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Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Cebu Introduces The Culinary Guide By Chef Daniel Quintero

March 26, 2018 Dining No Comments Email Email

Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Cebu introduces a new monthly dining series at Cowrie Cove Seafood Bar & Grill called The Culinary Guide by the Michelin-trained Executive Sous Chef Daniel Quintero.

The Spanish chef has worked alongside the most recognizable names at Europe’s renowned Michelin-starred establishments, all of which consistently appear on the annual “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list.

The Culinary Guide is inspired by the extraordinary soul and talent of these places, and follows Chef Daniel’s journeys from Spain, Germany and France on the continent to Great Britain, Sweden and Denmark.

Each monthly installation, called Volumes, incorporates the finely polished techniques, philosophies and personal anecdotes gleaned over the course of Chef Daniel’s luminous career.

His series begins in April with “Volume I: Catalonia,” where tradition and avant-garde innovation have always been the bywords of its cuisine. These are personified by the remarkable personalities Chef Daniel has worked with: Carles Gaig at the venerable Gaig and the late Jean Luc Figueras at his eponymous establishment, each of them with a Michelin star, as well as the incomparable Ferran Adria at the Michelin three-starred elBulli.

Being accepted into elBulli was a literal dream come true for Chef Daniel.

“When I was still in school, my mother and I went on a road trip to Perpignan in France, and we passed by elBulli,” Chef Daniel said. “It was autumn, off season, and the restaurant was closed, but I walked around on the beach by the bay. I picked up a mussel shell and some pebbles, and said to myself, ‘One day I will come back and work here.’”

“Volume II: Valencia” calls to mind the charming beachside restaurant by another bright star of Spanish gastronomy, Quique Dacosta. It was Chef Daniel’s first experience in working with a multicultural brigade in a truly world-class kitchen, with the intensity of performing at a very high level and the euphoria of earning another Michelin star.

The best lesson he took away from that sojourn was, however, a simple one.

“I really learned how to work with fish there. We had people fishing exclusively for the restaurant. I used to spend my breaks staying in the kitchen, cleaning the fish for dinner service.”

In June, “Volume III: Basque Country,” he moves further afield, with a “rooted in nature” philosophy and a deep connection to the Earth that is inspired by legendary French chef Michel Bras, whose fame is so often linked to preternaturally beautiful presentations of herbs and flowers, and the Spanish chef Andoni Luis Aduriz at the top-ranked Mugaritz.

“One time, we visited a culinary congress in Pamplona, where Chef Bras was to receive an award,” Chef Daniel said. “We traveled from France in a Renault, with all our vegetables in the trunk! Being onstage with him, being able to plate a dish together was incredible.”

Mugaritz, on the outskirts of San Sebastiàn in northern Spain, had its own farm, just like at Michel Bras.

“Every morning at six, the chefs would forage the herbs from the surrounding fields. And every Monday, which was our day off, we would go to the markets in Biarritz,” Chef Daniel said.

“Volume IV: England and Scandinavia” gives diners a close look at the disruptive creative energy in three European capitals. Outside London, it was at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, arguably the most famous restaurant in Britain.

“There was an experimental kitchen above the production kitchen and, there, I had the chance to participate in research and development – one of the things we worked on was Mock Turtle Soup, and yes, it was inspired by Lewis Carroll,” said Chef Daniel. “There was also a dish called The Sound of the Sea, which was served with an iPod that played the music of waves on the beach. Blumenthal was crazy like that – he believed in involving all the senses – sound, especially – and food together.”

In Stockholm, Chef Daniel worked with the accomplished Mathias Dahlgren, whose two restaurants have both been awarded with Michelin stars.

“He was such a nice, humble guy,” Chef Daniel said about this experience. “We had a private catering event, a four-hands dinner for a special client – imagine cooking together with someone who had won the Bocuse d’Or.”

In Copenhagen, Chef Daniel came under the eye-opening tutelage of Rene Redzepi, the genius behind Noma.

“I was lucky to see the big Nordic movement in advance. In Noma, the chefs cook and plate, then they serve the guests themselves; it’s a very Scandinavian philosophy,” Chef Daniel said. “Every Friday night, we had a chef’s table – four people would present their creations for sharing. You saw so many good things influenced by Redzepi’s style: the perfect balance of the natural and the modern Nordic approach, everything fresh and organic.”

The series concludes in August with “Volume V: Germany,” defined by two iconic Michelin three-starred establishments at the forefront of the new German school of cuisine. One is the splendid Vendôme under Chef Joachim Wissler just outside Cologne, and the other is la vie in historic Osnabrück.

Chef Daniel is especially proud of this latter experience.

“At la vie, I had the chance to be the head chef, in charge of developing the full-menu offering, and I was part of the team when we gained our third Michelin star. That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You are able to do with your hands what your brain is indicating. With complete freedom, being at the peak of your skills, you feel like anything and everything is possible.”

The Culinary Guide will be launched with “Volume I: Catalonia” on Saturday, April 28, 2018. Each set menu and wine pairing will be available daily for dinner the entire month. Rates are at P5,000.00 ++ per person, per dinner; those who wish to attend all five events can avail the special promotional price of P20,000.00++.

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