Gaggan In Manila Day 2: A 15-Course Champagne Dinner At Gallery Vask

For the Gaggan in Manila dinner, we produced a catalogue-- designed by Kevin Conopio-- which contained bios and recipes of the chefs, as well as some information on Cross Cultures. Each menu was inserted into it on the dinner table. (Photo by Willy Saw)

The 15-course sit-down dinner on October 6, 2015, Tuesday, was the piece de resistance of the #GAGGANINMANILA #GAGGANCROSSCULTURES experience. Priced at P7,900+/ head, inclusive of Veuve Clicquot champagnes, it sold out within 2 hours the day we announced it! (It’s not a surprise because Asia’s number one restaurant has a three-month waitlist for a table in Bangkok!)

Cross Cultures x Gaggan x Gallery Vask- October 6, 2015 Tuesday
One night only!!!

Instead of doing it event-style, where everyone is served the same dish at the same time, we did it restaurant-style, so we had three seatings: 6:30 (20 pax); 7:30 (15 pax) and 8:45 (15 pax). I had to explain to everyone that nobody was going to be “kicked out” at any given time– the venue can accommodate all 50 pax at the same time. It was just done this way so as not to compromise the quality of the food. In fact, everyone was welcome to stay as long as they wanted!

For this special occasion, the normally curtained Gallery Vask was opened up as a cocktail-area-open-kitchen where guests were served welcome drinks of Belvedere cocktails topped with meringue, while they had the chance to watch the chefs in action, and of course, meet Gaggan and Chele, before settling into their seats.

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If you’ve ever walked by Gallery Vask, you’ll notice that this part is always curtained so you can’t see what’s inside. For this evening, we pulled back the curtains for our cocktail area cum show kitchen :) (Photo by Norman Lleses)
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It’s getting really hot in the kitchen! Gaggan stirring the big pot of curry.. (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Chele was very busy noting that every dish was served per table at the same time… (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Gaggan chef Garima Arora, who came from Noma, plating the BAA…boy dish, alongside Gallery Vask’s head chef Carlos Villaflor (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Gaggan R&D chef Sergi Martinez putting the final touches to the finger foods of Chele Bomba, Pinoy Cookie and Bird’s Nest (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Mark, Vask’s resident bartender, prepared Belvedere cocktails mixed with calamansi, and topped with meringue (Photo by Norman Lleses)
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Scavolini’s Brian and Bettina Hontiveros, and Claudine and Wesley Cobankiat with Gaggan at the kitchen :) (Photo by Norman Lleses)
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Antonio’s (the only restaurant on the Asia’s 50 Best list at #48!) Tonyboy Escalante, Moet Hennessy Philippines’ Olga Azarcon and Louis David Kerscaven (Photo by Norman Lleses)
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Test Kitchen Hong Kong’s Vincent Mui, Victor Corrales Gallego, Maria Video Ferrer and Chele Gonzalez (Photo by Norman Lleses)
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Jericho and Pia Fernando, Amado Fores, Carlo Calma, Cecile and Carmela Ang, Chut Cuerva (Photo by Willy Saw)

I remember panicking at 5 PM because we still didn’t have the final menu! Gaggan had changed the menu several times and finally settled with “Cheryl’s Cross Cultures = Gaggan + Gallery Vask,” which he titled and wrote himself. He said that each dish that he and Chele would be creating that evening would be a cross between two cultures– a Gaggan dish with a touch of Gallery Vask, or a Gallery Vask dish with a dash of Gaggan– and with the exception of a few spices, all utilizing Filipino ingredients or produce.

"Cheryl's Cross Cultures = Gaggan + Gallery Vask" Menu, as written by Gaggan
The full “Cheryl’s Cross Cultures = Gaggan + Gallery Vask” Menu, as written by Gaggan

For instance, their signature cookie dish at Gaggan made with Bengali mustard, Gaggan added local seaweed and dehydrated adobo flakes and called it Pinoy Cookie.

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“Pinoy cookie– Bengali mustard, seaweed and dehydrated adobo flakes” (Photo by Willy Saw)

BAA…boy, where “baa means mad in Thai and boy means man enough to eat the spicy dish,” was baboy as we know it in the Philippines (cochinillo-style) served with a sauce of 17 spices and sweet potato.

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“BAA…boy– baa meaning mad in Thai language and boy means man enough to eat this spicy dish” (Photo by Willy Saw)

Soul Food was swimmer crab in a comfort curry inspired by the pancit palabok he enjoyed at Kafe Batwan, served with calamansi.

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“Soul food– Swimmer crab in comfort curry with coconut milk and Indian rice” (Photo by Willy Saw)

A dessert he christened Cross Cultures was a Gallery Vask dessert dish of fermented carabao yogurt, pili nuts praline, and dalandan mousse, to which he added his own touch of yuzu ice cream and spices.

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“Cross Cultures– Gallery Vask incredible dessert with yuzu sorbet and Gaggan spicing” (Photo by Willy Saw)

“That’s what Cross Cultures is about,” said Anand. “We brought nothing except for spices, and we got inspired with your local ingredients. We adapted and used only local produce. The dishes [we made in Manila] are all fantasies of our restaurant.”

The entire dinner was paired with champagnes, from Veuve Clicquot: Yellow Label Non-Vintage, Rose Non-Vintage, Vintage Blanc 2004 and Vintage Rose 2004. Guests were likewise offered endless refills of their choice of Acqua Panna Still Natural Mineral Water, or San Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water. It was also a welcome change for both chefs to be working together, as Chele is very calculated and methodological, and Gaggan is often spontaneous.

Instead of wine-pairing, the entire Gaggan in Manila dinner was paired with champagnes from Veuve Clicquot.
There were no wines served throughout the dinner, only champagne, specifically Veuve Clicquot. The Veuve Clicquot Vintage Blanc 2004, a delicate mesh of poached pear, chopped almond, biscuit and white raspberry flavors, was served alongside the ceviche. (Photo by Cheryl Tiu)
San Pellegrino- Gaggan in Manila- Photo by Our Awesome Planet
Guests also enjoyed endless refills of San Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water and Acqua Panna Still Natural Mineral Water throughout the evening. Btw, they are exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Werdernberg International Corp. — the guys behind Santis! (Photo by Anton Diaz/ Our Awesome Planet)
Gaggan in Manila crowd shot at Gallery Vask- Photo by Our Awesome Planet
Gaggan went to each of the tables to explain the different courses, the stories and the inspirations behind them (Photo by Anton Diaz/ Our Awesome Planet)
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Thai Airways’ Malu Duenas, Richard Tiu, Thai Airways GM Sern Chupikulchai, Don Cuaresma, Joel Silverstre (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Carlo Calma with Living Innovations GM Ferdie Ong and wife Michelle, who distribute Gaggenau in the Philippines (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Margarita Fores with son Amado (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Leslie Yap, Danna Coyuito, Monette Garcia and Clarisse Ong-Tiu (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Geraldine and Willy Ocier (Photo by Willy Saw)
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Charles Tiu, Gaggan Anand, Jerry Tiu, Cheryl Tiu, Carol and Hans Sy (Photo by Willy Saw)
Gaggan Anand, Cheryl Tiu, Chele Gonzalez
Yayyy, we did it! What an incredible honor to have worked so closely with these two <3 Gaggan (Gaggan) + Gallery Vask (Chele) = Cross Cultures (Cheryl) (Photo by Willy Saw)
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After dinner service… cheeeersssss!!! (Photo by Norman Lleses)
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Big big congratulations to the hardworking teams, chefs and service staff of Gallery Vask and Gaggan, you guys did an amazing job!!! (Photo by Willy Saw)

The event is in partnership with Gaggenau, Scavolini, Thai Airways, Breville, Veuve Clicquot, Discovery Primea, San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna (exclusively distributed in the Philippines by Werdenberg International Corp.) and their dedicated digital magazine, Finedininglovers.com. The Cross Cultures = Gaggan + Gallery Vask event is also part of the Fine Dining Lovers series of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants dinners happening around the region.

Next up… the next day’s brunch– click HERE. (For the previous day’s cooking demo at the Gaggenau Kitchen, click HERE).

For a thorough photogenic recap, with a 12-minute video of Gaggan and Chele explaining the dishes and what it looked like, check out Our Awesome Planet’s awesome post on his Gaggan experience in Manila :)