Gallery by Chele Brings Over Bali's Bikini for Its Latest Culinary Collaboration

An exchange of ideas between chefs from two very different restaurants results in an unforgettable dinner.

At a time when food has become increasingly saturated, there's a craving for something to perk up the run-down taste buds of Manila's most discerning palates. Enter: collaboration dinners with some of the best chefs in and around the Philippines. 

These dinners, from four hands to ten hands, have infiltrated our calendars, each one more exciting than the last. So, when two chefs who have a penchant for unexplored combinations got together, we were in for a one-of-a-kind food trip.

Chele Gonzalez of Manila's Gallery, and Jethro Vincent of Bali-based restaurant Bikini met at the 2017 Ubud Food Festival. The initial meeting blossomed into a friendship, and by January this year, Gonzales and his culinary partner chef Carlos Villaflor were at Bali collaborating with Vincent and Chef Braden White for Bikini's sold-out first birthday dinner. 

Now the Bikini chefs are repaying the favor: Vincent and White have come to Manila for a two-night dinner, the third in Gonzalez and Villaflor's Serie Kulinarya series of culinary collaborations.

The open exchange of ideas between Gallery and their guest chefs shows shows some serious gastronomic acumen that continues to challenge the chefs, the diner, and the culinary landscape. It's also an opportunity for chefs from abroad to witness the developing Filipino food scene. Serie Kulinarya began with Amber in September and Haku in October. It will culminate with Singapore's Odette in December.

Here's what you missed at the Gallery x Bikini dinner:

From Bikini: Abalone croquette with seaweed mayo, borage

From Gallery: A takoyaki with octopus and eggplant. Chef Chele describes it as tortang talong with pinakurat and garlic crumbs.

From Bikini: Rabbit rillettes amidst logs of cinnamon. It'll remind you of our humble lumpia, but infinitely better.

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From Gallery: Yellowfin tuna kinilaw with pickled seaweeds. It's doused with heavy coconut milk, which neutralizes the flavors.

From Bikini: Local mud crab with cashew custard and ora king salmon caviar that the chefs have brought over from New Zealand. Ora king is considered one of the best breeds of salmon and it's popping caviar gives the crab nice bursts of saltiness.

From Gallery: Octopus in a grilled vegetable emulsion and pickled local shallots. Chef Chele boils the octopus (Spanish style) and once again uses pinakurat to brighten the flavor.

From Bikini: Venison tartare perked up by slices of pear

From Gallery: Chef Chele returns to his Spanish roots with this jamon Iberico-wrapped homage to kare-kare. It features banana hearts and shrimps in peanut sauce.

From Bikini: Crispy eggplant, yellow curry, and pulverized coconut yoghurt. Chefs Vincent and White used charcoal for the color.

From Gallery: Just something deceptively simple is this perfectly cooked tuna belly with pickled green chili

From Bikini: Textures reign in this chicken sambal hijau, kemangi, and heritage rice

From Gallery: An indescribably soft and moist ube torrija with rum and coconut

From Bikini: This stunning dessert features Balinese chocolate, fermented bananas, and chewy cashew crumble

From Bikini: Salted caramel made with beef fat

From Gallery: Gallery chefs finishes off with their own version of a rice cake.

To reserve a seat for the next Serie Kulinarya dinner with Odette, contact Gallery by Chele.

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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