Degustation at A.I.C.A. (The Academy for International Culinary Arts)

The hubby and I had our initiation on what Degustation dinner is over at A.I.C.A. (The Academy for International Culinary Arts) last Thursday, October 29. It couldn’t be more interesting —  her greatness, culinary legend chef herself, Ms. Nora Daza was there to grace the event.  It was a night, a full three hours of fun, learning, savyy dining experience and yumminess galore.


First off, what is degustation? Prior to last night, I had no clue what that was. We arrived pretty early at the venue, went to check the night’s schedule and got rather clueless when I saw that the night’s event is called degustation.  Okay, what does a blogger do during such times? Google it up. That’s what I did. Who can better define the word than Wikipedia.

Degustation is a culinary term meaning “a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods” and focusing on the gustatory system, the senses, high culinary art and good company.

The French term dégustation is still commonly used in English-language contexts, even though a standard Anglicized spelling and pronunciation exist.

Modern dégustation probably comes from the French kitchens of the early 20th century and is different from earlier meals with many courses because these meals were served as full-sized meals at each course. Dégustation is more likely to involve sampling small portions of all of a chef’s signature dishes in one sitting. Usually consisting of eight or more courses, it may be accompanied by a matching wine degustation which complements each dish.

Sampling a selection of cheeses, at home or in a restaurant, may also be called a dégustation. Three to four varieties are normally chosen, generally including a semi-soft cheese, a goat’s cheese, and a blue cheese. The stronger varieties are normally tasted last. See the article “A Cheese Lover’s Tour of France” from The New York Times.

A dégustation is always held during the Japanese television show Iron Chef.


Last week was A.I.C.A.’s  22nd and 23rd batches turn to undergo hell week.  They call it such because after 10 months of classroom experience, they actually get to run a restaurant just like a professional chef would.  From the interior to the marketing to the way they serve their dishes, it’s all them.  And I saw for myself how they can really pass for real professionals.


the fine and intricate details of their table setting


I just love turning its pages during the degustation — to anticipate the next high. Every single course spoke for itself.  The silence in between bites was affirmation enough that it did its purpose of satisfying our palates. Several hours after this meal and I can still taste from my recollection the yumminess of each course.



Chicken liver mousse. Served to open our palates. Yes! There’s a science behind why courses are served at different portions of the meal.  Nothing like I’ve ever tasted before, to say the least. For someone who isn’t exactly partial towards liver stuff, this is a hit! I loved it!  Chef Jerome taught us through.  We didn’t have an idea how to eat it.  It was served fromthis delicate spoon and we were told to eat it right from the spoon. Needless to say, it excited our taste buds and paved the way to the 8 equally delectable courses to come.


Deep fried shishamo, petit salad in citrus dressing and ceviche of scallops.  If you like deep fried “Tawilis from Tagaytay,” you are going to fall head over heals in love with Shishamu.  But here’s the bad news, this ain’t available locally. Shishamu thrives only in the cold waters of Canada.  This particular dish is sponsored by one of the students in the batch,  Catherine Ingles, the grand daughter of Nora Daza.  The very same lovely chef who will do her on the job training at the world’s lone 7 star hotel in Dubai, Jumeirah.  She also is the lone distributor of Shishamo in the Philippines.   What makes this special is this…


… it is laden with eggs!!!Which makes it extra tasty and healthy. Packed with all those omega goodness for your heart.


Prawn Bisque.


salmon confit in infused almond oil with mashed potatoes.

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Braised cabbage rolls in tomato basil sauce.


Green tea basil sorbet.


Shiraz braised pork knuckles with watercress walnut relish in mashed potatoes and port wine sauce.


 Chocolate Truffles.


We got to sit with the owner of A.I.C.A. himself.  Michael M. Tiaoqui shared the vision he has for the culinary school and how the Academy for International Culinary Arts believes in the creative Filipino culinary talent. This culinary school is manned by a distinguised staff of qualified teachers and trainers possessing excellent international credentials.  They have state-of-the art facilities that augment the practical hands-on methodology.  A.I.C.A. also sticks to the proven and tested 14 member-per-class ratio, with nothing less than 90% hands-on training application. Students are exposed to perform and devlop the mastery in the course subjects.  They also provide a comprehensive post evaluation and program opportunities for both the local and international markets.


photo op with the culinary legend, Chef Nora Daza 🙂


The Academy for International Culinary Arts
2/F Skyway Twin Towers
Capt. Henry P. Javier Street
Pasig City, Philippines
672.2119; 672.2271

Degustation at A.I.C.A. (The Academy for International Culinary Arts)

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