Thanksgiving is hardly celebrated in the Philippines but each year we’re lucky enough to celebrate it in a fabulous way courtesy of our friends from the US Potato Board. It has become a tradition to enjoy a multi-course dinner prepared by a celebrity chef with much wine and chatter to go around. You’d certainly feel you were in good ol’ America!
Venue for this year’s festivity was Terraz, a fine dining Continental restaurant at the Zuellig Building in Makati. I was glad to set foot here for the first time after snaking through Manila’s infamous rush hour pre-holiday (!!) traffic. And what made me smile was this gorgeous-looking roasted turkey on the center table. It was golden, tender, tasty and truly juicy!
Featured chef for this year’s Thanksgiving was Arnold Gozon, formerly of Shangri-La Hotel Makati who now lords it over the kitchen of Terraz. I failed to attend last year’s feast prepared by Chef Sau del Rosario so I was excited this time around. Chef Arnold prepared an impeccable four-course menu that made stellar use of potatoes to accompany each dish. It was gourmet enjoyment all throughout.
First, we got a trio of appetizers which included a potato cake with crabmeat on top and some divine-tasting sesame ahi tuna salad.
Then came this delicious Manhattan seafood chowder. It had a siding of hash browns turned into potato croquette then wrapped with bacon.
The waiters were generously offering to pour wine on our glasses. A choice of Californian Chardonnay or Pinot Noir by Beringer.
Which made us all ready for the main course…
This brilliantly deconstructed potato flakes gnocchi with oven-roasted rosemary pork belly. The pork was unfortunately not too tender but the pistachio-crusted codfish beside it was ultimately satisfying.
And for dessert: a little pound cake with blueberry filling topped with a potato basket weave and a siding of fruits.
Geewhiz! I can’t believe I finished all of that, plus the turkey! Coffee was in order too, even though it was close to 9pm. Okay, make it decaf 🙂
Here are some VIPs I saw at this intimate gathering –
Two of the Philippines’ recognizable chefs Sandy Daza and Myrna Segismundo –
US Potato Board and US Department of Agriculture Representatives. I was glad to meet again USPB Global Food Service Marketing Manager Ms. Susan Weller from the USPB Food Safari in Cebu last year.
USPB has launched the #USPotatoesForACause campaign in social media which encourages people to share their own potato recipes for the chance to have US Potatoes donated on their behalf to USPB’s partner orphanages, Tahanan ng Pagmamahal and Bahay Maria. The donation aims to help these organizations create healthy but affordable dishes for children under their care. Currently, the campaign has generated 15 kilos of US Potatoes to be donated to the beneficiaries.