Istituto Culinario, a cutting-edge culinary institution

Istituto Culinario, a cutting-edge culinary institution

Instituto Culinario, a cutting-edge culinary institution

Last week was the formal launching of Istituto Culinario, the Philippines’ newest, most innovative culinary institution. It is an offshoot of the country’s first specialized school for culinary arts, the O.B. Montessori College Culinary Institute which was established back in 1995. I got to tour Istituto Culinario that day and I am impressed with the facilities and their roster of Chef-instructors. They are:

  • Program Head Chef Chris Bautista – a former Chairperson of Culinary Arts of Lyceum of the Philippines. He is a graduate of the Center for Culinary Arts, Manila and his career took him to the Mexican Embassy in Seoul, Korea where he became the personal chef to the ambassador. He is the managing partner of Jalapeno Cantina Mexicana in Ortigas.
  • Chef Jerome Valencia – he trained under three British chefs in Australia and eventually became the Sous Chef of Uva restaurant in Greenbelt. He was part of the team that created the menu for Republiq and currently, he is a partner at Canteen which he co-owns with Chef Fern Aracama.
  • Chef JA Ventura – he worked as an Executive Chef for the Red Crab Group of Restaurants and was the former Culinary Programs Director of Academy for International Culinary Arts. He currently works as an advisory chef consultant for San Miguel-Purefoods Corporation.
  • Chef Ching Yoingco – is one of the most highly regarded Culinary Team coaches in the country, bringing home medals from international competitions in Hong Kong and Singapore.
  • Chef JP Anglo – he studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney and is the Chef Patron of Bacolod’s famous Asian-Chinese restaurant Mushu. He was one of the chef judges at the recently concluded ABS-CBN reality cooking show Junior Master Chef.
  • International Consultant Chef James Antolin – he began his career in the US where he gained experience at Patina on Melrose and the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, California. He is the former Academic Program Manager of the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) Manila and Institute of Culinary Arts and Food Service. He is currently the vice president of the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines and the competition director of major culinary competitions in the country such as the Philippines Culinary Cup.
  • Primary Industry Partner Chef Cyrille Soenen – he began his career as an apprentice chef for Hotel Ritz, Paris. Locally, he gained popularity during his tenure at Hotel Intercontinental’s Prince Albert and his own Restaurant Cicou. He is the Chef Owner of Brasserie Cicou.


Maya Kitchen Journal for Cooks and Foodies Giveaway

Maya Kitchen Journal for Cooks and Foodies Giveaway


Serious cooks and foodies should the Maya Kitchen Journal. It’s packed with 180 tried and tested recipes, information on Filipino festivals, and enough space for your own recipes and foodie notes. The Maya Kitchen Journal for Cooks and Foodies is published by Anvil Publishing and is available nationwide in National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Bestsellers branches. For more information, log on to or e-mail You may also visit The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center every Tuesday to Saturday at 8F  Liberty Building, 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City or call 8921185 / 892-5011 local 108.

I’m giving away a copy of this nice journal. Just wait for Rafflecopter to load and do the tasks listed. The giveaway ends on February 29, 2012 at midnight. I’ll ship the prize to anywhere in the Philippines.


Chocolate Rush aka Dementia’s day at The Maya Kitchen

Chocolate Rush aka Dementia’s day at The Maya Kitchen

I don’t know how to cook nor bake besides the very basic like eggs, rice, hotdogs, and occasionally cookies. I usually leave the cooking and baking to those who have time, patience, and the passion for it. When Ryan invited me to join him at The Maya Kitchen last weekend, I figured that it’s about time that I learn something new and actually become a more active participant in gastronomy. The workshop for that day was all about Chocolate which is timely because of the approaching Valentine’s Day.


I chopped the white chocolate block in preparation for melting them


fresh chocolate is easier to chop

We learned how to melt chocolates and the “what not to-dos”. Water should not come in contact with the chocolate you are trying to melt. You also can’t allow the chocolate to become too hot because it will cause the chocolate to separate and become unusable.


melting colored chocolates are separated from the water

We also learned how to mold chocolates. After the chocolate has melted, pour it in molds but try to be as neat and clean as possible. After pouring, put the mold in the freezer for a couple of minutes. The chocolate is done if you can remove it easily from the mold. If it isn’t, just throw it back in the freezer for a minute or two then try to remove the molded chocolates again. Just keep on repeating this process until all the chocolate has been removed from the mold.


pouring the chocolate to the molds

We got to try coating fruits and corn flakes with chocolate.


frozen strawberry dipped in milk chocolate


chilled apple

choco flakes

choco flakes exactly like the ones sold in Baguio

Choco flakes is very easy to do. You can also use leftover chocolate from your other projects.

We can sell our chocolate products thrice the cost of our expenses. It’s a good side business if you have the time and equipment.


I made the white bear


you can jack up the price by packaging it nicely

By the time ganache was being taught, I already crashed from the sugar high.


chocolate with ganache

My favorite among those we made is the rocky road. It didn’t taste too sweet. We combined white and dark chocolates then added the mallows.

rocky road

Rocky Road

Rocky Road Recipe

  • 250 grams dark/bittersweet chocolate
  • 250 grams white chocolate
  • 100 grams chopped nuts
  • 100 grams mini marshmallows

Melt chocolate then pour in a pan. Sprinkle nuts and marshmallows. Let it set then cut into squares.

We used local chocolate but I find it too rich in sugar. I guess local manufacturers make up for lack of cocoa by adding tons of sugar. Blech. If I’m going to bake, I’m going to use imported.

I took home most of the chocolate I made since I crashed really hard. I made the sister and her boyfriend eat them.

apple coated in chocoalte

I guess it was good because he ate 2 squares

The Maya Kitchen already uploaded the schedule of their cooking and baking classes for the months of February up to May. You can check them out at

Review: Cha Dao Tea Place

Review: Cha Dao Tea Place

There’s another milk tea place in Kapitolyo, Pasig and I decided to try it when Chatime was full of people.


very green counter

Parking is very limited in this branch. Fortunately, I had a driver that time so I just told him to wait for me. There were no customer when I entered which I thought was a bad sign.



Cha Dao’s menu is very limited but their milk teas are very cheap. I asked the crew what the place’s milk tea specialty is. They said their best sellers are Assam and Wintermelon. I decided to try large Assam with Egg Pudding and Pearls which only cost me a total of P95, cheaper than other competitors.

While waiting, I took photos of the small store. I found it too “green” and it doesn’t look very comfy to hang out in.


very basic


green everywhere

Since I had really low expectations of Cha Dao, I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted what I ordered. Assam is very milky and suitably sweet but the winner is their egg pudding. I think it’s one of the best tasting out there.


Cha Dao is a good and cheaper alternative take out milk tea place. I wouldn’t hang out in the shop because I find their color scheme very suffocating. Another negative is their limited parking space but for pedestrians that won’t be a problem because Cha Dao is very accessible. It’s near the entrance of Kapitolyo and it’s easy to commute to and from the shop. So I recommend this if you are tired of the long line at Chatime Pioneer or if you have a limited budget.

I just found out that they deliver. I don’t know how much the minimum for delivery is though.

Cha Dao Tea Place
Unit 2, FADI Building, #5 West Capitol Drive, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City (Beside Cebuana Lhullier and main Kapitolyo gate)

I can’t get enough of Crazy Burger

I can’t get enough of Crazy Burger

I’ll make this a really short review since I don’t have other photos of the place but I LOVE LOVE LOVE Citizen Pub’s “Crazy Burger.”


This is the Crazy Burger

I first discovered this treasure when Citizen Pub had a booth at the SuperSale Bazaar where I sold my Aromacology products. It was love at first bite! Ever since then, I would drag my friends to Citizen Pub to see if they’ll like it too and they do. The Crazy Burger (P180+) doesn’t come with fries but it’s good enough for 2 people. I’m an exception because I have big appetite and I can eat 1.5 Crazy Burgers.

The Crazy Burger is an inch-thick all-beef deep-fried patty with veggies and has a wasabi mayo with crab meat dressing. WASABI MAYO! CRAB MEAT! Need I say more?

Citizen Pub and Burger Bar
Citi Golf
Julia Vargas, Pasig

Review: Bobby Chinn Restaurant in Hanoi

Review: Bobby Chinn Restaurant in Hanoi

I recently had a delightful culinary experience in Hanoi. My friends and I decided to eat at Bobby Chinn one rainy night and it’s an experience I will never forget.

The place was almost empty because it was a weekday and it was late for dinner. We arrived at around 10 PM. Good thing the restaurant closes at midnight.


Bobby Chinn is located far from our hotel but cabs know how to get there because of its fame. I think an old house was renovated to become what is now the Bobby Chinn Restaurant in Hanoi and his home when he is in Hanoi. It’s in a residential area so there is hardly any public transportation there. (more…)