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20 February 2017

Starbucks holds its 1st Philippine Barista Championship

Rafael Miguel Bautista from Starbucks Venice Grand Canal won the grand prize and the bragging rights of being the 2017 Starbucks Coffee Ambassador in the 1st Philippine Barista Championship. Miguel, together with 1st runner-up Ces Martin Ranillo from Starbucks Philcom as his assistant, will represent the Philippines in the Starbucks Regional Barista Championship to be held in Taiwan on March 27, 2017.

To celebrate and recognise the artistry and craftsmanship of its baristas, Starbucks Philippines recently help its first ever Philippine Barista Championship at the Colegio de San Agustin Auditorium in Makati.

Six Starbucks Global Coffee Masters showcased their passion for coffee while engaging the audience in an approachable and inspiring way during the championship round. Emanuel Bagan, Rafael Bautista, Camille Cuyugan, Carmina Fernandez, Ana Mendoza and cues Ranillo celebrated coffee artistry and stood out among 300 Global Coffee Masters after a series of elimination rounds.

During the competition, each of them were given 20 minutes to present their knowledge on coffee through 3 tasks: Pour Over Cone coffee tasting; demonstrating Rosetta and freestyle latte art; and a chance to showcase their creativity as they prepare their signature beverage.

"Our partners understand that brewing coffee is both an art and a science which involves hard work and dedication. We are proud that they are doing their best not only to perfectly handcraft beverages but also to consistently deliver the Starbucks Experience to each and every customer in our stores," said Angela Cole, operations director for Starbucks Philippines.


All photos taken with a Smart iPhone 7 Plus. :)

30 January 2015

Filipino culinary talent takes center stage at Madrid Fusión Manila

Ten Filipino chefs are set to display their cooking prowess in this year’s most anticipated gastronomic event -- Madrid Fusión Manila. Organized annually in Madrid, Spain since 2003, the locally dubbed Madrid Fusión Manila is the first in Asia and the biggest culinary gathering yet in the Philippines. It will be held on April 24 to 26 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

Modern cuisine will be on center stage as a formidable lineup of the country’s most respected and established chefs present the best the Philippines has to contribute to modern-day gastronomy. These culinary giants are: Fernando Aracama of Aracama; Margarita Forés of Grace Park; J Gamboa of Cirkulo; José Luis Gonzalez of Gallery Vask; Pepe Lopez of Rambla; Rob Pengson of The Goose Station; Bruce Ricketts of Mecha Uma; Myrna Segismundo of Restaurant 9501; Claude Tayag of Bale Dutung; and Juan Carlos de Terry of Terry’s.

Known for their unprecedented culinary experience from different parts of the world, these chefs will fuse with the culinary talents of Michelin-starred Spanish chefs Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz; Elena Arzak of Arzak; Quique Dacosta of Quique Dacosta Restaurante; Ramón Freixa of Ramón Freixa Madrid; Francis Paniego of Echaurren; Paco Roncero of La Terraza del Casino; Mario Sandoval of Coque; and Paco Torreblanca of Torreblanca Bombonerías and Asian culinary giants, chefs André Chiang and Alvin Leung.

"Madrid Fusión Manila will feature on-the-ground conferences, meetings, and exchanges on very specific culinary issues and opportunities -- new inventions, new approaches -- these will in fact revolutionize people’s outlook on culinary arts in the Philippines," Department ofTourism (DOT) Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.

Congress delegates will also experience the best culinary offerings of the Philippines through regional lunches that will feature the varied and exciting flavors of the country’s three main islands--Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Tracing back over 300 years of cultural ties, gourmands and gastronomes from all around the world will witness a convergence of Spanish and Filipino gastronomic contributions through three exciting events: the International Gastronomy Congress where featured Spanish and Filipino chefs will discuss and demonstrate the latest trends and techniques that will transform the future of food;  Trade Exhibition showcasing Spanish and Filipino premium products such as Spanish wines, cheeses, sausages, hams, beers, and sweets, as well as Philippine rice, cacao, coffee, mango, coconut, liqueurs, chocolates, cheeses, nuts and artisanal salts, and various world-class kitchen equipment; and a Flavors of the Philippines Festival, that will run the entire month of April, bringing together different malls, restaurants, bars, hotels, food trucks, exhibition halls to celebrate Philippine gastronomy through simultaneous food-related events in Manila and other parts of the country.

For information on the chefs, the activities and registration, please visit

About Madrid Fusión Manila:

In April 2015, as part of the “Visit the Philippines Year 2015” festivities, the eyes of the entire world will focus on Manila with the staging of Madrid Fusión Manila. This global event is envisioned to showcase an encounter between Spanish and Filipino chefs to celebrate over 300 years of shared history.
Highlighting the Philippines as a culinary center of excellence in Asia, Madrid Fusión Manila presents a unique opportunity for chefs, food aficionados, and food-and beverage company professionals to come together, learn new things and share their talent, expertise, as well as products to the market.

11 September 2014

Starbucks Philippines Offers New Breakfast Sandwiches this September 16

Starting this September 16, new food items will be available at all Starbucks Philippines stores nationwide, including 4 new scrumptious Breakfast Sandwiches which everyone will surely like and crave for, namely: 1. SPAM® Black Pepper, Egg and Cheddar on New York Bagel; 2. Bacon, Egg and Cheddar on English Muffin; 3. Slow Roasted Ham, Egg White and Emmenthal Cheese on Italian Roll; 4. Vegetable Fritata on Dark Ciabatta Bread.

BACON, EGG AND CHEDDAR ON ENGLISH MUFFIN. It’s back and it’s better! This mouthwatering breakfast sandwich is packed with flavorful slices of smoked and honey cured bacon, creamed egg and cheddar cheese on a soft English muffin. Take a pause in your morning hustle to savor this classic comfort food. Retail Price (₱115)
SPAM® BLACK PEPPER, EGG AND CHEDDAR ON NEW YORK BAGEL. This sandwich is so hard to resist. When you combine a slice of SPAM® Black Pepper, creamy scrambled egg with tomatoes and layer it with melted American Cheddar cheese on New York bagel, you have a sandwich that is so simple yet so mouthwatering. Delicious! Retail Price (₱115)
SLOW ROASTED HAM, EGG WHITE AND EMMENTHAL CHEESE ON ITALIAN ROLL. If you want a flavorful sandwich but with less fat, this savory breakfast sandwich is for you. It is made with slices of slow roasted ham, Emmenthal cheese and scrambled egg white on a toasty warmed Italian Roll. Retail Price (₱115)
VEGETABLE FRITTATA ON DARK CIABATTA BREAD. This warm and toasty dark ciabatta bread is filled with an egg white frittata stuffed with fresh mushrooms, and spinach. A vegetarian delight! Retail Price (₱115)
Personally excited to try out the Bacon, Egg and Cheddar, but also thrilled to try everything! :)

25 June 2014

Niner Ichi Nana and The Hungry Hound present The City Series

The tandem of Chef Mikko Reyes and Erwan Heussaff of The Hungry Hound and Niner Ichi Nana (conveniently located at The Globe Tower, The Fort) works to their advantage as great dishes are partnered with great cocktails, which will surely captivate and pique your curiosity.

Last May, they launched "THE CITY SERIES," featuring food and cocktails from different cities around the world. Kicking off the series with SEOUL, Mikko and Erwan prepared Korean influenced food and cocktails. Last June 19, I was invited at Niner Ichi Nana to sample yet another great concoction of the duo, with Peru as a sequel to famed The City Series.

Admittedly, I do not know what the food in Peru tastes like. Heck, what only came to my mind when I heard I was tasting Peruvian food was only my dream of visiting the World Heritage Site that is Machu Picchu, located in Peru. It was my first time to try out Peruvian food, which came across to me as a mix of European, Middle-eastern and Asian influences. 

So as my taste buds was as good as tabula rasa, I let the food and my mouth do the whole soiree. I ordered the Papas Rellenas Sorpresa, which is stuffed potato croqueta + foie gras mayonesa de aji + dry aged steak bits. I love how the dish came together, with ingredients I love (foie gras, steak and potatoes). This is something I would crave for, once in a while.


Together with the Papas, I tried the Piura for my cocktail. It's made of Rum, Blended Whiskey, House Aji Honey, Lime Juice, Grape Puree and Vanilla Syrup. The drink was perfect. It's not too strong, but you can still taste the distinct tastes in the blend which balances the liquors.


The Anticuchos is the dish I was debating to get instead of the Papas Sorpresa, unfortunately the latter won. After seeing that it is with "beef heart" made me think twice. Contrary to my original hesitation, I realized that I should always follow my gut instinct. It turned out to be something I liked. The sous vide shortrib and the beef heart were tasty, you could not tell the difference between the meat and the heart. It was served with white corn salsa and parsley lime emulsion.


Another famous must try drink is the Pisco Sour which is made of pisco, lime, agave syrup, chili bitters, angostura bitters, and ginger perfumed egg white. It may sound complicated, but once you taste it, you would not mind what is in it, or you would like to know how to make it on your own. It is something both aesthetically appealing and tastes really well.


The Hungry Hound is a stylish place for old-fashioned cooking, featuring English classics done differently. The place maintains a casual vibe with the new "freestyle" gastro pub menu, featuring traditional dishes with a modern edge. "I am always excited to try new things. But we are not trying to reinvent food here Chef Mikko says. "It is really up to each chef to see how to create a special dish with its own identity," he adds.

Meanwhile, Erwan explains that the concept behind Niner is inspired by cocktail bars from eras past, the concept of artisanal cocktails that are well prepared and properly portioned. "We also make quote a bit of Bespoke cocktails depending on the whims of our customers, based on our daily infusions and our market fresh produce. Just sit by the bar and have the bartenders make something for you," says Heussaff.


The Hungry Hound and Niner Ichi Nana are located at the ground floor of The Globe Tower, 32nd Street corner 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For Reservations, call +63917 876 9999.

P.S. Thanks to Flo and Erwan for the warm hospitality and invite.
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