Disciples D’Escoffier
Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - May 18, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines - Disciples D’Escoffier is an organization that pays homage to Auguste Escoffier who is known as “the king of chefs and the chef of kings.” 

Escoffer began working at 12 years old as an apprentice and was involved in several restaurants around Paris and the French Riviera. In 1883, he was appointed as Head Chef by Swiss hotelier César Ritz of the Grand Hôtel of Monte Carlo.

The partnership between these two men has launched modern luxury hotels – like the Savoy, Carlton and Ritz – offering excellence in the hospitality industry and fine dining. Escoffier

is also credited for making “a la carte” food service as the industry standard and introduced the brigade system in the kitchen by dividing it into work groups specializing in cooking for meats, fish or desserts. He’s also been the one who institutionalized the uniform and hat (toque) for chefs and wrote the Le Guide Culinaire which has codified and streamlined classic French Cuisine.

The followers of Auguste Escoffier have formed a group called the Disciples D’Escoffier which aims to emulate the French culinary genius. Last month, the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel hosted the first Disciples D'Escoffier Dinner in Cebu with Chef Philip Golding, founding president of Disciples Escoffier International Asia, who inducted Waterfront GM Anders Hallden as the group’s first member in Cebu. I admire the passion of Chef Golding, who’s Chief Operating Officer of S & L Fine Foods, in forming this society often using personal funds to sustain it.

Dinner starter was the Gensan Tuna in three ways: Mousse, Seared and Chips. It was a unique way of fish preparation and cooking and the wrap was made of rice paper, common in Vietnamese cuisine. Bohol Prawn Bouillabaisse with Shrimp Jelly Soup was served next, with the solid components laid on the bowl before the delicious hot broth was poured – which is now the standard of soup service to make sure that the soup is really served hot.

The third dish was the Bulalo Risotto with Bone Marrow, and my dinner mates started computing total calorie intake since marrow contents are quite high in both calories and cholesterol. Fellow food writers prayed and hoped that collateral damage to health, excuse me, would be minimal as we performed of our sacred duties.

The main event was the Premium Australian Lamb Rack, Mint Butter, Bell Pepper & Zucchini Shavings Layered Polenta and Red Wine Jus. The portions were generous. I had been looking forward to eat lamb that week and here I was, slicing and chewing the delicious meat in, like, very slow motion. There were four Morande Wines served that night – Pionero Chardonnay & Merlot, Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon & Sauvignon Blanc – and the lamb went well with the Merlot and the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dessert was Cebu Mango and Chocolate Sphere with Hot Caramel, Calamansi Rum Sauce and the dinner ended with the recognition of the 20 apprentice chefs from the International School of Culinary Arts and the Magsaysay Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts who worked with Corporate Chef Giovanni Sias and Executive Chef Linda Hou. (FREEMAN)

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