Thursday, June 20, 2024

Professional Chefs, Aspiring Culinarians Team Up For Largest Paella In Manila


Professional Chefs, Aspiring Culinarians Team Up For Largest Paella In Manila


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Celebrated chefs and culinary arts students joined hands to prepare Manila’s biggest paella at the Paella Gigante Festival 2024 in Greenbelt 3, Makati City.

The cookout was organized by Sociedad Española de Beneficia (SEB), a private charitable institution dedicated to uplifting the quality of life of indigent senior Filipino-Spanish citizen residents of the Philippines. This was in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, premier chef organization Le Toques Blanches (LTB) Philippines Chefs Association, and Ayala Malls Greenbelt.

The festival, which was first launched in 2012 as part of the gastronomic summit Madrid Fusion, has since served as a fundraising endeavor to support the programs and beneficiaries of SEB, which includes designated individuals, foundations, and religious communities in need.

Paella Gigante Festival 2024 made its grand comeback after its pandemic hiatus. Under the leadership of Paella Capitan Mikel Arriet, general manager of Anya Resorts Tagaytay, and Co-Capitan and LTB President Chef Jerome Valencia, CEO of Pucha Pares PH, 25 LTB chefs took turns with the exquisite Spanish dish in a 12-foot paellera.

The ingredients of the gigantic paella were comprised of 100 kilos of rice, 60 kilos of chicken, 23 kilos of smoky sausage, 30 kilos of chorizo, 30 kilos of fresh vegetables, a total of 80 kilos of seafood, from fresh prawns, to mussels and squids, and approximately 15 liters of the iconic Spanish olive oil.

Ten sacks of firewood, and four sacks of charcoal were used for the dish.

Culinary aspirants from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management (SHRIM), University of Santo Tomas (UST), and Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) assisted the experts to handle the ingredients, and the distribution of 1,000 servings for guests.

The Benilde delegation was spearheaded by LTB Director for Memberships and Benilde Culinary Arts Chairperson Chef Margarita Marty, as well as LTB Chef Kannan Jayaprakash Sreedevi.

They were mentored by Young Hoteliers’ Exposition (YHE) Faculty Co-Chairman Chef Franz Monteclaro. Included in the roster were student-volunteers Leeanne Carstyn Chua, Joe Benedict Mojica, Rycca Sofia Yzabelle Dee, Glydil Gutierrez, and Ellah Empleo from the Benilde Culinary Arts Program.

“The event invited the interested to experience a cultural journey,” Chua shared. “Together with student volunteers, the LTB Philippines Chefs Association brings their culinary expertise to create Manila’s largest paella.”

Sreedevi shared the commitment of the LTB Philippines Chefs Association towards society. The educator stated that it served as a great avenue for the chefs to come together for a noble cause.

“For the young students, it was such a wonderful opportunity to witness and take part in cooking on this scale,” he added. “It also gives them a feel of working with professionals.”

“It was a privilege to work alongside some of the prominent chefs in the Philippines,” Gutierrez shared. “The experience taught me the importance of teamwork and collaboration and provided me with an invaluable opportunity to learn from the experts in the field.”

The celebration featured a Spanish drum circle, as well as paso doble and sevillanas flamenco performances. A selection of exquisite wines, a diverse array of vendors with special offers, and even a photobooth were available for guests.