CULTURAL POTPOURRI| Dining at Seda Abreeza’s Misto with Chef Danny Gallardo

THE SMOOTH, swift ascent from the basement parking to the ground floor brings you to Seda Abreeza’s Misto, where a week-long feast featuring a wide-ranging menu of Japanese cuisine is being offered from May 25-30, 2015. What makes this Japanese food fest special is that Seda Nuvali’s celebrated Exec. Sous Chef Danilo “Danny” de los Reyes Gallardo is in Davao City for the first time to personally showcase his culinary skills.

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     Misto’s serene, sleek and polished interior seems to follow the Japanese’s concept of void which is essential to life. Misto looks like a place always ready for new culinary events to take place in a particular way thus enticing diners, both local and alien. Misto is truly Seda Abreeza’s domain for culinary opportunities and this time, it goes Japanese.

     These reflect what Exec. Sous Chef Danilo Gallardo has hoped for in the restaurant in featuring his modern interpretation of Japanese comfort food. The good chef is truly inspired by the array of cultural influences he has been exposed to in his extensive experience in multinational hotels and restaurants in Japan, Saipan, Dubai, Ukraine and India. The humble chef admits that he also seeks to respond to the Filipino taste with the adjustment in Japanese flavour profiles that tickle the local palate.

     “In my 26 years in the business, I never stopped myself from learning new things related to food and cooking techniques. I always look for voids to fill to challenge me and to inspire me with simple possibilities. I cook for my dining patrons. My mission as a chef is to simply satisfy their culinary cravings and wants. I put my heart into every dish that I prepare. When you work from the heart, it will reflect on the finished product. You have to give your best at all times,” revealed the good chef.

     “My first experience with Japanese cuisine was at the Japanese restaurant called Furusato located along Roxas Boulevard. I was always surrounded by strict and professional Japanese chefs when I was working there. They stirred my interest in the world of Japanese food while serving as my rigid mentors who do not accept any excuses for mistakes. Looking back, I cannot thank them enough for what I’ve learned first-hand from them,” recounted the now well-travelled yet still humble chef. It was fun recalling with the chef things Japanese from the Filipino view of someone who lived in Japan; and not just travelled there as a mere tourist for a brief period of time and suddenly transform into a Mr. Know It All.

     “A dining experience should be fun and informative,” said the good chef as he taught his dining patrons last May 26 how to prepare sushi and California maki plus my favourite ebi tempura. Just as the Japanese would want it, ebi tempura is best eaten right after it is deep fried when it is so yummy delicious, crunchy and hot. Just as inviting are Chef Danny’s offerings of maguro teriyaki (grilled lean tuna glazed with teriyaki sauce), sake misoyaki (miso-marinated grilled salmon with ponzu sauce), katsudon (the popular deep-fried pork cutlet with special sauce), sukiyaki (thinly sliced beef and vegetables in a special broth), buta-no-shogayaki (braised pork), mapo tofu (minced pork with tofu in a sweet chilli bean paste), mixed tempura, sushi, among many other Japanese delights. Chef Danny’s luscious Japanese offerings are carefully planned and made with top notch, quality ingredients. They’re lip-smacking Japanese comfort food which reminded me well of my good, old days in Tokyo in the 1980’s as a starving student.

     The scene stealers in the dessert selection include the green tea custard, mochi with mongo bean paste, mizu yokan (jelly dessert made with red bean paste and sugar) and the kakigori of shaved ice flavoured with sweeteners. The kakigori is the simple Japanese refreshment which inspired the creation of our delicious halo-halo before WW II with the Japanese presence in the Philippines.

     Do catch the Japanese food fest with Chef Danilo de los Reyes Gallardo in Seda Abreeza’s Misto. Next month’s Misto showcase will be the Spanish food fest with Seda BGC’s Exec. Chef Romualdo Castillo.

     Thank you, Seda Abreeza Hotel GM Kennedy V. Kapulong, chef Danilo de los Reyes Gallardo, chef Giovanna Flores, F & B Manager Ronald Labtang and Communications Officer Faith Marie Dimaano for a wonderful evening at Misto.

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