• Colorful flavors of home in Tagaytay

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    (From left) Chefs Jaja Andal, Rhea Sycip, Anthony Raymond, and Nancy Reyes-Lumen work on a concept based on the colors, freshness, and vigor of the Tagaytay landscape

    (From left) Chefs Jaja Andal, Rhea Sycip, Anthony Raymond, and Nancy Reyes-Lumen work on a concept based on the colors, freshness, and vigor of the Tagaytay landscape

    Home cooking is an integral part of the Filipino way of life. This is so, even as endless restaurant brands and concepts from other countries have come and gone in these shores for many years. For Filipinos who do enjoy international cuisines all the same, nothing will and can ever come close to the Philippines’ literally colorful array of dishes and delicacies.

    It is by this fact that the culinary team of Tagaytay’s famed Discovery Country Suites (DCS) was inspired to create a new menu dubbed “Feast of Colors,” which incorporates the Philippines’ vibrant colors with the southern escapes lush greenery. Moreover, the project headed by Discovery Leisure Inc.’s Food and Beverage director Chef Anthony Raymond and DCS resident manager and pastry chef Rhea Sycip, also had the valuable input of noted Filipino culinary star Nancy Reyes-Lumen and equally promising chef Jaja Andal who specializes in Batangueño cuisine.

    Blue Paella by Chef Jaja Andal

    Blue Paella by Chef Jaja Andal

    “We thought in terms of co­lors because Tagaytay is fresh, young, colorful, with lots of salad greens and flowers as is Filipino cuisine in general,” Reyes-Lumen explained at the new menu’s launch on August 2 at DCS’ Restaurant Verbena.

    Known as the Adobo Queen, Reyes Lumen has lent her Rodrigo’s Roast [from her published The Adobo Book]Mechado Paprika to the Feast of Colors selection; while fellow guest chef Andal contributed her Blue Paella, Talangka Pate, and a beautiful salad of Tagaytay’s greens and colorful flowers, with a choice of passion fruit or santol dressing.

    Chef Raymond, meanwhile, tapped into his expertise for fusion cuisine with such entrees as Pinoy Baked Rockefeller, Crispy Whole Lapu Lapu, Seafood Bicol Express, and Duck Adobo.

    Chef Sycip, who was tasked to round off the menu, completed the menu with her Avocado Sponge Cake, Amadeo Muffins, Ube Halaya Chiffon Cake, and Langka Queso de Bola Cheesecake.

    Seafood Bicol Express by Chef Anthony Raymond

    Seafood Bicol Express by Chef Anthony Raymond

    Each dish in the curated buffet display at Restaurant Verbena is skillfully prepared for the utmost satisfaction of its diners. “The Feast of Colors” lunch weekend is available on August 13 and 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., priced at P1,200.

    According to Raymond, Feast of Colors will be available on August 13 and 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. as a limited time special of Restaurant Verbena. He happily noted how a shift among Filipinos to enjoy local cuisine has strengthened as of late.

    “When I first came home from working in the US and Europe about four years ago, colleagues told me that it is a must for any property to first have a good selection of local cuisines before thinking about burgers and club sandwiches. And as our patrons all know, Filipino food is always one of the strong suits of all Discovery properties’ dining outlets.”

    Raymond went as far as saying, “Forget international cuisine for now—I mean they still sell, but this shift is happening now. About 60 percent of customers coming here tend to look for local food, including the foreigners.”

    Apparently, what used to be considered comfort food is now the strength of menus around the country.

    Mechado Paprika by Chef Nancy Reyes-Lumen

    Mechado Paprika by Chef Nancy Reyes-Lumen

    “For a chef who’s been away for a long time, it’s exiting for me to really go into Filipino cuisine. In fact, this is the reason why I came back because many of my friends have been telling me that there’s so much happening in our kitchens but that the culinary foundation of the Philippines is solid now more than ever.”

    For Chef Raymond and the rest of the team that hope to lure diners to Tagaytay with their “Feast of Colors,” there is no better way to enjoy an escape to this picturesque ridge above Taal but with new and interesting flavors of home.

    Discovery Country Suites is located along Calamba Road in San Jose, Tagaytay City. For inquiries and reservations, call (02) 5298172, email reservations@dcs.discovery.com.ph or visit http://www.discoverycountrysuites.com.

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