THE DYNAMISM of the hotel industry is always fascinating as the top management personalities constantly move on.
An invitation that simply said “Adieu” for an intimate lunch at Radisson Blu Cebu Hotel’s Sushisake with savvy French-American General Manager Laurent Boisdron kept a few of us writers wondering.
An accomplished hotelier with 22 years of world-class experience, Mr. Boisdron took the helm of Radisson Blu Cebu in April 2016, immediately after his post as Corporate Director of Operations for Owned & Managed Hotels in the Carlson Rezidor Worldwide Head Office in Minneapolis, USA, which includes the Radisson brand.
Cebu’s loss will certainly be Manila’s gain when he assumes the post of General Manager of Conrad Manila, the other international brand of SM Hotels & Convention Centers.
The Sushisake, which is inconspicuously tucked at the upper lobby of the hotel, was ideal for an intimate gathering. Area Sales & Marketing Director Ann Olalo joined our charming host, Mr. Laurent Boisdron.
I was in New York when this contemporary stylish restaurant was launched in July of 1017 that offers an impressive collection of premium sakes and the finest selection of sushi and sashimi, all delicately prepared in traditional Edomae (Tokyo Bay) style.
After hearing so much about it, I was delighted to be seated next to our host to finally enjoy the exquisite sushi creations of 31-year-old Sushi Specialty Chef Jefferson Yalung.
Sushi, a fish and vinegar combination invented by the Japanese, is actually an art and a highly specialized component of Japanese cuisine.
And a Sushi Chef requires years of on-the-job training and apprenticeship, a path that Sushisake’s Chef Jefferson Yalung has taken for the last 10 years.
He hails from Nueva Vizcaya where he and three other siblings were raised by their butcher/mother who had a meat shop. A technology graduate, his culinary career as Sushi Chef prevailed, which started with the Jumera Group in Dubai.
His sushi experience was honed in several international hotels including the Starwood Hotels’ Westin, W and St. Regis as Asst. Sushi Chef.
He joined Radisson Blu Cebu in March 2017 and has been creating the specialty menu of Sushitake that features his savory specialty rolls with the infusion of his rich signature sauces and marinades. He has over 50 sushi specialties. He loves to work with sweet and sour flavors.
Sushi condiments of soya, wasabi and pickled ginger were set beside our plates.
A dainty bowl of grouper ceviche perked up our appetites—fresh morsels of white fish in fresh orange, lime juice and Tabasco.
Chef Jeff’s latest hand-rolled creations were served on wooden sushi trays, which started with uramaki—rows of tuna tartare roll topped with minced raw tuna with chopped capers, jerkins, shallots and ebi maki with real crabmeat, shrimps, mango and asparagus.
Chef Jeff explained that uramaki is an American innovation, which was developed as a result of the California roll where rice is on the outside and a nori sheet inside and coated with ingredients like roe, poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Each roll is delicately made with the grains of rice barely sticking together, a skill that needs practice.
A dramatic wooden tray with Narita maki rolled with shrimp tempura and mango, topped with thin mango slices, unagi (eel) sauce and solid sake (salmon) Roll followed. Mr. Boisdron made sure that we enjoyed “Dynamite,” one of the signature creations of Chef Jeff that explodes in one’s mouth with intense flavors of salmon, grouper and tuna.
This roll is floured, coated with tempura batter, deep-fried and served warm.
Adieu, Mr. Laurent Boisdron … Au Revoir!