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  • Nomama's Him Uy de Baron prepares his fresh prawn wontons with dandan sauce.
  • "I added elements that would just help elevate the dish like a slow cooked egg and a pickled cucumber raita that would cut through the richness and spice," says De Baron. "I also added fried leeks to give that onion flavor w the texture.
  • Scout's Honor's profiterole with craquelin and filling of red bean ganache and sakura-scented mochi. Served with matcha creme Anglaise and topped with shards of sesame white chocolate.
  • "My inspiration for the store is mainly my love for desserts, especially cookies," says Scout's Honor's Miko Aspiras. "I have an utmost respect for ingredients and techniques. I pay a lot of attention to details, which is probably what I got from joining pastry competitions in the past."
  • Scout's Honor co-founder Kristine Lotilla filling a profiterole
  • Aspiras: "I also partnered with chocolatier Christian Valdez, who served high-quality pralines flavored with Asian herbs and spices: salt and pepper, gumamela, calamansi and the like.”
  • Chef Celine Escaler of Stockton Place
  • Stockton Place's smoked salmon salad with tarragon-infused arugula, citrus segments, and a black sesame tuille
  • A culinary showdown at Trailblazers
  • Craftpoint Brewing Company's Marvin Moreno
  • Niner Ichi Nana's Erwan Heussaff mixes two infused-gin cocktails
  • The Curator's Jericson Co mixes a festive cachaca-based Ju Nada
  • David Ong of EDSA BDG

11/04/14 Firing Up New Flavor at The Imaginarium’s “Trailblazers”

Photos by Francisco Nuñez

At last week’s Imaginarium, a weeklong “multi-arts festival of the absurd,” open mouths led to open minds. Alongside off-Broadway musicals and offbeat performances, the festival’s food event Trailblazers got notable Manila chefs to fire up their imaginations through palate-expanding bites.

Friend of NOUS and EDSA Beverage Design Group’s David Ong gathered a bevy of pals who are at the city’s forefront of flavor. Forming the regiment at the PETA Theater’s roof deck were culinary young guns like Hungry Hound’s Mikko Reyes, Celine Escaler of Stockton Place, and Wildflour’s Allen Buhay, as well as ramen maverick Him Uy de Baron. What the Nomama chef set off: an addictive spice bomb through his prawn wonton soup with dandan sauce.

Providing a proper cool-off to kick back with were crisp Summer Session ales from Craft Point Brewery. Otherwise, drinks dictator Jericson Co of The Curator shook a sunning chair into a glass with his Ju Nada, mixing cachaca, lime, lychee juice, coconut milk, and coffee.

Rather than something to finish with, dessert was a journey in itself. Miko Aspiras’s craft cookie and milk shop Scout’s Honor created a “classic French pastry that combined Japanese flavors”: a profiterole with craquelin, filled with red bean ganache and sakura-scented mochi. And atop this delicate creation, a bamboo charcoal meringue with shards of sesame white chocolate.

“This represents the flavors you can expect from our cookies and milk concoctions: curious, crazy-sexy, and most importantly delicious,” says Aspiras of his and partner Kristine Lotilla’s Trailblazers offering, a truly imaginative pastry with its own passport.

At the Imaginarium, food certainly made for delicious departure. From a clever play in texture (a fried tapioca cracker by Buhay) to the taste traveled in Scout’s Honor’s pastry, the future we saw at these chefs’ hands looked pretty damn appetizing.