Guam Diner Bytes: MCA's Maila' Ta Fan Chesa
The Micronesian Chefs Association did it again and it seemed to be in a bigger and better way! The Hyatt Regency Guam’s ballroom was transformed into a small community of island villages that were the featured destinations of the produce they had provided the chef teams who were tasked with creating beverages, appetizers, and desserts! They had to make “chesa” (appetizer) sized dishes for over 500 people to indulge and savor.
This year the chef teams were highly imaginative and you could see that they have learned from prior years about preparing for huge crowds of hungry people. The actual food and beverage creations were simply astonishing, demonstrating the unlimited capacity of our island’s culinary genius, with fresh being the key element!
They also paid some serious attention to their displays and presentations, making elaborate and fantastic settings that still retained a warmly welcoming “island theme”. We also want to celebrate and honor the farmers who made this collaboration the successful event that it has become. To help take the edge off a hard day of work, a complimentary wine bar treated guests to a selection of wines from Francis Ford Coppola and Montes wineries.
For those of you who were unable to attend the event, we want to share with you some of the culinary highlights from the Maila Ta Fan Chesa: The Hilton’s Executive Chef, Dennis Salenga and his team had papaya as their featured fruit and made a refreshing beverage called Tropical Bliss - a Wild Papaya Coconut Fusion. Their farmer provider was Diego Mendiola and they represented Inarajan. Their chesa was a Crunchy Fried Emperor Fish (sea urchin coconut sauce and binaklen papaya). Dessert was a Crusty Papaya Tart with Island Chara Chutney.
Team Delmonico’s Chef Eddie Chien and Hyatt’s Executive Chef Mirko Agostini also represented the southern village of Inanalan and used cucumber provided by farmer Brian L.G. They innovated an inspired beverage called Cucumber Yogurt SL Kucumba (cucumber) Inalahan, Chef Eddie Chien Delmonico, Chef Mirko Agostini, Hyatt - Cucumber Yogurt Slush that used the cucumber as an edible container for their drink! They didn’t leave much for Peggy Denny to clean up.
Team PIC Guam’s dynamic Duo was Executive Chef Simpliciano Taga and Executive Sous Chef Darren Dragon, and their produce selection was Donne (hot pepper) from Barrigada farmer Eugenio Aguon. They made a virtual Margarita called Fire and Ice Mango Slush! They cut up Grilled Black Mountain Striploin and served bite-sized beef chunks that could be enhanced with three PIC pepper sauces: Hot Pepper Dinanche, Hot Pepper Bourbon BBQ Sauce and Molino Local Pepper. Their desserts were hot - Sweet n spicy macaroon, peanut butter and dark chocolate hot peppers.
Team Pacific Star Resort’s Executive Chef Leland Feng and The Westin Resort Guam’s Executive Chef Daniel Lenherr pooled their talents to transform kamuti (sweet potato) from Ma’ina’s farmer Jesse Cruz into a Purple Dream Beverage. They also created Spicy Sweet Potato and Chicken Croquettes with spicy slaw, chicken kelaguen with sweet potato bread and a bite-sized sweet potato muffin with sour cream Icing!
The Westin’s Chef Daniel Lenherr did double duty in collaborating with MCA President and Meskla Owner Chef Peter Duenas and his Executive Chef Ernie Merfalen to transform lemmai (breadfruit) from Malohloh farmer Mike Aguon’s fertile trees into three gourmet creations. They concocted a breadfruit punch beverage, then imagined a delectable Country Bacon-Lemmai Hash Cakes with Braised Beef and Truffle Essence! To finish, they improvised with a lemmai Ice cream with candied lemmai with coconut caramel!
Sea Grill’s Executive Chef Rey Dasalla joined forces with Hyatt Executive Chef Mirko Agostini to create hugely popular chesas from Dedidu farmer Vincent Velasquez’s green and ripe chotda/aga (bananas). They conceptualized greatness in their Banana Caramel Frappuccino. They stole the show with their delectable grilled baby back ribs, glazed with banana honey bbq sauce & spicy banana tomato jam! Then they slam-dunked the desserts with an insanely decadent Banana Coconut Bread Pudding French Toasts with Banana Foster Cream Anglaise!
Don’t miss the MCA’s next Maila’ Ta Fan Chesa event! You now have an idea of the fantastic things you will be there!
Bon Appetit & Gof Mannge!
Ken “The Guam Food Guy” Stewart