Cross Cultures Presents Eat Ethio: The First Ethiopian Dinner in the Philippines

Our first Cross Cultures event was with the fabulous Eat Ethio! We could not have asked for a better first collaboration <3 Here are myself and the lovely Helina Tesega after our #CrossCulturesXEatEthio at Gallery Vask in Manila
Our first Cross Cultures event was with the fabulous Eat Ethio! We could not have asked for a better first collaboration <3 Here are myself and the lovely Helina Tesega after our #CrossCulturesXEatEthio at Gallery Vask in Manila
Our first Cross Cultures event was with the fabulous Eat Ethio! We could not have asked for a better first collaboration

Our first Cross Cultures event spotlighted Ethiopian cuisine in the Philippines by way of… Eat Ethio! I often get questions about how Cross Cultures came about.. and it was really all the misconceptions (questions) that were directed to me when I was in Ethiopia last June 2015. (Click here, here, here, and here— to know more about what Ethiopia is REALLY like! )

And because I loved Ethiopian cuisine so much, I decided it would be my first event! I partnered with Eat Ethio, a movement founded by Helina Tesega that provides a modern insight into the food, coffee, music, designs and culture of Ethiopia. Eat Ethio shares the same philosophy with Cross Cultures—that the first insight into a culture is to taste it!

We decided to have our Cross Cultures x Eat Ethio dinner on September 18, 2015 at Curve at Gallery Vask, Bonifacio Global City. After posting on Facebook and Instagram, the 90 pax dinner, priced at 2,500+ per head, which included pairings with wines from Happy Living Philippines, and Remy Martin XO Excellence, sold out within 24 hours! 

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Welcome to Cross Cultures x Eat Ethio! Kevin Conopio of Carmina Sanchez Enterprises, and Rhanee Casillano of Vask and Gallery Vask, assisted me from start to finish in executing this event, I’m very grateful to these guys :) Vask’s marketing team, represented by Jolo Durian, was also very helpful!

The evening began at Architect Carlo Calma’s Manifesto Gallerie, on the 12th floor. While sipping on Valdivieso Sparkling Brut, guests mulled over the photos that I took during my visit to Ethiopia, which included an Ethiopian Christian Orthodox monk and ladies gathering fruits and vegetables at the market in Axum. The celebration of Africa was extended as guests were then introduced to the continent’s beauty secret, Marula Facial Oil, which has been touted as the new “IT” oil, favored by Vanity Fair, Vogue, Elle, Allure and Cosmopolitan. Cold pressed, with antioxidants and omega fatty acids, it is a superior anti-aging moisturizer with better absorbency than argan oil, and provides fair trade wages for women in Africa. All female guests found them on their seats, as special gifts before they became available at SM department stores’ beauty section in October 2015.

Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu presents Eat Ethio at Gallery Vask- Manifesto Gallerie
Cocktail hour at Manifesto Gallerie with my photos of Ethiopia on display. (Photo by Anton Diaz/ Our Awesome Planet)
Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu presents Eat Ethio at Gallery Vask- Photograph by Cheryl Tiu
My photo of these women at a Sunday market in Axum, Ethiopia. (Photo by Anton Diaz/ Our Awesome Planet)
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The night, we also introduced Africa’s beauty secret, the coveted Marula Oil to our guests– much much better than argan oil! They are now available at all SM beauty stores nationwide :) (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Marti Magsanoc and Jenny Rockett
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BJ Palanca and Jerika Ejercito
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John and Katrine Tiu, Gai Pardilla, Charles Tiu
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Sigbritt and Calle Oskarsson, Leo and Malin Virata
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Carlo Calma, Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi, Jonathan Crespi, Antonio Ressano, Richard Tiu
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Scott Albon of Eat Ethio (He’s Helina’s fiance and also does branding and the music for their events!), Meya Cortez, Maita Quesada
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Happy Living Wines’ Kathy Yao Santos, Xanjo and Melinda Santos

The dinner set up featured postcards of my photographs of Ethiopia as namecards, and the menu detailing Ethiopian spices—berbere, mitmita, korerima and kibeh—and the encouragement to use the fingers while eating. Crowd favorites from the six-course dinner were the Kitfo, or Ethiopian steak tartare, which was Mayura wagyu beef mixed in with mitmita, korerima, kibe with gomen (kale) and housemade ayib cheese, paired with Chateau St. Jean Fume Blanc 2012; the Lamb Tibs (Ethiopian spicy fried lamb) paired with Beringer Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir 2013; and Ethiopian’s national dish, Doro Wotberbere spiced slow-cooked chicken wot, served with housemade soft cheese and soft boiled egg and gluten-free teff injera. The sauce was so potent, not a few guests took the leftovers home to eat with! This was washed down with the Valdivieso Single Vineyard Malbec 2009 and St. Francis Chardonnay 2012 from Sonoma County.

Cross Cultures x Eat Ethio menu, and photos of Ethiopia by Cheryl Tiu converted into postcards used as place cards for guests
The menu on each table with my photograph of an Ethiopian Christian Orthodox monk used as a namecard (Photo by Marivic Genuinio)
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Helina Tesega of Eat Ethio prepping for our big feast!
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The Gallery Vask team preparing the prawn wrap– berbere and mojo marinated grilled prawns served with kolo (toasted barley) on mustard leaves
Kitfo- Ethiopian steak tartare made from Mayura wagyu- Cross Cultures x Eat Ethio- Manila, Philippines
Kitfo, Ethiopian steak tartare made with Mayura wagyu, with mitmita, korerima, kibe with gomen (kale) and housemade ayib cheese. This is served with toasted injera and ambasha. (Photo by Willy Saw)
Chateau St. Jean Fume Blanc-Happy Living Philippines- Cross Cultures x Eat Ethio at Gallery Vask
Everyone remarked that the wines paired so excellently with the food! One of my fave wines for the evening, the Chateau St. Jean Fume Blanc, which was aired with the Ethiopian steak tartare. (Photo by Anton Diaz/ Our Awesome Planet)
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Azifa, dark speckled lentils, senafich (Ethiopian mustard), spinach and timatim (cherry tomatoes) (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Gorgeous lamb tibs!!!
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Ethiopia’s national dish: Doro Wot! Berbere spiced slow-cooked chicken wot, housemade soft cheese, soft boiled egg, served with gluten-free teff injera. (Photo by Willy Saw)
Valdivieso Malbec- Cross Cultures x Eat Ethio at Gallery Vask
The doro wot was paired with both the Valdivieso Single Vineyard Malbec 2009 (in photo) and St. Francis Chardonnay 2012– up to the guests! (Photo by Anton Diaz/ Our Awesome Planet)

Helina says that in Ethiopia they don’t have dessert but they do have a lot of coffee—as Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee—and they eat a lot of popcorn so she created the Popcorn Ice Cream, served with a shot of buna, ‘pour-over’ Ethiopian single origin coffee. The night ended with Remy Martin XO Excellence, an expression of a genuine grand champagne cognac (with a blend of 85% eaux de vie from Grand champagne and 15% Petite Champagne), supported by almost 300 years of cognac making knowledge.

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Helina’s special creation of popcorn ice cream served with a shot of buna, ‘pour’ over Ethiopian single origin coffee..
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The Ethiopian single origin coffee or “buna” was served directly from a jebena, an Ethiopian clay coffee pot used in their coffee ceremonies (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Helina came to each table to explain the dishes to each of the guests (Photo by Willy Saw)
Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu presents Eat Ethio at Gallery Vask- Curve Room
Guests at Curve at Gallery Vask (Photo by Anton Diaz/ Our Awesome Planet)
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Erik Chu and Karina Mantolino
Cross Cultures by Cheryl Tiu presents Eat Ethio at Gallery Vask- Gallery Vask
Guests at Gallery Vask (Photo by Anton Diaz/ Our Awesome Planet)
Christine Yap and Almay Gaw
Christine Yap and Almay Gaw
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Lauro and Grace Baja
Eths Go, Cheryl Tiu, Marbee Go
Eths Go, Cheryl Tiu, Marbee Go
Our Awesome Planet's Anton and Rachelle Diaz with Marula Oil's Larry Tolosa
Our Awesome Planet’s Anton Diaz and wife, Rachel with Marula Oil’s Larry Tolosa
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Remy Martin’s Joey Pineda and Pepper Teehankee
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Carlo Calma enjoying the Remy Martin XO Excellence, which was served as digestif
Gallery Vask Team x Eat Ethio
Teams Cross Cultures, Eat Ethio and Gallery Vask!!! Take a bow, guys, you were excellent!! Thank you so much for everything!! <3 (Photo by Anton Diaz/ Our Awesome Planet)

We hope to see you at our future events! For more information on Cross Cultures, please like our Facebook page (click HERE) and follow us on Instagram (click HERE) and you can also subscribe to this blog (just enter your email on the top right-hand corner), as announcements are always posted here first! XX