The Cebu Chapter of La Chaine des Rotisseurs marked its 18th anniversary with a grand gala held at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. Presiding were Honorary Consul of France Michel Lhuillier, who heads La Chaine in the Philippines, and his wife Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, head of the Cebu chapter.
Present at this occasion were Josephine and Federico Borromeo, he being the head of La Chaine in Manila. “We are more than 100 tonight,” said Amparito, who was in red silk and wore a magnificent necklace of diamonds.
Greeting the guests along with Michel and Amparito were the Marco Polo’s general manager Hans Hauri with his pretty wife Bo, resident manager Julie Najar, marketing and communications director Lara Constantino Scarrow, and Stephen Wieprich, the food/beverage director.
A large elegant crowd gathered at the hall adjacent to the ballroom for predinner drinks and delicious canapés. Getting birthday greetings was Angie L. Mathieu, perhaps the most kissed lady that evening.
“I couldn’t miss this,” said her sister Marguerite Lhuillier, who had arrived in Cebu just a couple of hours earlier. Margie had joined the trade mission of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to Brazil, Chile and Argentina.
In the entourage were members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by its president, Samuel Chioson.
La Chaine’s top officers in Cebu were very much in evidence on this occasion: Teresin Mendezona in sparkling black gossamer, Dr. Nestor Alonso with his wife Joji, Dr. Vivina Chiu Yrastorza, Claude Al Evangelio and Dave Sharpe.
Behind the scenes on this occasion was Luke Gagnon, executive chef at the Marco Polo, who prepared a fabulous menu.
Michel Lhuillier Chardonnay 2010 from France accompanied the sweetbread of lobster and sea bass dry shot. Apple Martini, “shaken not stirred,” served as the sherbet, prelude to a fabulous entrée.
This was crusted veal tenderloin, matched by an excellent wine—Cellier des Princess, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2008. A cheese dish came next and then the desserts, to the credit of chef Ryan Zimmer.
As dinner progressed, a lavishly mounted musical play unfolded according to the plot of “The Clockwork Princess,” directed by Alex Uypuanco. Rhina Senining Echivarre played the title role, with Gabriel Gomez as the tinkerer and Yemma Senining Judilla and Graeme Elmido as the queen and king.
The story was by Jessica McYorker, Pamela Therese Estalilla and Vincent Gaton who did the choreography. In the company were Leomor Hermosilla, Jeo Librando, Cattski Espina (musical direction), Jay Young and Paul Canada (musical arrangement and electronics), Justin Alfafara (sound engineering), Peewee Senining (wardrobe) and Zoroaster Villahermosa (light design).
Cebu’s top hotels were well-represented on this occasion: Manny Gonzalez and Efren Belarmino from Plantation Bay; Bruce Winton wearing a Scottish kilt and wife Christina, from the Marriott; and Joachim Schutte and wife Christina, from the Mactan Shangri-La where the next Chaine event in Cebu will be held, a formal induction gala on March 14.
Among those present were Rep. Eddie Gullas with lovely wife Norma Selma Gullas; Alliance Francaise de Cebu director Louis Thevenin with his wife Honeylet; Iris Arcenas and daughter Mia, who designs all those airy silk caftans; The Wine Shop’s Gabriel Palmer; and fashion plates Rosebud Sala and Annabelle Luym.
Also present were Rafaelita Pelaez, president of Liceo de Cagayan University; Deidre Fischer, superintendent of the Cebu International School; Honorary Consul of Sweden Jose Sala and wife Susan; Honey Jarque Loop, Greg and Agnes Heuttel, Gunther and Sandra Pesch; and Jessica Avila, the Marco Polo’s consultant for Cebuano cuisine. She has prepared the food fest to celebrate Cebu’s Sinulog in mid-January.
More: Mila Espina who sat beside Martin Klieger of the Union Bank of Switzerland Hong Kong; Elvira Luym and Marissa Fernan; chef Massimo Lamagna, Hans Eullenhofer, Stella Bernabe, Mike and Rose Hennessy, Detlef and May Ernst with Alice Plaza; Hartwig Scholz and Maria Catral from the Badian Island Resort in southwest Cebu.
It was midnight and the fun was just about to start. Dance music played, Michel took Amparito for a spin, and that got everyone hopping until 2 a.m.