The rockin ’60s provided theme and inspiration to the latest fellowship happening of Cebu’s La Chaine des Rotisseurs. It was held at the grand ballroom of the Marriott Hotel whose foyer was streaked with psychedelic doodles in all colors.
The flower people came in droves, attired as expected. All were welcomed by the hotel’s general manager, Bruce Winton, and his pretty wife, Christina.
Farther down the red carpet was Michel Lhuillier, La Chaine’s Baili Delegue for the Philippines, in shimmering white satin, a dead ringer for Elvis Presley.
And who was the 17-year-old cutie whirling about in voluminous gold tissue? Looked like Natalie Wood but it was actually Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, Baili of La Chaine for Cebu. She was bustling about with her usual charm and energy.
Amparito presided over the brief pre-dinner program along with Michel and other members of the board—Teresin Mendezona, Dr. Nestor Alonso, Luke Gagnon and Dave Sharpe. It was announced that Hans Hauri and Michael Hennessy had been raised in rank, from “chevaliers” to “officers.” Welcomed into the organization were new members Gabby Leyson and Leo Tacke.
More splashes of color greeted the guests as they filed into the ballroom. A vintage Corbett sports car dominated the scene, and provided photo-ops for slinky sirens and their escorts. Someone wanted to rev it up but thought twice and desisted.
The dinner was fabulous and most impeccably served. Every dish was a game of flavors, contrasting ingredients, and most imaginative presentation. All to the credit of Brendan Mahoney, the Marriott’s new executive chef as well as food and beverage director. His name may sound Irish but he’s American, to the marrow.
A-go-go dancers in striking costumes and exuding powerful kinetic force provided entertainment numbers between courses. Best applause came from the table occupied by Michel and Amparito, Bruce and Christina, Gabby Leyson and Tina Jordana, Cora Schweimler, Nora Sol and Fannie Guanzon, who played musical chairs with Hans Eulenhofer.
After desserts and recognition of the kitchen brigade, the dance music played. Michel took Amparito for a whirling boogie, and their graceful swaying made it all seem out of Hollywood MGM musical. In no time, the dance floor was filled, and that went on till past midnight.
A week later Michel and Amparito left for Paris and other parts of France to attend La Chaine events in the international level. One of them is a gala at the fabulous Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo with the attendance of His Serene Highness, the reigning Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Cebu’s iconic lifestyle writers honored
Some nights later we had another opportunity to rave over chef Brendan Mahoney’s innovative dishes at the Marriott’s Garden Cafe. It was a collective birthday bash hosted by GM Bruce Winton, assisted by PR manager Charlene Go and marketing/sales director Dominic Dorol.
Honorees were Cebu’s iconic lifestyle writers: March birthday girls Mayen Tan and Nelia Neri; Chinggay Utzurrum, Joe Recio and Flor Ynclino for June; Mila Espina and Cookie Newman for July; and Honey Loop for August. Everyone was requested to wear hats, and all complied.
Mr. Winton, wearing a white chef’s toque, thanked all for their support and said some judges, hidden among the drapes or woodwork, had chosen the best three hatted gals:
Nelia with her original by Janice Minor, who has opened a gallery of her products in the Banilad Road; Honey with a wide-brimmed number adorned by peacock feathers; and Mayen, whose clip-on could well have come from the Duchess of Cambridge’s milliner.
The Cebu City Marriott Hotel is adjacent to the Ayala Center complex. A new bridge and pathway has made the hotel even more accessible, specially to The Terraces, crowning glory of the Ayala Mall. Also, there is a new and safer parking area for the hotel’s clients.