Filipinos love food and sharing food is one way they show their love and concern for others.
Resorts World Manila (RWM), the Philippines’ premier integrated entertainment and tourism destination, has cooked up a creative way to show compassionate care for the Filipino people.
With the help of acclaimed celebrity chefs and home cooks, RWM presents Love Dish 2017: a menu by celebrities for a cause. Proceeds from sales will go to RWM’s three partner charities: COR Foundation, Pasay City Social and Welfare Development, and the Right Start Foundation.
Former MTV Asia VJ Donita Rose, who took a hiatus from the Philippine entertainment scene to study culinary arts and work as a professional chef in various restaurants in the United States, leads the lineup of celebrity culinary artists which includes writer, TV host, and blogger Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi; character actor Dimples Romana; showbiz scion Luigi Muhlach; TV and movie actor Meg Imperial; TV and radio host Sam Oh; and singer and theater actor Mark Bautista.
“I’m a great believer in doing what you can to help others,” Donita says. “I had recently gotten involved with Right Start Foundation, which is all about giving new beginnings for the poorest of the poor. When I was invited to participate in Love Dishes, I saw the perfect opportunity to bring the two projects together to make a bigger impact.”
Donita, Dimples, Mark, Meg, and Luigi have each prepared dishes which were further refined with the help of Chef Cyrille Soenen, RWM’s director for culinary arts and the first and only Maitres Cuisiniers de France (Master Chef of France) in the Philippines.
Considering her early dislike for Filipino food, Donita has more than come around to the cuisine. She now takes pleasure in adding gourmet flourishes to local specialties, as exemplified by her Love Dishes recipes. The ginataang chicken adobo, available at RWM’s Café Maxims, is a richer and more succulent take on what may just be the quintessential Filipino dish.
Her creamy mango strawberry jelly sounds deceptively simple, but is an absolutely heavenly confection fit for Impressions, RWM’s signature French fine dining restaurant. The local fruits are flambéed and suspended in cream cheese with condensed milk and a heavy cream base, all topped with a strawberry and mango coulis.
Joining Donita’s dessert at Impressions is Stephanie’s sambal-spiced mixed mushroom farfalle. The dish fits in seamlessly with the restaurant’s continental menu, and is a testament to her vast experience as a chef and restaurateur, her exposure to global cuisines, and her affinity for Europe. It is creamy, velvety, and aromatic, with the deep spiciness of sambal kicking in just in time to keep the savory richness from being cloying.
Dimples’ salted egg prawns recipe, which has received Chef Cyrille’s haute cuisine treatment, is featured in Passion, RWM’s signature Cantonese fine dining restaurant.
“It’s a very timely and trendy dish, and I’ve put a very Filipino spin on it,” Dimples says of her recipe. “My dish is slightly sweet, very saucy, and goes very well with rice. Chef Cyrille has also added extra touches that gave it an extra depth of texture and flavor.”
The son of two of the most famous names in Philippine show business, Luigi found his niche and made his name as a professional chef. He has served in a consultant capacity in restaurants of major hotels, including Cru Steakhouse at Marriott Hotel Manila. He is also the Corporate Chef for the Red Crab Group and the Excello Group of Restaurants
“Love Dishes is a great way to help others through food,” Luigi says. “Of course, as a chef, you look for ways to share your talent with as many people as possible, and if by doing that you are also able to do a good thing, then everybody wins.”
Luigi’s sinuglaw sa aligue is a masterful take on a classic Filipino pulutan. Fresh tanigue cubes are drenched in vinegar, coconut milk, and crab fat concoction, and given a full flavorful kick with siling labuyo and other spices. Served with crisp, paper-thin, golden slivers of chicken skin, it is pure, delicious indulgence and available in The Terrace at Maxims Hotel and in Bar 360 at RWM’s Gaming Area.
In addition to lighting up TV and movie screens around the Philippines, the winsomely pretty Meg is currently taking up culinary arts at the SKD Academy where she has proven to be a natural.
The very first dish that she experimented with was a baked parmesan-crusted chicken, which she has tweaked and refined to its current recipe. This is also the recipe that she shared with RWM for Love Dish.
Meg’s parmesan-crusted chicken breast at Café Maxims is worlds apart from the typical fried chicken fingers that one may find in children’s menus. The sharpness and crisp texture of the parmesan breading are balanced by the light and juicy tenderness of the chicken breast, each element drawing out the best flavors as the tastes and textures dance around your mouth.
When it comes to Korean desserts, most Filipinos would be familiar with bingsu, the popular shaved ice treat. Taking the opportunity to introduce a lesser-known recipe from her native country, Sam chose ho tteok, a Korean pancake with a sweet nutty filling, as her Love Dish. Diners can find Sam’s ho tteok, served with house-made black sesame seed and salted caramel ice cream, and drizzled with matcha glaze, at Ginzadon, RWM’s signature Japanese and Korean restaurant.
“It’s a very accessible street food that’s especially popular in the winter because they’re served warm with the syrup oozing out when you bite into it,” Sam says. “There’s a crunchier kind but I prefer this soft and chewy version which is the kind my mom and I make at home as a snack.”
Mark’s perfectly baked peanut butter cupcake recipe is sweet, simple, and satisfying. His cupcakes, which can be bought at Café Maxims and RBar, are generously made with premium peanut butter, with its rich sweetness punctuated by chunks of dark chocolate. There is a slight crunch at first bite, which gives way to a melt-in your mouth softness that transports you to a childhood of peanut butter cups and warm hugs.
“Every year, for the last 15 years, I would spend my birthday at an orphanage or other institution to share my blessings with others. Because I had to do shows abroad, I wasn’t able to do it this year,” he said. “RWM’s Love Dish Project came at the perfect time and gives me a chance to not only showcase my baking skills, but also to help a lot of people.”
RWM’s Love Dishes are available at select signature restaurants until Dec. 31. Download the RWM Mobile App for free on the AppStore and GooglePlay for complete information on Love Dish and RWM’s CSR initiatives.
For bookings and inquiries, visit rwmanila.com or call the tourist/visitor hotline at (02) 908-8833.
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