The Cebu chapter of La Chaine des Rotisseurs went Brazilian during its latest fellowship shindig held at scenic Plantation Bay resort in Marigondon, Mactan Island. It was one of the most colorful events of the season, not to mention lively and fun-filled.
At the forefront of it all were Michel and Amparito Lhuillier. As we all know, Michel heads La Chaine in the Philippines, and Amparito reigns over the Cebu social life. It’s a partnership they enjoy to the hilt, and all events they plan are sell outs.
The scenery was perfect; the gastronomy to rave about; and the show, fabulous! Samba sounds reverberated, and lovely Cariocas swayed, supple bodies glowing in the floodlights. However did they flail those belly buttons?
Best of all, anyone could join the fun, with Michel and Amparito leading the flock. Plantation Bay’s general manager Efren Belarmino was beaming with pride, collecting due praise. So did the kitchen brigade that was asked to take a bow and receive certificates of appreciation.
Manny Cuenco Gonzalez, the man who planned Plantation Bay as a goodly piece of paradise, was in Cebu those days. As a matter of fact, in Plantation Bay itself, but he did not join in the revelry. He was behind the scenes making sure everything was tip-top.
Anyone can enjoy a Brazilian night at Plantation Bay, every Saturday evening. There is a whole program of themed nights, with matching gastronomy, during the whole week. On Mondays, it is Rockin’ USA; Tuesdays, Hawaiian; Wednesday, Filipino Fiesta; and Fridays, Sahara right out of the 1001 Arabian Nights. Performers are all part of the resort’s staff.
La Chaine in Cebu is planning another fellowship, this time at the Gustavian restaurant in Banilad, on Oct. 25, for which reservations have started to pour in. Then comes the anniversary gala scheduled for Dec. 26 at the grand ballroom of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel.
There is a new general manager at the Waterfront, Alfred Portenschlanger. He met Cebu media over lunch at the hotel’s Italian outlet, La Gondola. It was also an occasion to meet the new food/beverage director Alastair Granger who introduced the new menu at La Gondola.
Acqua, the Italian restaurant at the Shangri-La’s Resort in Mactan, also has a new menu, introduced to Cebu’s lifestyle icons one lovely evening. General manager Joachim Schutte was there to welcome all, along with resident manager Walid Wasik.
Mildred Amon, the charming communications director, had some announcements to make, more like new faces to introduce. Here was Marco Ghezzi, the Italian chef at Acqua who prepared a degustation menu that rated superlatives.
There were three appetizers, three groups, and three pasta dishes, all bite-size and delicious, a juicy rack of lamb for entree, a seared filet of tuna with pistachios, and almond flavored Tiramisu doused with Amaretto.
Jorys Rycken, the new executive chef, sat with us and heard all the appreciative rambling. Agnes Caparas Pacis, the new director for sales and marketing, charmed everyone with her sparkling personality.
Cassandra Cuevas was introduced as the new assistant communications manager. Her predecessor, Rica Rellon, is now on the F/B department as restaurants marketing manager. There is also a new director for food and beverage, Mirko Cattini.
Among those present were Bobit and Jessica Avila, Nestor Alonso with daughter Abigail, Nelia Neri, Chinggay Utzurrum, Flor Ynclino and Cookie Newman.
Jorys Rycken told everyone that aside from the fine Italian food at Acqua, the Shangri-La in Mactan offers varied cuisine, like the fabulous seafood at the Cowrie Cove, and sophisticated Chinese dishes at Tea of Spring. Then, there’s the fabulous buffet at Tides for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Going back to where we started— La Chaine des Rotisseurs—the annual induction gala come March 2012 will be at the Shangri-La in Mactan. Membership is at its highest. Some who have been in the organization for years, like Marissa Fernan and Elvira Luym, have been raised to the rank of “officer.”