Saturday, October 17, 2009

Alpha toques

"Alpha Toques"
Sun.Star Davao, Oct. 17, 2009

They call themselves, the “Alpha Toques”.

Does the catchy name conjure images of toque-wearing super hero chefs out to conquer the culinary universe? Well, close enough.

The Alpha Toques is, in fact, the first batch of graduates from the Center for Asian Culinary Studies Davao’s Intensive Professional Culinary Arts Program.

Through ‘thin and thick’ (who wouldn’t gain extra pounds tasting all that sinful food?!); cuts and burns experienced for several months, the students learned how to prepare soups, sauces, vegetables, entrees, breads, pastries and desserts. They also learned how to identify, fabricate and portion meat, poultry, fish and shellfish and were taught introductory skills on Asian and Halal cooking, wine appreciation, table service and back of the house operations.

The Intensive Culinary Arts Program prepares students for professional entry into the food service industry. This program integrates classical and modern culinary techniques of the finest institutions abroad with kitchen management skills. It is a hands-on training series for students to gain professional skills needed to perform in a commercial kitchen.

Recently, as part of their culmination program, family and friends gathered to sample the sumptuous creations of batch Alpha Toques at the Linmarr Davao.

When I arrived at the venue, I was pleased to know that I was going to sit with Chefs Paddy Lascano and Booboo Maramaba, who are also CACS instructors. This was the third Legacy Buffet that I’ve attended with the two esteemed chefs as my tablemates.

As we waited for the program to start, we munched on the Artisan Crackers with Borsan Dip so artistically arranged as centerpiece with multi-hued colors and varying lengths.
We were later joined by Edge’s lifestyle editor Kenneth Ong, Marco Polo Sales and Marketing Director Art Boncato and CACS Davao owners Bubuy and Gene Bangayan.
For appetizers, the Alpha Toques served lip-smacking Caesar’s Salad, Kani Salad, Thai Pomelo with Dried Shrimps, Grape Salad, California Maki, Futo Maki, Kempyo Maki, Tuna Sashimi, Salmon Sashimi and Spicy Tuna Gunken.
The Mixed Seafood Soup was truly comforting and a great way to begin the meal before proceeding with the impressive main dishes such as Lapu Lapu el Graten, Lengua con Cetas, Menudo Sulipena, Paella Majorcana, Prawns Thermidore, Vegetable Casserole, Potato Dauphinoise, Roast Rib-Eye, Roast Leg of Lamb, Roast Turkey with Red Wine Sauce, Peppercorn Sauce and Giblet Gravy.

Although I’m really a certified noodle lover, I had to pass up on the pasta station which showcased Fettucine, Penne and Spaghetti with Seafood, Garlic and Basil Sauce, Carbonara and Puttanesca because I wanted to leave room for the heavenly desserts.

And, fortunately, the dessert station did not disappoint! The Durian Butterscotch Ripple Ice Cream was to die for. It was so rich and creamy that my fellow guests felt we were actually eating the real ‘king of fruits’. The Cherry Garcia Ice Cream was equally yummy and decadent with its generous chunks of rich chocolate.

Chefs Paddy and Booboo reminded me that I should not miss the Fruit Tartlets and the Turtle Pie, and they were absolutely right! I also enjoyed the other diet busters like the Amaretto Sans Rival, Blueberry Cheesecake, Tiramisu, Croquembouche Noel, Mousse and Crepes with Mango and Banana.

Kudos to the Alpha Toques headed by Executive Chef Sheila Mabao with sous chefs Gerome Garcia (hot station), Michael Sunglao (cold station) and Martin Lozano (pastry station) for a job well done!

Other Alpha Toques graduates include the following: Hot Station-Ralphy Licudan, Darwin Lao, John Carlo Camarinta, Ryan Tam and Pedro Paolo Angeles; Cold Station-Ruby Ann Periquet, Leticia Quijano and Lynnibel Chan; and Pastry Station-Asmaa Hashmin, Ma. Kristina Collantes, Nikki Alde and Darvin Bais.

Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS) Davao is at Holiday Gym and Spa Complex, F. Torres St., DC/Tel. 3002992. Website: E-mail:

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