The Cebu Chapter of La Chaine des Rotisseurs held a two-day “grand chapitre” presided by Honorary Consul of France Michel Lhuillier, Bailli Delegue for the Philippines, and his wife Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, Baile de Cebu.
Here for the occasion was Bailli de Manille Federico Borromeo with his pretty wife Josephine. They attended the two grand events along with out-of-town visitors Michael Mar Fan, Rebecca Tamayo, August and Marilou Meierchofer, Eric and Devie Huyer.
First night was an al fresco event held at the scenic Lhuillier home in Maria Luisa Park. Aside from Michel and Amparito, welcoming all were members of the board of directors Teresin Mendezona, Vivina Yrastorza, Nestor Alonso, Al Evangelio and Winglip Chang.
The focus was on Cebuano cuisine brought to the fore by Café Laguna. At the carving station, one juicy lechon after another drew a constant crowd. The temptation to “kusi” a piece of crackling skin was great, and some did surreptitiously give in. Luscious rock lobsters were being grilled and there was a queue for them.
A favorite was the puff pastry stuffed with chopped casuy and shredded taro leaves, just a wee bit spicy. Rating superlatives was the white cheese on longaniza patties. Perfect with the effervescent Champagne Lhuillier Brut.
Next evening, it was at the ballroom of the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa for the 20th anniversary celebration and annual induction rites. Michel and Federico held the golden swords for the dubbing, while Amparito slipped on the satin ribbons with the symbolic chain.
Winglip Chang was inducted as Chancellier Culinaire while Richard Uysiuseng was made “Pair la Chaine.” Raised to the rank of officers were Michael Lhuillier, Miranda Konstantinidou and Louis Thevenin, director of Alliance Française de Cebu.
New members inducted were hoteliers June Alegrado of Maribago Bluewater and Stephan Wieprich of the Marco Polo Plaza, and restaurateur Marybeth Chan of Marc and Mattheu Catering.
Also welcomed into the fold were “Dames de la Chaine” Ma. Karina Escaño, Aida Patana Managuil, Cora Schweimler and Belinda Wong; Ramoncito Santos and Arten Zarei.
Amparito had special awards for the three girls who for over 20 years have been her invaluable staff. They splendidly coordinate the “Chaine” events. Given gifts of jewelry were Elmera Abellanosa, Vic-Vic Alquiza and Anita Rellon.
Acknowledgment for their writing prowess prompted Amparito to call onstage columnists Nestor Alonso and Honey Jarque Loop. They got excellent vintage wines from Michel’s cellar.
Greeting the hundred guests who attended were Shangri-La Mactan general manager Jurgen Doerr and wife Yasmin, as well as food and beverage director Jurgen van Weerkum. Executive chef Joris Rycken was behind the scenes concocting the stupendous menu.
It had been ordained that the dishes would be condimented with locally produced ingredients. Thus, there were slabs of tuna from General Santos City, an oxtail soup that had simmered for six hours, and an “agnalotti” of water spinach (kangkong) and carabao cheese.
The sorbet was a “granitee” of calamansi and coconut with a halo-halo twist. Everyone raved about the entrée—super tender medallions of ostrich farmed in Cagayan de Oro. Dessert was a tart of native chocolate and mango, with a scoop of passion sherbet.
The mise-en-scène was dazzling. The Swarovski chandeliers in the ballroom are a given. Tables were draped with organza, glistening with crystal lampshades and vases filled with white lilies, and sparkling with fine china.
Best of all, a young pianist who goes by the name of “Beethoven” sat in the midst of the area tinkling beautiful music all night long on a baby grand. That really set the mood for the wonderful evening.
Seated with Michel and Amparito were their son Michael, Jurgen and Yasmin Doerr, Winglip Chang, Louis Thevenin, Rebecca Tamayo, Michael Mar Fan, August and Marilou Meierhofer, Glenn and Honey Loop, Eric and Devie Huyer, Christina and Bruce Winton (GM of the Marriott), Bo and Hans Hauri (GM of the Marco Polo), and Dottie Cronin (GM of Alegre Beach).
Teresin Mendezona and Vivina Yrastorza presided over a table that shone with glamour. In it were Marguerite Lhuillier, Angie Mathieu, Rosebud Sala, Marissa Fernan, Elvira Luym, Mariquita Yeung. Dough and Annie Mahrt with her daughter Alice Woolbright.
More: Iris Arcenas, June Alegrado, Belinda Wong, Cora Schweimler, Juergen and Sandra Pesch, Gregg and Agnes Heuttel, Maritess Lampert and Sarah Quitevis.
At Al Evangelio’s table were Rosemary Dakay with her children Benson Jr., Pierre, Meme and Rere; Stella Bernabe, Mariter Klepp, Virginie and Christophe Calligaro, Lisa and Allan Mill Irving, Bayani Atup, Stephan and Jocelyn Wieprich, Karina Escaño, Miranda Konstantinidou, Marybeth Chan, Evan Charles Basa, Gerry Montanus, Pamela Manuel, Jay Bopp, Theo Pasidis and Mons Santos.
The repartee was most interesting at the table presided by Dr. Nestor Alonso, a most erudite veterinarian. His wife, Joji Alonso, sat beside him. At their table were Victoria Hermosisima, David Paulson, Massimo La Magna, Carlo Cordaro, John and Anna Liza Martel;
Leo and Annalyn Tacke, Patrick Pangilinan, Abby Galano, William Mayo, Dalisay Painaga, Jerec Raval, Marie Elene Gabaya, Richard Uysiuseng, Ben and Anna Dimaano, Jennie Aclan, Ian Dale Tan, Aida Manaquil, and Artein Zarei.
La Chaine in Cebu is gearing for another event set for May 31, at the Ibiza beachfront of the Movenpick Resort in Mactan. “It’s an all-white party,” says Amparito who is mapping other events for the rest of the year.