Inaugural Mabuhay Nights
Story by Jennifer Gail
Photos by Luisa Brimble
Mabuhay! It’s a term that evokes a myriad of joyful emotions, and to Filipinos it’s a greeting that means “Welcome!”, “To Life!”, or even just simply, a heartfelt “hello”.
In the Mabuhay spirit, Filipino Food Movement Australia is hosted its inaugural MABUHAY NIGHTS pop-up dining series, the first in what will be a continuous succession of events that will showcase the depth, variety and distinctiveness of Filipino food and culture.
The menu showcased seasonal, local Australian produce alongside much-loved Filipino elements. Coconut was star ingredient of this 6-course – ubiquitous in Filipino cuisine.
The first Mabuhay Nights event was be held at Sydney Cebu Lechon in Enmore, and offered 2 seatings, the first from 6pm and the second at 8pm.
As both chefs have acquired professional experiences within the walls of established kitchens, they’re both now eager to show the world what Filipino food has to offer through this pop-up event.
Chef Andrei has worked with some of Australia’s best chefs, and is well-versed in modern Australian cuisine, having worked with Justin North of Etch and The Bourbon Sydney. He is now spending his time following his passion of introducing Filipino cuisine to the Australian community, starting with the Mabuhay Nights dining series.
Chef Andrei Balingit and up-and-coming up young Filipina chef Dhanette Dizon created a unique dining experience, and led diners on an exotic culinary journey through the various regions of the 7000-plus islands of the country, including Aklan in the Visayas, home to the wide-eyed Tarsier, the famous resort island of Boracay and the Chocolate Hills of Bohol.
Chef Dhanae Dizon is currently Chef de Partie at Watsons Bay Hotel, having gained experience through apprenticeships in Italy and the United States, before working in one of Manila's best fine dining restaurants. She’s from a culinary family, and graduated from one of the Philippines’ top culinary schools.