You have to work hard for what you want.
This is one powerful statement of Chef Michael Ty that inspired me the whole day after attending the media launch of American Hospitality Academy (AHA) Philippines Master Chef Series at AHA Makati today. According to the AHA Philippines Director, Chef Gene Cordova, it took seven years to get Chef Michael Ty to be the Guest Master Chef being the famous first Filipino-American President of the American Culinary Federation. He was also the youngest executive chef of Las Vegas and the first Asian being Filipino-American executive chef of the Ceasars Palace and other famous destinations in Las Vegas like the world-renowned Desert Inn and Lawry's Prime Rib.
After the brief introduction by Chef Gene Cordova, Chef Michael Ty started cooking appetizers like this mouth-watering Maine Lobster Corn Dogs with a Whole Grain Aioli. He taught us how important it is to watch the robot coupe dice the meat into medium size pieces by placing bowl and blade in freezer to chill before using. I've also learned some great tricks on the preparation of the batter like pancakes and wrapping them in cling wraps to perfect the shape of the corn dog when poaching. After making the sauce with spices, he immediately served the dish with no frills.
It was difficult to describe as I've immediately drowned with joy after eating the Maine Lobster Corn Dog dipped with Whole Grain Aioli. He started telling stories of how he moved to the United States in 1966 and we all laughed at his experiences being bullied in school as an Asian. The stories got more interesting while he prepared the next dish - Chicken Arugula Ginger Lumpia Salad with Coriander Sweet Chili Vinaigrette.
I also reflected on the discussion why Filipinos did not have a culture of using fresh spices which is gaining so much popularity all over the world today. It reminded me of my late father always using fish sauce in every dish (may his soul rest in peace)while Chef Michael explained how Americans are gaining more consciousness on avoiding salt and sodium-based dishes in the United States. He prepared the lumpia with spices without using so much salt to bring in more flavors and it was really very effective. The Chicken Arugula Ginger Lumpia Salad with Coriander Sweet Chili Vinaigrette was not too salty but really flavorful and delicious. Filipinos would usually ask for vinegar as most lumpia is prepared salty but this lumpia was filled with spices dipped perfect with the Coriander Sweet Chili Vinaigrette. My friend and I believe today that if Filipino lumpia was not too salty like this preparation, all Filipinos would be healthier today. This would spell lesser diseases on the kidneys and the livers common to most of us Pinoys.
The main dish prepared by Chef Michael Ty was this Jumbo Prawn with Crusted Pistachio Chicken Breast with a smoked Tomato Concasse. The preparation was quite long and laborious using wood smoking chips to prepare the tomatoes and the medley of season vegetables before preparing the chicken and the prawns. I've also learned how to prepare the Pistachio nuts being careful to scrape the skin as it may make the mixture really bitter. Nutty tender and well-cooked chicken breast with a slice of the Jumbo Prawns dipped in Tomato Concasse erased all my memories of stress at work and made me want to be a chef and join the Master Chef Series of AHA. This dish also gave me more ideas how to prepare chicken and prawns since I've cooked almost all recipes with it through the years. I can't wait to dazzle my family and friends with the techniques and tricks I've learned from Chef Michael Ty whose passion and roots of becoming an executive chef was really so inspiring.
Reception after the event was held at Upper East Restaurant of AHA located in Tordesillas St., Makati City. Students of American Hospitality Academy (AHA) Philippines practice their culinary skills in this restaurant. It was difficult for me not to associate it to a Goldilocks theme where lights are decorated with silver beads and comfy chairs are in pastel colors. The eclairs were really to die for in this place. I really loved their Coffee Eclairs and their Tiramisu ice cream cake.
Blue-shaded dainty glasses, colorful comfy chairs and pretty wall decors made me feel like I'm dining in a doll-house complete with heavenly eclairs. It was a complete Goldilocks dream come true and I'd definitely be back for more of their treats since they serve Executive Lunch complete with soup, main course and dessert for only P199 (Available from Tuesday-Friday, 11:30-2:00pm). I didn't notice the service staff were student chefs from AHA until I've seen their name tags. We were told that diners in the Upper East are always informed that the service staff are all students and inconveniences should be noted since the restaurant is the practice facility of AHA.
This is their melt-in-your-mouth Tiramisu Ice Cream Cake. It would take a long time to get it out of my head since I seldom appreciate Tiramisu Cakes in many restaurants. Theirs would make you savor the mascarpone cheese filled in ladyfinger cookies and the chocolate frosting. I'm really interested to learn baking since I've concentrated cooking more main dishes this year. It would really be nice to be a chef for just a day.
Great news! AHA actually offers International Culinary Education and Experience for High School Graduates. New AHA Philippines programs include: 2 1/2 year Associate in International Culinary Arts, 8-month Diploma in International Culinary Arts, 6-month Diploma in International Culinary Arts, Professional Certificate in Culinary Arts and Professional Cerfiticate in Baking and Master-Cake Decorating with Master Chef Toba Garett.
In partnership with APICIUS Culinary Institute of Florenece, Italy, AHA Philippines will be providing its students International Culinary Education and Training in Italy! Inquire today and experience authentic Italian and European cooking from Italian master chefs.