June 1, 2007

Degustation Menu by Chefs Sunshine & Rob

Degustation or tasting menus are win-win situations: the chefs are given the opportunity to play mad scientist in the kitchen and showcase the full range of their talent and creativity, observe reactions to their experiments while diners blissfully surrender their taste buds to the melange of flavors, textures, shapes, colors, and aromas presented so artfully to them.

I've been fortunate to guest at about a couple of such types of dinners prepared by Sunshine Puey, but usually in private homes with kitchens closed off to the dining room. In Global Academy, where Sunshine Puey and Rob Pengson spend their time educating aspiring chefs and hospitality industry managers and where we had this wonderful experience, the only things that separate the kitchen from the dining area are glass windows, giving us front-row seats to a most entertaining show.

The kitchen at Global Academy

Boy, did these chefs and their sous chefs earn my utmost respect. There is no doubt in my mind that they felt an enormous amount of pressure, they had very discerning diners they needed to please after all. But they were cool as the cucumbers on their Insalata with ready smiles for anyone looking their way. They were understaffed, we found out later, but we would never have guessed it. We were too happy, savoring the lingering sensations on our palates in between courses.

To put it simply, it was superb. Using only the finest quality ingredients, they designed courses small enough to tease and tickle our taste buds but with flavors that blew our minds. And so folks, I'm gonna let the pictures do the talking. Here is Sunshine & Rob's degustation menu for the month of May:

The Amuse Bouche
Amuse Bouche:
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich
Truffle and Cream Cheese Pastry
Watermelon and Basil Napoleon
Foie Gras and Almond Praline Cone

Mushroom Veloute with Gruyere and Truffle Oil
Mushroom Veloute with Gruyere and Truffle Oil

Insalata Tricolore
Insalata Tricolore:
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette with
Whipped Ricotta and Candied Walnuts

Crisp skined salmon
Crisp Skinned Salmon,
Spinach Ravioli in Beurre Blanc,
Shaved Asparagus and Prosciutto Salad

Duo of Beef:
Braised Shank with Saffron Risotto
Braised Wagyu Shank with Saffron Risotto and

Seared Boneless Rib with Foie Gras Sauce
Seared Boneless Rib with Foie Gras Sauce, Primavera Vol-au-Vents

Fluffy dessert
Poached Pear in Grape Jelly,
Crème Patisserie and Cotton Candy

Chocolate Plate

Chocolate Plate:
White Chocolate Mille Feuile
Milk Chocolate and Praline Truffle
Dark Chocolate Soufflé

As is our custom during these dinners, we go around the table proclaiming our favorites. What were mine? The foie gras and almond praline cone hands down, the Insalata Tricolore, the Braised Wagyu Shank with Saffron Risotto and the Milk Chocolate and Praline Truffle. Oh and the Truffle and Cream Cheese Pastry! Sorry, there's no way I could have picked just one or even two. :)

~ * ~
Sunshine & Rob intend to host monthly degustations at Global Academy, with each month showcasing a different menu, to a manageable crowd. Just call or email them for more details:

Global Academy: Culinary & Hospitality
2F Amber Square, Don Escriva Drive,
Ortigas Center, Pasig City 1600 Philippines
Telephone: +632 638 5949
Telefax:+632 638 6183


Marvin said...

Wow, you are very lucky to sample so much good food. In that picture with the watermelon and basil napoleon, it looks like it is held together with a dropper of liquid. If so, what was in the dropper and how did it taste?

The Knittymommy said...

I have alway wanted to try an amuse bouche....

God it all looks heavenly.

nina said...

Oh man, that looks simply sumptuous. Was this the 15-course dinner you went to last Saturday?

ScroochChronicles said...

I could have taken a bite out of my laptop's screen when I saw your yummy pics. Lucky you!! :)

christine said...

Hi Marvin! That plastic "dropper" contains a basil napoleon dressing for the watermelon. The idea is to pop it open with your teeth as and squeeze the dressing out with your fingers as you slide the watermelon into your mouth. :) Pretty clever, no?

Hi km! It was. The company made it even more so, and all the good wines and sauternes! :)

Yes, Nina this is the one! Now you understand why I had to decline the main course during lunch? ;)

Hi Scrooch! haha I get that feeling a lot when I visit my favorite food blogs. :)

toni said...

Oh wow that looks sooooo good. Lucky you to have a taste of all those food! Heavenly!

joey said...

That cone sounds to die for! Let me know if you have extra seats next time ok? :) Love all the foie in the menu...I can never have too much :)

And I really enjoy glass kitchens...love watching the chefs...

Sidney said...

Lucky you... it is not every day that you can eat that kind of food! Looks really yummy!
I guess I saw you on Anton's blog!

christine said...

Hi Toni & Sidney! I did feel extremely lucky because those types of experiences are yet few and far between. I hope it won't be long before more Manila-based chefs offer degustation menus. It's not easy on the pocket, but I believe in treating yourself once in a while. It's good for the soul. :)

Jo, that foie gras cone was such a delight! I ate it so slowly, savoring every bite, not wanting it to end. I find myself daydreaming about that and my other favorites sometimes. :) Next time you're coming!

katrina said...

Thanks so much again for inviting us to this! It truly was a treat. Like you, I had several favorites. And that was the best mushroom soup I've ever had!

Did you get my text that when Felipe saw the pictures, he told me that he's met Rob and Sunshine? She was his patient and Rob was with her! I think she had a sore throat. He remembers them well because they had a little discussion about how both Felipe and Rob are a bit younger than Sunshine and me. :-) Too bad Felipe wasn't there that night; that would've been funny for them to bump into each other there.

christine said...

Katrina, that mushroom was really divine! And you're welcome, I was glad you were all able to make it. Funny, I didn't get that text, but what a small world! But then again, should I really be surprised in this country of ours? :)

Paz said...

Wow! These look delicious. I'm hungry now. ;-)

Christine, thanks for stopping by my blog!


Anonymous said...

thanks to you Anton got a slot =) When he heard it, he wanted me to text you na immediately. Too bad, I wasn't there, next time na lang.

nagutom ako after our meal at Le Bellevue =( babawi ako next time!


christine said...

Hi Paz, you're welcome, I enjoy your blog. And thank you too! :)

Rache, I'm so glad I mentioned it to you that morning and that someone backed-out at the last minute. Guess Anton was really meant to go! :) Next time you have to go with him, we missed you there. :)

leah said...

i'm so in love with you chef rob.. i'm hoping to meet you someday...

Veron said...

I was searching through google to learn more about this couple Sunshine and Rob. I learned about them through my brother who is shooting their wedding!

christine said...

Hi Veron! What a small world. :)