Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Learning Authentic French and Mediterranean Cooking for the Filipino Kitchen with Chef Xavier Btesh

Chef Xavier Btesh

Filipinos are more adventurous now more than ever when it comes to food. We all have our favourite international cuisine. As for me, I am partial to French cuisine. I would often imagine myself dining in one of those fancy coffee shops in Paris. Unfortunately, travelling to the City of Lights seems to be a far-fetched dream for someone like me. Hence, the next best thing would either be to dine in hard-to-pronounce French fine dining restaurants or buy a cookbook by Chef Xavier Btesh called “French Kusina: French and Mediterranean Cooking Made Easy for the Filipino Kitchen. If you ask me, I’d certainly go for the latter because it’s the more practical choice.

My mother recently attended the Maya Kitchen Culinary Elite Series on m behalf with none other than Chef Xavier Btesh. Born and raised in Paris, chef Xavier had his career training under the tutelage of renowned chefs before he was able to establish himself as consultant chef  and be able to come up with his own cookbook called Les Petits Diners de Xavier which sold more than 40,000 copies across Europe.

French Kusina by Chef Xavier Btesh

Chef Xavier Btesh may have seen the best of this world’s cuisines, but his beliefs and philosophy on food and cooking remains the same: cooking should never be complicated. During the cooking demo, Chef Xavier says that French and Filipino dishes have a lot of similarities. If we Filipinos have our national dish, “Adobo,” French  has their own version called French  chicken stew—just bring in wine instead of the usual vinegar.

Contrary to what most people believe, truffles and foie gras aren’t exactly the kind of foods that French are eating at their homes. “I keep telling people that is not the food we eat on a daily basis,” relates Chef Xavier. “I know Filipinos love their families and enjoys eating with them. In France, we’re kind of the same, we have family-style as well and I want to show the way we eat at home.”

Chef Xavier treats the Philippines as his second home. He’s been living here for almost five years and he feels it is about time that he shares his valuable knowledge on his cooking with the Filipino people. Through French Kusina, Chef Xavier hopes he can teach you how to infuse French techniques and styles into dishes that you can recreate at home to serve to your families and loved ones by using local ingredients.

Marseille Seafood Soup

For the Maya Kitchen Culianry Elite Series, Chef Xavier demonstrated some French-style dishes which can be found on his cookbook. He did Marseille Seafood Soup, Salad Nicoise, Beef Bourguinon, Milanese Risotto, San Remo Pasta Carbonara, and Chocolate Mousse.
My mother, Rica, who attended the said cooking demonstration [since I had some commitments to attend to] said she did not know she had been cooking pasta differently over the years. It was only when she saw Chef Xavier did she learn how to do it the proper way.

Beef Bourguinon

Milanese Risotto

Salad Nicoise

The best part about Chef Xavier’s recipes on his cookbook was he allowed each foodie or home cook to add your personal flavours to each dish. You can tweak them according to your own taste. “I think recipes should be whatever floats your boat,” he says. “Food is craftwork that you share and pass-on like a legacy. But each of us can do it on his own, using his own way.”

Pasta Carbonara

Chocolate Mousse

So regardless if you’re a foodie or a home cook or simply a mom who cooks for her family, chef Xavier has a message for you: “Always cook with your heart. And think about the people you are cooking for. Don’t mix too much stuff to begin with, because the more you incorporate ingredients, the trickier you play with flavours. Keep your cooking simple. Lastly, don’t be scared, you can go experiment but I truly, truly believe there’s no such a thing as a bad chef.”

Even if it’ll take me a long time to cross out my bucket list of going to Eiffel Tower and dining at fancy coffee shops in Paris, at least, I can very much afford to learn how to cook authentic French cooking the uncomplicated way. Thanks to Chef Xavier Btesh’s cooking demonstration at Maya Kitchen Culinary Elite Series. Whipping up French and Mediterranean dishes is within my means. When you take the Maya Kitchen Culinary Elite Series classes, you’ll surely learn new tips on cooking and who knows, you can cook like an expert in no time!

Discover the foodie and hidden chef in you by signing up on Maya Kitchen’s other course offerings. Log on to for more information. You can also email or swing by The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center, they are open from Tuesday to Saturday at BF Liberty Building 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue [formerly Pasay Road], Makati City. You may contact them at 8921185 or 892-5011 local 108 or call them on mobile at +63929 6796102.

Like and follow them on their social media accounts: Maya Kitchen on FacebookTwitter @TheMayaKitchen and on Instagram @TheMayaKitchen1.

*Photos from the Maya Kitchen social media accounts.

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