Cooking 101 at Spiral, Sofitel Manila

A few weeks ago, I got a special invitation by Sofitel Manila to join a cooking class they hosted together with Chef Toni Rossetti. The Italian Chef was flown to the Philippines by Sofitel for us Filipinos to experience and taste his delicious cooking. Chef Toni is also the person behind Noti, one of Singapore’s finest resto-bars that serves authentic Italian cuisine. They’re also granted one of the Certificate of Excellence Awards for 2015 by Trip Advisor. Congrats, Noti!

Together with his team, the rich and hearty flavors from the South of Italy were transported directly to our plates and palettes. I couldn’t be happier! For one, I am a huge fan of noodles, and I could only expect the best pasta preparation to be taught and presented to us that afternoon.

At first, I was hesitant to join the class when I received the invite since I have zero background when it comes to cooking. I’m simply a better eater… let’s just leave it at that. However, I couldn’t let pass an opportunity that my 1st ever crash course into cooking would be under the mentorship of one of the industry’s most prestigious chefs! Also, I’ve watched too many episodes of Master Chef and I’ve always admired how dishes are created from just ingredients and then plated into gastronomic masterpieces. So here is my transformation story (Wow, I’m making this sound so dramatic!) into a chef-in-training!

It was held at one of the cooking counters at Spiral Manila… and needless to say, their kitchen is lovely!! (Insert heart-eyed emojis!) The interiors just put me right into the mood of learning… and taking photos. Haha

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The class wasn’t as constructive and technical as I expected. Thank goodness! It was definitely a good environment to be in, especially when you’re starting to learn how to cook from scratch. First of all, Chef Toni was just so light and comfortable in the kitchen! You can see that he’s definitely in his element. It seemed as if he was a good friend just casually sharing some tips and tricks behind his signature recipes.

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Chef Gino with Chef Toni, doing their thing!

This appetizer platter consisted of some Bruschetta, deep fried Risotto Balls with fresh Mozzarella and spicy Pepperonata Sauce, Calamari Fritti, Parma slices, and 25-day Old Smoked Mozzarella wrapped in grilled Parma ham with balsamic reduction. This platter is INTENSE!
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With my one and only classmate for the day, Cat!

This twisted flat pasta is called Sagne, and apparently it the word doesn’t really mean anything. The taste and texture of the pasta though, made a lot of sense! First of all, it was so fun to eat with the slurping of the twisted noodles that just unravels in your mouth. The dish was served with mixed ragout. I’m already craving for this again as I type… 
This pasta is called the orecchiette! According to Chef, it means “ear” since its shaped to look like ears! To achieve the shape, you can either just use your thumb, a utensil, or a machine. All the ingredients used in the class were flown from Italy, so we were guaranteed authenticity and freshness… exactly what the cuisine is all about!
Tadaaa! It was so chewy, and I just love its firm texture. This Orechiette with Shiitake Mushrooms and Saugages just won my heart!
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Ratatouille vibes!

Eventually, the day turned out to be more of a glorious tasting session rather than a cooking class because we ended up just too excited to take photos, take down notes, and of course… EAT! Nonetheless, it was a good first look inside a professional kitchen, and an even greater first-hand experience just even trying to embrace the beautiful art of cooking. We got to bring home some of Chef Toni’s other signature recipes just in case we feel the urge to try our knack in the kitchen again.
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What? I didn’t expect to be receiving this! Haha

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Chef Toni, myself, Cat Antonio, and Sofitel Manila’s Chef Vecchiato! Mission accomplished!

Grazie Sofitel for the warm accommodations, and of course to Chef Toni for sharing the passion.

Until the next!

For more information on cooking classes and other events at Sofitel, visit their official page here.
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