When I visited the Philippines a few years ago, I spent most of my time ocean side, soaking up the sun at Alona Beach on Bohol Island. The scenic Chocolate Hills and piercing blue waters were amazing but because I was staying in a rather touristic area, most of the meals were westernized. I left the Philippines without having a traditional “kamayan” styled meal on banana leaves and always felt that I missed out on experiencing apart of the culture.
Recently, The Social Palate invited me to attend one of their events and Chef Gerald’s traditional Filipino feast immediately caught my eye. As a startup that connects chefs to foodies outside of a traditional restaurant setting, The Social Palate takes advantage of the beautiful cultural makeup of Toronto and sends diners’ taste buds to anywhere in the world. With social and private options, you can have culinary adventures right at the comfort of your own home or in a social setting at one of the featured chef’s homes.
Our night took place at the artistically eclectic home of Chef Gerald's. As we were engrossed by his Pinterest worthy dining room, he was zooming in and out of the kitchen and laid down dish after dish on the banana leaves covered dining table.
Our hand to mouth feast included quintessential dishes like Lumpiang Shanghai (spring rolls stuffed with shrimp, fish and veggies), adobo chicken wings, grilled tilapia and Pinakbet (stewed veggies in shrimp paste).
We also had fusion dishes like Spanish empanadas filled with iconic Longanisa sausages and fun street food like BBQ pork skewers.
While we were eating, Chef Gerald explained each dish with detail and shared personal stories of how he fell in love with cooking. Once we devoured the main courses, Chef Gerald had hot steaming towels for us to clean off our hands, and desserts served on a silver platter (literally). With a cashew Polvoron (nutty shortbread cookie) and Taho (silken tofu with taro and coconut sugar syrup) we closed off our culinary teleportation to the Philippines
As the night winded down we also got to admire the craftily customized kitchen that Chef Gerald have built.
Complete with sentimental quotes, photos, well organized mason jars and shelving; Chef Gerald’s kitchen is like his meal, well thought out, nostalgic and filled with heart.
If you would like to explore this gastronomic feast or have a private chef create a dining experience in your kitchen or theirs, you have to check out The Social Palate at www.thesocialpalate.com.