An Afternoon with Two-star Michelin Chef Michel Portos

When you get an invitation to watch a hands-on cooking demo of a 2-Michelin Star Chef, do you pass it up? Of course not! I think it was fate that my schedule was super free that day for I got to witness and even chat with Chef Michel Portos. Held at the Makati Branch of Center for Culinary Arts Manila (CCA Manila), it was indeed the perfect venue for the French Masterchef to showcase his skills and more.

The cooking gears here and the whole environment were just top-notch. CCA Manila is the first in Southeast Asia to be partnered with Institut Culinaire Disciples Escoffier (ICDE).

Aspiring Filipino chefs with uncompromising desire to master core French cooking techniques and the fundamental basic principles integral to their learning objectives now have the golden opportunity to achieve them — right at home, under the mentorship of acclaimed French culinary experts.

Via a groundbreaking partnership between the  Center for Culinary Arts Manila (CCA, Manila), the pioneer culinary education institution in the Philippines, and Institut Culinaire Disciples Escoffier (ICDE) of Hong Kong, locally-based students can gain world-class French training under the flagship program Disciples Escoffier Diploma in Culinary Arts, a six-month introductory course.

One would not need to fly abroad to get trained as they could get it here. Yes, the course is indeed tough but it shows how rewarding the program is. Imagine learning from the likes of Master Chef Christian Tetedoie, Chef Vincent Leroux, Master Chef Robert Fontana and Chef Bruno Tirel. Those who’ll pass the program will also get a French Diploma (ICDE diploma and Level 5 Diplome in French cuisine by the Ministry of French Education), access to to the network of Michelin star chefs and restaurants, and recognition in the culinary industry through the strength of Disciples Escoffier International network. Indeed, a promising career awaits those who will enroll here. Just last Saturday, students were able to learn from Two-star Michelin Chef Michel Portos. And let me tell you, it was one fun, enlightening and riveting afternoon. 🙂

2-star Michelin Chef Michel Portos is the “2012 Chef of the Year” by Gault & Millau, one of the most influential French restaurant guides and he has been working as the executive chef and hotel director of the best hotel and restaurant in Bordeaux, “Le Saint James”.

…Chef Michel opened his own restaurant “Côté Théâtre” in Perpignan which was awarded its first Michelin Star in 2002. Eight years later, in 2009, it received its second Michelin star for Chef Michel’s bold, creative and irresistible dishes. His many successful achievements resulted in Chef Michel becoming one of the semi-final judges in the well-known TV programme Master Chef France in 2011.

Such astounding achievements that I was starstruck for a moment! During his hands-on demo of the dishes served, he had this seriousness yet fun appeal to him. I wasn’t able to capture the times that he was just happily interacting with the students. It made the regal session somehow light. And yes, he was very approachable. He even did a groufie with everyone! 🙂

I knew I had to get that filmed. I’m always enthralled by how chefs plate. This beats those shows that I watch for I witnessed it live. I know there were lots of obstacles with those bars, hands and pen but hey, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. 🙂 Oh, and below are the fantastic dishes that were served. I only got to have a bite but I really, really, REALLY wanted more! They were all so good. They all tasted very fresh. Indeed, his dishes does titillate one’s palate. 😛

Roasted Monkfish in Risotto - Pomelo, Bottarga
Roasted Monkfish in Risotto – Pomelo, Bottarga

Watermelon
Watermelon “Beef Carpaccio” Style

And these were truly exquisite and beautiful dishes. Every dish was beautifully done same with its flavors that would astound you. During my quick chat with Chef Michel, I asked him what is a must-try French dish for everyone. He had a hard time choosing one as he wasn’t able to quickly give me a response. French cuisine is very rich not just in its repertoire but history as well. According to him, French dishes do highlight quality but its history as well. A lot has invaded France and vice versa that inspired its dishes to have this melting pot of flavors. It then evolved into this sophisticated cuisine that not only respects the product but is also very intellectual. So for him, those who want to specialize in French cuisine must learn French history.  And with that, Boeuf bourguignon is a must-try French dish. It’s a beef stew cooked in red wine that’s very specific in Western Europe. It’s quite traditional but it does speak a lot about French cuisine.

That was one well-spent and inspiring afternoon. I felt honored to have seen Chef Michel Portos in the kitchen just doing his wonders and feeling the passion he gives to all his dishes. It made me want to become a chef and learn French Culinary Arts. But hey, eating is more fun. Hahaha. In case I do change my mind, I know for sure that this will be my go-to school. 😉

Center for Culinary Arts Manila – Institut Culinaire Disciples Escoffier (ICDE)
139 HV Dela Costa St.,
Salcedo Village,
Makati City
Official website:  http://cca-manila.edu.ph/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ccamanila/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ccamanila
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/ccamanila/

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