“You don’t learn talent” claims Chef Patrice Martineau, Peninsula Manila’s featured chef this week, June 25 to 30, to share Les Saveurs de France (The Flavors of France), a special menu offered by the five-star hotel in its Old Manila restaurant.
Chef Patrice’s career was defined in New York City’s acclaimed Daniel as Chef de Cuisine, after which as executive Chef at the Savoy Hotel in London.
Chef Patrice’s hard work and discipline eventually brought him to The Peninsula Tokyo where he says he acquired his best practices since joining the hotel in 2007. He is impressed by how the Japanese savor their food, appreciate fresh ingredients, and take food handling seriously.
As the French food festival opened on Monday, Chef Patrice served a full five-course French contemporary meal. There is palpable passion in this course as the chef lured guests with each meticulously prepared and plated dish.
True to it’s name, the tomato cold soup, was excellently done, leaving no residues. One gets to appreciate the fullness and flavor of sweet fresh tomatoes.
Next came the Marinated Scallop with Mango Passion Fruit Chutney that the chef later on poured with Spiced Watermelon Citrus Broth—in each of the guest’s plate at that.
There was a glint of pride in the chef’s eyes when the next dish, Tasmanian salmon, arrived on the table. The dish is a trio of caramelized fresh fig on eggplant (that proved to be a good integration), lettuce mousseline (hollandaise sauce that has been made frothy with whipped cream or egg white, served mainly with fish or asparagus.) and crispy potato and smoked salmon salad.
Chef Patrice couldn’t resist sharing that salmon is a favorite ingredient that appears in his signature dishes at the Peninsula Tokyo.
The highlight of this joyeux culinary trip and making it worth one’s while and money is the Red Label chicken from Lyon, France. Chickens produced from the Red Lable Programme was subjected to thorough controls in each stage of the process and come from special breeds selected for their low growth rate, high meat quality, and good skin.
“Difficult to find but we manage to bring in,” says Chef Patrice. A red label chicken is never fried he adds. It is only poached or roasted. To do so will be wasting the product.
Chef Patrice is first and foremost a pastry chef before shifting to being Chef de Cuisine. Dessert, the Apple-citrus Vacherin, elicited a burst of awe from everyone at the table. The tartness of the apples and cider reduction combined with the creaminess of the cheese proved to be both refreshing and comforting with each pop in the mouth.
The French food festival reflects Chef Patrice’s outlook both in taste and the way he wins his restaurant’s patrons: young, vibrant, light, and always with that touch of the personal.
The ongoing French festival is a precursor to a Peninsula Paris that will open in late 2013. What a surprise for a historic hotel group that has carried the mark of luxury and exquisite service since it established its first Peninsula hotel in 1928 in Hong Kong. With the rich and delicious French cuisine feeling so right at the Peninsula, a hotel in the City of Lights is definitely a long time coming.
• On Thursday night, June 28, Chef Patrice Martineau partners with Chateau Pontet-Canet for a truly French wine dinner. Chef Patrice has prepared a 6-course menu that will be paired with Chateau Pontet-Canet wines. On June 30, he will be conducting a cooking class. For inquiries or reservations, please call +632 887-2888 or e-mail: email@example.com.