The Menu: What the Country’s Best Chefs Served at the MEGA Ball 2024

The Menu: What the Country’s Best Chefs Served at the MEGA Ball 2024


This year, the MEGA Ball refined our tastes in the realms of fashion and food with a seven-course meal that served Filipino pride into the plates of the guests

Fashioning culture has sustenance to thank for a sensory experience of a country’s history and identity. A recipe—one that unifies ingredients from the land and the sea in one plate—is the key to knowing a place. At the MEGA Ball 2024, the gastronomical experience does that through the hands of this year’s Pinoy Pride Awardees

RELATED: MEGA Ball 2024: See What Happens When the Worlds of Fashion, Food, Art, and More Collide

The Pinoy Pride Awardees with MEGA Head of Publishing and Marketing Janine Recto, Editor-in-Chief Peewee Reyes-Isidro, and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Galicia

Like the careful curation of ingredients for a speciality, MEGA Ball 2024 Co-Chair Ana Lorenzana de Ocampo assembled eight culinary powerhouses whose expertise has gone beyond the four walls of the kitchen and to the plates of those they serve. That night, the esteemed guests savored the artistry of the Pinoy Pride awardees in a seven-course meal they prepared.

Starter and Aperitif

Awakening the guests’ senses, Chef Walter Manzke prepared a starter for the attendees’ palates—the Pandan at Tinapay, a combination of milk bread and avocado pandan peanut butter. Meanwhile, bar consultant Lee Watson concocted an aperitif called Terno, which was a mix of avocado, gin, lime, and pandan, heightened by the garnish of siling labuyo and calamansi. 

First Course

Chef Chele Gonzalez and Chef Walter Manzke presented the Pintos for the first course—a coconut, corn, and banana panna cotta with Kaluga caviar, blue swimmer crab, and aligue. The sea flavors are an expedition of sorts likened to Gonzalez’s personal travels from Spain to the Philippines, as how the Europeans once crossed the Philippines seas in the 16th century. 

Second Course

Going with the tides of the sea-inspired first course, Chefs Margarita Fores and Miko Callo continued with the Ulang at Tingib—an assemblage of the Bulacan river prawn, tinapa sauce matelote, Negrense rice and corn polenta, Castelmagno cheese, and Philippine Fish Maw. The European twist to the second course echoes not only the chefs who had been under the tutelage of Italian and French instruction, but also MEGA’s theme for the month—the Local Global issue. 

Third Course

Although recipes can retain their original taste from one generation to the next, they are not exempt from the passage of time. Such was the case of the country’s viand, Adobong Itik sa Gata—as reinvented by Chef Stephan Duhesme and Chef Josh Boutwood. The dish was made with a dry aged duck, caramelized coconut milk sauce, Szechuan sesame crunch, fermented root vegetable paste, and duck fat cauliflower purée. 

Palate Cleanser

Before the culmination of the feast, Chef Joris Rycken married the refreshing sour flavors of guava and calamansi into a cool sherbet form, offering a clean slate for the guests before the final gush of flavors. 

Fourth Course

This time around, Rycken reinvents yet another Filipino dish familiar to home—Kalderetang Buntot ng Baka. The tender braised beef oxtail served with rich savory sauce, garnished with carrots, string beans, and bell peppers was the perfect viand to cap the main course, a true Filipino flavor that tastes of Pinoy pride. 

Dessert and Digestif

Chef Margie Manzke and Lee Watson offered a sweet culmination to the night with Mangga at Tsokolate, a dessert made with mango, toasted rice, white chocolate cremeux, and coconut. A prelude to the after-party that follows suit to the main event, the digestif called the Barong is an alcoholic beverage with hints of mango and chocolate concocted to a drink. 

This year’s celebration of Pinoy Pride came in the form of plates and flavors that capture local ingredients elevated to international standards. Just like fashion, trends in flavors may come and go—but craftsmanship involved in both disciplines will never go out of style. This is a fact that the MEGA Ball 2024, indeed, inculcates to its attendees. 

Photographed by ED SIMON and KIM SANTOS of KLIQ INC.


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