Friday, July 25, 2014

I attended Kulinarya at Gallery VASK

A few weeks ago, Chefs Chele, Julieta, and Gaita made me starstruck on a Friday because the three culinary greats were at the International Rice Research Institute. Talking animatedly about locally grown rice with members of the Heirloom Rice Project. Including me in the discussion!

I still continue to tell of my experience with touring them and letting famous chefs eat rice in the Grain Quality and Nutrition Center meeting room when I received a personal invitation from Chele to drop by Gallery VASK to listen in on a lecture called Kulinarya that he and Julieta were conducting. One time only. July 25th. It promised to be an experience for the palate... food sensory overload in its gastronomic glory. Of course, I was in! 

I was so happy that I didn't have to troop to Bonifacio Global City alone. Nollie (the leader in the Heirloom Rice Project) and Seher, Matty's graduate student, went too. Incubus' lyrics were playing in my head as I wish the others were here with us.

One thing that caught me by surprise was the handout that the chefs were distributing to the audience. Nollie's name and mine were on a map of the Philippines... the chefs' visit to IRRI appeared to really have made a mark on the way they view rice. Literally, our names were on a map. But more importantly, IRRI is now beginning to be within the sights of chefs! One of my wishes is becoming true. :)

During the lecture, I saw that Julieta and Chele are passionate about maintaining sustainability of food. They were eager to learn and to share the stories behind locally available ingredients that they are featuring collaboratively in a VASK limited edition menu. I was just blown away by how ingeniously they mixed coffee, coconut milk, and chocolate to make their interpretation of cappuccino. Or how they've used leaves of a plant found in Central Luzon as a souring agent that gives a full body of flavor for their interpretation of conchinillo sinigang, stripped down to the basics. And how about that sea urchin meat, sourced from Bicol, wrapped in melted pork lard and marinated in kinilaw sauce? 

I just had to eat there. Someday.