DINING at ICAAC’s Training Restaurant is always gastronomy at its best. A showcasing of the culinary students under the close supervision of Dean/Chef Lecturer Jeremy Young and Chef/Instructor Justin Mechill, one can always expect culinary creations at its finest. Here, students experience cooking for themselves as well as guests. The Culminating dinners of graduating students are always the most awaited occasion that will put into totality their knowledge and skills both in food preparation and restaurant service.
Int’l. Culinary Arts Academy of Cebu (ICAAC) was established by Dean/Chef Jeremy Young in 2002. The first of its kind in Cebu, Chef Jeremy saw the need for a professional culinary institution upon his return to Cebu armed with Diplomas in Hotel Management from Les Roches, Switzerland and Culinary Arts from Cordon Bleu in Paris plus a wealth of work experience from Europe and USA. His decision to open a culinary academy has opened the doors to many aspiring chefs in the Vis-Min area, cutting the high cost of enrolling abroad in culinary schools. ICAAC is currently the only culinary educational institution in the country that offers internationally recognized vocational qualifications from the International City & Guilds of London Institute in the UK.
Dean/Chef Jeremy’s invitation for a casual dinner at the training restaurant a few weeks ago featured the skills of first year culinary students enrolled in Two-Year Culinary Arts Chefs Programme. Such dinners are always full of delicious surprises. Chef Justin Mechill, the tall good-looking Chef/Instructor from California stands out in the kitchen as he supervises the students behind the pots and pans. An accomplished chef who has an Associate degree in Hospitality Studies from California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Chef Justin is married to a Filipina with three children. He joined ICAAC in 2006 and has been sharing his culinary passion and expertise.
For openers, we had a choice of either Cold or Hot appetizers. My husband Ed and I had the Salad of Watermelon and Citrus—a healthy plate of watermelon, oranges, calamansi jelly, toasted pistachio, chia seeds, dainty micro greens tossed in white balsamic vinegar and syrup with a hint of
cardamom, aromatic seeds belonging to the ginger family. Chia seeds are rich in omega fatty acids. I soak a tablespoon of these in milk overnight and I have a healthy gelatinous treat for breakfast. Joining our table were the two young Logarta sisters, graduates of ICAAC fresh from a year’s OJT in a Marriott Convention hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. The young diners had Truffled Mac n Cheese—a sophisticated take on this kids’ favorite dish using Casareccia (home-style pasta typical in Southern Italy) with shimeji mushroom, bacon, black truffle in Mornay Sauce or Bechamel with Gruyere cheese. My main course “Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass in Light Dashi Broth” was a sight to behold as it was refreshingly delicious. Asian Sea Bass or Barramudi is locally known as “Apahap.” The fleshy chunk of sea bass was glazed in sweetish miso balanced on a bed of braised pechay, enoki mushrooms, tofu, edamame and topped with crispy nori or seaweed flavored togarishi (peppery Japanese condiment) in umami rich Dashi Broth. Ed chose to have the hearty Roast Duck Magret de Canard with Foe Gras in Agro-Dulce and Potato-bone marrow foam.
Dessert was delightfully scrumptious: Birds’ Nest with pistachio mousse, cheesecake on a bed of chocolate shreds with strawberry sauce and Black Forest Trifle with layers of chocolate cake and Chantilly cream. Delicieux!