CEBU’S culinary aficionados experienced a delightful start to the New Year with an exclusive six-course tasting menu, courtesy of Okada Manila, which made the gathering possible at Anzani Prime in Cebu City last Jan. 10.
Called a Taste of Okada, the one-time event presented a special menu created by Michelin-starred Chef Hirofumi Imamura of Japanese Kappou Imamura, an upscale contemporary Japanese restaurant that’s set to open at Okada Manila, the country’s new iconic integrated resort. Okada Club’s Executive Chef Dicky Suen whetted the select guests’ appetite with his signature hors d’oeuvres.
Chef Imamura’s menu featured Flash Smoked Seasonal Fish Salad, Sake Simmered Live Lobster in Thick Winter Sauce, Yaki-Nituke Style Charcoal Grilled Kinki Fish, Stewed Japanese Wagyu Beef and Yuba Soy Skin, Truffle Rice and Miso Soup, and Yuzu Gianduja with Bitter Chocolate Mousse Mango Sorbet paired with premium wines.
With over 20 years experience in culinary management, Chef Imamura prepares his world-class Japanese dishes with passion, skill and precision, qualities that will define Kappou Imamura, one of the integrated resort’s 21 restaurants. But while his eponymous restaurant is designed with modern epicurians in mind, Chef Imamura is one who honors tradition and values authenticity.
True enough, the affable chef revealed he fervently practices the “Philosphy of Five,” his guiding principle in engaging guests in an artful and gastronomic experience. “The Philosophy of Five is a traditional Japanese culinary tradition using the five senses, five colors, five tastes, five ways, and five attitudes,” Chef Imamura explained in an interview after the event.
So deeply ingrained is his sense of tradition and home that when asked what his favorite Filipino dish was, Chef Imamura instantaneously said, “Chicken adobo. Because the way it’s prepared and tastes remind me of a similar Japanese dish my mother cooked.”
Before transferring to Manila, Chef Imamura stood at the helm of the Michelin-starred Kazuo Okada restaurant in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Earlier, he became a certified Sake Sommelier in 2014 and earned his license in Fugu (Pufferfish) Preparation at Fukuoka, Japan in 2001.
From an apprentice in Fukuoka in 1997, to sharing his gastronomic talent in the kitchens of world-renowned fine dining restaurants in Tokyo, Macau, Las Vegas, New York, and Hong Kong, Chef Imamura has come a long way indeed. And Cebu is honored to have hosted such a fine chef. (Text and Photos/Noel S. Villaflor)
For more info, Okada Manila can be reached at +6328807555. Check out their website at www.okadamanila.com, or follow Okada Manila on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.