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Brigada: Adventures in Marogondon, Cavite

I was a guest and co-host for this segment of Brigada to feature Maragondon as the next travel and adventure destination near Manila. Go watch and discover what the town can offer for tourism.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Next Iron Chef Season 4 winner Chef Geoffrey Zakarian in Manila for Cignal’s Feast of Colours gala dinner for charity

Yesterday was the 2nd biggest and high end lifestyle event for Colours and Cignal Digital TV, last year was about a fashion show, but for 2014 its about food and a way to help the people who are affected by Typhoon Yolanda. Cignal Digital TV and Colours invited The Next Iron Chef Season 4 winner - Chef Geoffrey Zakarian to come and cook 5 course meal for a one night of gala dinner in Sofitel Manila. He flew here directly from New York City and a bit jet lag during the event with the media yesterday morning. He threw in some jokes to keep everyone comfy and mentioned that most of his crew in his 5 restaurants are Filipinos, when he saw us, he said that he felt at home and feels like his talking and working with his resto employees, everyone laughed because we know he’s trying to make the atmosphere more lively.

He’s comfortable with pinoys because he works with them in the US and also he’s familiar with the pinoy cuisine because he already tried adobo food many times in the US and thanks to some pinoys who worked with him and experienced a slice of pinoy life. He tried our pinoy food during his stay here in Manila, he loves the "sigarilyas" or winged bean, mangoes -which he will get more and bring it home, for breakfast he loves the bangus, tapa, tocino and he tried also the lechon, and then his fave are the fried prawn, winged bean and the star apple (caimito fruit).

He’s not only a chef and restaurateur, but also an author of his published book “Geoffrey Zakarian's Town / Country” , a cookbook earned Editor's Choice by The New York Times Book Review and was noted as “...one of the best cookbooks of 2006.” His second cookbook will be published by Clarkson Potter in Fall 2014.

He also appeared in various food shows and competition. At first, I didn’t know Chef Zakarian, but his face is very recognizable because of his eye glasses, I’m very sorry that I didn’t know him because my only focus on food tv shows are only food. And I’m not a big follower of the Iron Chef competition because I can only watch what’s on TV whenever I turn it on at home.

About the Feast of Colours organized by Colours channel and Cignal Digital TV, the idea was supposed to be last 2013, but when the Typhoon Yolanda devastated a part of our country, the organizers decided to postpone the event, but they pushed it through this month during the recovery status of the affected provinces and then they proceed on the plan to host it as a charity event with the PDRF – Philippine Disaster Relief Foundation.

The gala dinner with Chef Zakarian in Sofitel Manila is priced at PHP 9,500 and it includes a 5 course meal personally prepared by Chef Zakarian, participation to some live auction and to watch a live entertainment during the gala dinner. According the Chef, the gala dinner for charity raised up to closely a million pesos already, and all of the proceeds will be donated through PDRF.

The press con with the chef is fun and informative, we saw him how he prepared Adobo spiced pork belly, one of the meals that will be served to the gala dinner and a sample lunch for us media. For other info that I heard, he brought in his entire kitchen and ingredients just for this event.

PDRF is a the first year round private sector disaster response organization, the UN said that this will be a good example on how private sector can help not only here but for all over the world. They have 5 clusters- environment, education, shelter, WISH (water, infrastructure, sanitation and health), disaster training. In preparation for any earthquake devastation in Metro Manila, they partnered with a Canadian rescue and emergency firm to offer packages to companies, barangays, cities so that they can fund a proper training and be ready once disaster strikes like earthquake or high rise fire.


After the press con, I was standing already with Chef Zakarian at the stage area, so when he went down to exit the event, I asked him for a photo op, he said – “ohh selfie!, you know that selfie is my middle name” hahahaha.. both of us laugh….and that’s me with a funny smile during the selfie photo op. Thanks Chef Zakarian..it’s a pleasure to meet a foodie elite.

It’s a double kilig yesterday, because I’m surprised to see Xandra Rocha in person. I’m so shy to approach her but I just sat there and watch her host the event. I posted an Instagram photo of her and then someone from my network tagged her, she found my photo and she said that I should say “Hi”, I told her that the kilig moments makes me chicken out to meet her in person, but I told her that I’ll say “Hi” next time hahaha. Me and my wife are a fan of her food and travel show “Something to Chew On”

At the questions and answer portion with the Chef. He shared his thought about bringing his owned restaurant here in the Philippines, taking some pinoy food recipe as part of his menu (no plans yet according to chef) and he said that its okay for a foodie to take photos of their food while in the resto, just make sure that there’s no flash and it won’t disturb any customers in the resto, he said that he carries his iPhone and he got around 35,000 photos of pure food photos taken during his food career.

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Congratulations to Cignal, Colours, PDRF and Chef Zakaria for the success of their event

and here are some photos of our brunch yesterday

Seared scallop with Mexican Salsa and Tortilla Dressing

Cream of Forest Mushroom Soup with Blue Cheese Crostini

Adobo Spiced Pork Belly prepared by Chef Geoffrey Zakarian
- my review… I love pork belly, I know its fatty but this is the best part of a pig. Frying it or cooking it makes the entire meat so tasty. I was expecting not so pinoy food, but when I read the word “adobo”, I expected a soury and salty flavor, but Chef Zakarian’s version is close to sweet and soft porky meat. I think its up to me if ever I want to adjust the taste of this adobo. I like his version..but it will be the best if ever there’s white rice in my plate hahaha. Thanks Chef!

Baked Mango Cheese Cake with chocolate stick

www.mommyLace.com approves the food prepared by the Iron Chef

The blogger

Azrael Coladilla is the blogger and founder of Azrael's Merryland Blog. This blog started as a personal blog in 2003, and then converted the blog into a lifeblog about his interest and reporting about pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, food, travel, toys, outdoor adventure, internet and social media. Awarded as the 2009 Most Influential Blogger for Luzon, Philippines, awarded by the Philippine Blog Awards. He is the founder of several online communities - Manila Bloggers Network, PBNetwork PH, Oh My Food! community, Cavite Bloggers, Travel and Blog Community, and Philippine ToyCon. He loves to travel, explore, discover, eat new food, document and record his life, meet new people, do photography and collects Transformers toys.

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