This year’s exciting duos at ‘Off Menu’ are Margarita Forés and Jordy Navarra, Nicco Santos and Miko Calo, Don Baldosano and Stephan Duhesme, Josh Boutwood and Jorge Mendez, Tom Bascon and Rhea Rizzo, Joris Rycken and Aaron Isip, and Bettina Arguelles and Yoji Kitayama.
These chefs team up to whip up something they've never done before
Check out Tatler Dining ’s ‘Off Menu’ 2023, featuring seven dream pairs of Manila’s most stellar chefs
At a glance
It’s nothing short of a dream for the foodie if Manila’s superchefs pair up to come up with a dish together! Think of Margarita Forés and Jordy Navarra as a tag team, or Nicco Santos and Miko Calo. There’s also Stephan Duhesme becoming a duo with Don Baldosano or Don Baldosano becoming a duo with Stephan Duhesme because this is no Batman and Robin duo, no second fiddle or sidekick in this combination, just as the the pairing of Josh Boutwood and Jorge Mendez, Tom Bascon and Rhea Rizzo, Joris Rycken and Aaron Isip, and Bettina Arguelles and Yoji Kitayama will bring together stars of equal magnitude.
But this isn’t a dream or, if it is, it won’t be for long. Come Sept. 29 and 30, Tatler Dining led by its editor Isabel Martel Francisco mounts “Off Menu” anew at the grand ballroom of the Shangri-La The Fort at BGC in Taguig City, where it will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“Off Menu” is a two-day food festival featuring seven special dishes whipped up by the seven unbeatable pairs made out of the 14 stellar chefs I’ve just mentioned just for the occasion. It’s a culinary innovation that’s become quite an exciting institution in many of the world’s dining capitals since it was first held in Hong Kong in 2019 at the height of the protests and just when a pandemic was beginning to rear its ugly head on the horizon.
A left-of-field dining concept, it’s designed to push boundaries as well as to give diners, particularly the fans of the chefs featured, something to ignite their sense of gastronomic wonder. No dish on the seven-course menu at “Off Menu” is—or will be—available at any of restaurants manned by the invited chefs.
In Manila, unlike in other cities like Singapore, “Off Menu” is not a sit-down dinner. It’s a casual, interactive affair, replete with a DJ, unlimited drinks, and free seating, where guests can make their way around the ballroom through the stations of the seven pairs of chefs, with whom they can freely chat as they are served their food. What’s on offer is a seven-course menu, but ticketholders are free to try the courses, from entrees to dessert, in any order they please, as long as they get their passport booklet stamped before helping themselves to the dish on offer at every station.
“This year’s roster of chefs is spectacular and the menu is truly delicious,” says Isabel. “We’re so excited to welcome guests to Off Menu 2023! This two-night-only festival is primed to showcase the best of Philippine culinary creativity, a project I could not be more proud of. This is one of my favorite events of the year! It is a time when the culinary community, from industry professionals to food-lovers from across the country, can come together, make new friends, and create memories.”
Here’s an opportunity for you to partake of never-before-eaten dishes, satisfy your taste for the unexpected, and see what else your favorite chefs can come up with outside of their restaurants. Mark the dates.
“Off Menu” 2023 will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sept. 29 and 30 at the Shangri-La The Fort. Only 400 tickets are available.