baskets of dried fish to garlands of fresh longganisa hanging near the carving station. There are also various raw meats on display for on-the-spot grilling.
“Ang naging challenge sa akin dito ‘yung sourcing ng ingredients. Ang imported ingredients, ang daling hanapin. But for the local ingredients, ‘pag hinanap mo, wala dito sa mga market,” Timban lamented, citing ingredients like the karamay, which had to be bought in Ilocos Norte; and katmon, which came from Quezon.
These two ingredients were used in a salad along with roasted vegetables and pear slices.
For the baboy ramo, Timban himself had to go to a farm in Antipolo. “Kami pa ang nagpa-butcher just to get the blood,” he said. He then used this to cook dinuguan.
Besides raw ingredients, Timban and the hotel’s F&B staff also bought several kinds of bagoong and vinegar sourced from around the Philippines.
As the theme suggests, this edition of Luzviminda also focuses on traditional Pinoy favorites but served with a twist. “From classic way of cooking, we do it modern,” he said, citing techniques such as sous vide.
Reyes echoed this, citing his version of the maja blanca, which he turned into a tamale. The dinuguan, meanwhile, became a cold appetizer as Reyes made it into a black pudding.
Jacinto, for her part, coated the carioca with matcha to create a modern dessert, and added truffle oil to the Pinoy party favorite chicken relleno.
Timban also combined dishes to create unique creations, like the pork belly stuffed with tinumok, a Bicolano dish of gabi leaves with ground shrimp and pork and cooked in coconut cream. Even the traditional lechon sauce was mixed with coconut cream to accompany this dish.
Here are some of the dishes that wowed us in Luzviminda 6, which runs until June 30.
Timban gave the standard ensaladang talong a more upscale presentation. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Timban goes playful in this salad which references the ditty "Bahay Kubo." This salad consists of singkamas, talong, sigarilyas at mani. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Jacinto presents a refreshing and stunning oyster ceviche topped with lato. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Jacinto's crispy bagbagis (pork intestines) would fit in any cocktail party. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Reyes made dinuguan into a modern appetizer as a pudding topped with chicharon. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Timban crossed the Pampanga fave sisig with Mindanao's pianggang to create the blackened Sisig Itum. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Reyes made the comfort food bulalo even richer with the addition of ox tail. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Reyes also made this sinful adobo that has bone marrow. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Another version of dinuguan is this one from Timban that uses baboy ramo. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Timban stuffed the popular pork belly with tinumok. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Jacinto coated the carioca with matcha for this dessert. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Reyes upgraded the taho by using white chocolate. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
For dessert, Timban created this wonderful hybrid Kutsinto. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Reyes made one of the best leche flan we ever tried. The secret? Carabao's milk. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News
Reyes also turned the maja blanca into tamales. Vladimir Bunoan, ABS-CBN News