Sometimes, collaborations produce the best outcomes. The collaboration of country music and blues music for example started the genre of rock ‘n’ roll; or the simple mix of colours blue and yellow created a whole new colour, green. On November 18, SFU invited two special guests to give a crash course to hospitality management and culinary arts students in a collaboration between art and food & drinks. They both caught the attention of the audience by show-casing their talent and by giving a brief talk about the ins and outs of their passion.
First to the stage was award winning chef Mr. Dante Sasa. Now you probably think that chef Sasa cooked up a scrumptious meal, right? Nope! His small set up only consisted of a watermelon, some carrots, a CD and a rucksack. So what was chef going to do? The art of fruit carving! Chef Sasa first began carving on wood at the tender age of 12, which he ended up becoming fixated with and it landed him with his first job as an assistant wood carver in Laguna. Since perfecting wood carving, chef then moved onto carving other materials such as ice and even chocolate! In 2003, chef actually won silver medalist for the ‘Chefs on Parade’ event in chocolate carving, and then he went on to work in various hotels in Dubai as a chef and carver.
After giving a brief talk about his background and answering questions from the audience, chef asked for people to request for something to be carved out of the watermelon. Students watching shouted out what they wanted to see “Portrait! Bird!”. With a great grin on his face but keeping incognito about what he was going to carve, Chef Sasa whipped out his knife, spun the watermelon towards himself and carved to the beat of the music like there was no tomorrow. Although his speed was of essence, watching him work was totally entertaining as he was bobbing to the groovy background music looking so cool and relaxed. Murmurs in the audience were heard amongst the students as they were trying to guess what transformation Chef Sasa was creating out of the watermelon. It was rather like a more interactive game of Pictionary! I heard people around me certain that the final image was going to be Mamma Mary, but after a few minutes of watermelon segments flying off the table; we could see that chef’s creation was an impeccable Starbucks logo.
Once the demonstration was complete, Chef Sasa let one of the students attempt to carve a water lily out of a carrot. Yes, a carrot! According to chef, this is one of the most basic things that all beginner carvers need to learn before moving onto something more complex. Another tip from chef is that if you’re a beginner and you’ve never done any kind of carving before, the best thing to practice on is small fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots.
To get the students warmed up for another twist of artistic performance, flairtender Jean Paul Ceron from the College of St. Benilde faculty gave a few tips and showed an enchanting snippet of flairtending. Flairtending is an act that in recent years has gained more and more popularity, and it is being noticed for something more than just presenting one’s skill in mixing drinks and throwing glasses and bottles in the air. It has transformed into a performance art designed to enhance the guests overall experience during a special occasion or a nighttime social event.
To get the students warmed up for another twist of artistic performance, flairtender Jean Paul Ceron, the president of ‘Flair Club Philippines’ gave a few tips and showed an enchanting snippet of flairtending. Flairtending is an act that in recent years has gained more and more popularity, and it is being noticed for something more than just presenting one’s skill in mixing drinks and throwing glasses and bottles in the air. It has transformed into a performance art designed to enhance the guests overall experience during a special occasion or a nighttime social event.
Jean began his presentation by speaking to the audience all about flairtending. His charisma engaged everyone in the room and he told us that he got his knack for entertaining people whilst training and working alongside other flairtenders. Although flairtending may sound like a simple activity, memorizing recipes and mastering the techniques really requires heavy practice and determination. Some foreign bars such as TGI Fridays require their flairtenders to learn off by heart and perfect over 150 cocktails!
Once Jean got the facts out, he began to display the art in action. He managed to make flipping, juggling and spinning the bottles look like a natural extension of his hands! Jean said that in order to become great flairtender, focus on bartending first and let the flair part of it progress at a natural place. You will learn a lot from experiencing how bartenders and flairtenders work their magic.
Not only is Jean beverage consultant, trainer and president of a flairtending club; but he is also an entrepreneur with his own mobile beverage service ‘Twisted Lemon’. Jean was inspired to start Twisted Lemon since he wanted to introduce cocktails and mocktails to Filipinos who aren’t keen on spending a lot of money going to high end clubs and bars- instead they will get to experience those kind of drinks at a birthday or a debut for example. A mobile bar is basically a service that provides an authentic bar experience to any type of occasion. It has proven to be a great success and because of Twisted Lemon, many youngsters here in the Philippines are wanting to take up flairtending as a hobby or even a career.
So guys, if you’re wanting to get in touch with your creative side and you think that carving or flairtending might be for you, there are two pieces of advice from the professionals: Practice and patience! If you make a mistake and you feel like you simply can’t grasp it, don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Before you know it, your work will be out there for everyone to admire!
We would like to give a big thank you to Mr. Dante Sasa and Mr. Jean Paul Ceron for taking time out of their busy schedules to share their passion and expertise with the students of SFU.