Junior Masterchef Pinoy Edition (part 8)- The Treston Experience continued (Knife skills – Brunoise)

How to Bruniose a Potato    Click here to watch the video.

Knife skills - batonnet, julienne, dice, brunoise


Regular brunoise (3 mm cube)

A regular brunoise is a 1/8 inch (3 mm) cube.

  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the potato.
  2. Slice the sides to make a rectangle but leave one side uncut so you can hold the potato later.
  3. Cut into 1/8″ slabs.
  4. Cut into 1/8″ strips.
  5. Cut into 1/8″ cubes.


Fine Brunoise (1.5 mm cube)

A  fine brunoise is a 1/16″ (1.5 mm) cube.
  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the potato.
  2. Slice the sides to make a rectangle but leave one side uncut so you can hold the potato later.
  3. Cut into 1/16″ slabs.
  4. Cut into 1/16″ strips.
  5. Cut into 1/16″ cubes.

A Reminder of Lolo August

Lolo August with lola, me , my brother and sisters, and my cousin in December 2006

This blog is about my grandfather, who passed away a few years ago. His name was August Feria. He was my favorite grandfather because we always played chess in the afternoon. He died from pneumonia when I was 9 years old. It was a sad day for me and for my dad. I know because I saw that his face was really sad :(. 

It was Aug. 30, 2011. We were going to see Lolo Vic, Lolo August’s favorite brother. He came home from Chicago last week to attend a reunion of the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, which he and Lolo August founded. Lolo Vic has  curly hair and looks a lot like Lolo August but younger.

We were getting ready for the lunch gathering that my father planned. When the taxi arrived, my uncle, aunt, mom, my 2 sisters and my brother hopped into the taxi and headed to Pancake House while my Papa, my sister and I walked the short distance from our house . We made a quick stop at the basement of Saint Peter’s church beside Pancake House, where my Lolo August was laid to rest.

Lolo Vic, mom, my 2 uncles , my 2 aunts, 3 cousins, my grand mother, my 2 sisters and my brother were at Pancake House when we arrived.

Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

We first looked at the  menu for kids, where there were about  10 to 16 dishes. My baby sister, Happy, and my younger brother, Oz,  ordered   Mac & Cheese, which they both loved. Who doesn’t ?

My sister, Zia ordered Corn dogs, which only included three cocktail hotdogs and some fries, and which mom said was too little for a lunch meal, so she gave Zia some Mac and Cheese from Happy’s plate. And oh, there’s Spam and Egg , which both my mom and my aunt laughed at when they saw it.

Me, my cousins, my siblings and Lolo Vic in front of Pancake House

My sister and I did not want anything from  the Kids Menu. My sister ordered Maple Chicken and Crispy Waffle.  I ordered   medium rare T-Bone steak with potato wedges, that Pancake House promises to be ” reminiscent of family backyard barbecues”.  Mom ordered Roast Beef while Papa ordered sirloin steak.

My sister's Jumbo meal

My sister  said that the chicken was too sweet, but the vegetables were crunchy and fresh.  The dressing was a good combination for the vegetables. The potato crumbs and  the waffle were both delightfully crunchy. The plating was appetizing because it used a large plate and the food filled it all up. My mom told my sister that the skin was probably sweet because it’s supposed to be eaten with the waffles. But my sister saved the waffles for dessert.

The steak I ordered cost P485. For me, it’s expensive because other steaks I have eaten costs less than P400 and are even better. There are about 3 or 4  kinds of steaks on the menu – Sunrise steak, Tenderloin steak, Sirloin steak and T-Bone steak.

I ordered steak because I wanted to try all the different kinds of steaks. I already tried Pork Tenderloin, Pork Sirloin , beef sirloin and New York steak. I LOVE steak because it’s tasty and it’s easy to cook.

Papa and Lolo Vic beside me

Papa and Lolo Vic beside me

I waited for 10 minutes for my order to be served. While I was waiting, I inspected the Inspector Gadget and Scooby doo  posters   that hung on the wall. I also listened to the sizzling sounds in the kitchen while I sat between my father and my Lolo Vic, who chatted over my head.

T-Bone Steak with Potato wedges

T-Bone Steak with Potato wedges

When the steak was served, I first looked at the plating.

My first glance did not serve to whet my appetite, since there seemed to be too little food on the plate. I was thinking of asking the waiter to tell the chef to make me another steak , but that would be too expensive.

All I know about plating food were: always keep the plate clean, be creative at your plating, and always have space for the food on the plate . Yup, there was a lot of space alright!

When I sliced through the steak, I realized it was well done not  medium rare, as I ordered.  The steak was chewy and pretty plain .  The potato wedges were ordinary — I like our homemade potato wedges better   because our potato wedges pack more zest. It took me for about 5-10 min. to finish the whole dish.   It wasn’t   enough for me at all, so I started to look into desserts, as Papa suggested.

“Who wants dessert ?”asked Papa.

My waffle fold over

No more waffle fold over

I raised my hand and said, “I do”. I ordered Waffle fold over. Unlike my steak, the waffle fold over was more than enough for me. It includes a 6-inch waffle, 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream, peanut butter spread, nips and chocolate syrup on top.

The plating was interesting, and  it’s not   messy at all, not even fingerprints to be found.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish it, but I did.

Tito Noel's dessertTito Noel ordered a drink that had an ice cream on top of what I thought might be Coke or iced tea. I didn’t know what it   because it’s my first time to see such–it was  Root beer float.

The drinks menu

The drinks menu

The dessert menu

The dessert menu

The Waffle fold over was too sweet for me, but for those who like sweets, this is the one   for you.  I was really full after I ate the dessert.

The restaurant is clean and the air is cold. The toilets are clean but the sink is clogged .

This day made me happier and remember Lolo August. Having Lolo August in that party would have been much better. He probably would have ordered salad or sandwiches because he loves healthy food.

I learned a lot from Lolo August. He always tells me to be safe when going up and down the stairs. He showed me some strategies in chess. He told me we could make a restaurant but he died before we could. That’s why I keep cooking and reading and watching more about cooking so I can accomplish our dreams. I will never forget Lolo because he’s a good man and he tells me what I need to know, like what’s right and wrong about cooking and about life.

Here are my ratings for Pancake House in Commonwealth Avenue:

That’s it for today, blog readers. Keep reading my blog .  BYE! :D.

My Passion and My Steak….

Mom and I , when I was 2My mom always told us that in order to be successful, we must first find that one thing that ignites our interest, stirs up our passion, and tickles our imagination as to how far it can take us. To many people, finding that one thing takes a long time. To some, it comes as a surprise. To others, such as myself, it comes as a result of circumstance. Some time ago, I was attending school , like most kids. But my family decided that it was much better for me and my siblings to learn at home.

As a home schooler, I learned the word “pressure”, “catalyst” and “carbon dioxide” by sticking Mentos inside a bottle of Coke and watching it explode in our backyard.

Me and my siblings at Avilon zooI learned about the classifications of animals by going to Avilon Zoo, and taking notes from the tour guide.

I learned about divison by separating candies that my Papa brought home from his trips abroad into 5 of us siblings. I learned about fractions, estimates, units of measure, converting ounces to cups, and boiling points by cooking pasta , risotto,soup, etc.

As I learned Math, I also started to develop an interest in cooking. It often was the case that my mom, seeing my interest, started asking me to do things in the kitchen, such as making omelets for breakfast, cooking risotto for dinner or grilling steaks. Then my mom thought of having me and my brother audition for a cooking show for a major television network. It turned our world topsy turvy. From then on, I never looked back. Experiencing people other than my mom and my Papa criticize my cooking made me want to be better. Well, such were the circumstances that led me to the revelation of my passion for cooking.

But there was one dish that I had specific passion for- steaks. Now I will tell you about the week that was.

The Steaks Workshop

Not too long ago, I enrolled in Chef Ernest Gala’s Steaks, Salad, Pastas and Roasts course at Sylvia Reynoso Gala Culinary School.
Me, Chef Ernest Gala and other classmates

Me doing the sauceWhile waiting for Chef Ernest to arrive, we watched his shows on the television situated in the kitchen. Three friends whom I met there were curious as to my schooling, perhaps because it was a Tuesday and yet I was preparing to grill steaks rather than reviewing for a Math or Science quiz. I told them that I’m home schooled and that I love cooking. That day, we were cooking salads, pastas, roasts and steaks. I really love learning the different aspects of cooking, but my weakness lies in baking. Maybe I’m just not born for it.

We made three kinds of salads. I made a Festive Tuna, potato, beet and apple salad. One of my classmates made Hearty Mediterranean salad with anchovies, capers and feta cheese. My other classmates made the Special crab salad with creamy mayo. I learned that if balsamic vinegar isn’t available, we can use Knorr seasoning or worcestershire sauce. It changes the flavor but it’s good too.

Filets mignons with caper sauce
sizzling italian pork parmigiana topped with magnolia mozzarella cheese
Then we made filet mignons with caper sauce, sizzling Italian pork parmigiana topped with Magnolia mozzarella cheese, and Chateaubriand with Bernaise sauce. Last but not least, the Monterey roast rack of lamb with creamy cucumber sauce. I learned that when roasting, we must use a meat thermometer to know whether it’s over cooked or it’s still raw. I never used a thermometer at home, as I only used a wall clock and my gut feel.

We made pastas like Special Magnolia chicken spaghetti with 4 cheeses and Baked lasagna with ricotta and Magnolia cheese. I learned that in some countries, mozzarella cheese are colored white because they use carabao’s milk. In the Philippines, we have yellow mozzarella cheese because we use cow’s milk.


Festive tuna, potato, beet and apples salad

Festive tuna, potato, beet and apple salad
This salad includes all purpose cream, salt and pepper, diced potatoes, beet, apples, pickle relish, onion and tuna. It is served with prepared lettuce and eggs.

I found the salad a little unusual because it had beets in it. It was my first time to eat beets . I actually thought that a beet is a fruit but it’s technically a root. The cream and beet combination gave the dish a subtle but intriguing taste.

Hearty Mediterranean with anchovies, capers and feta cheese
Hearty mediterranean salad with anchovies, capers and feta cheese

This salad includes baby tomatoes, black olives, capers, anchovies, Feta cheese or Quick melt cheese, dill leaves (fresh) and peeled cucumber. There is also crushed garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano and salt and pepper.

This salad is simple but good and tasty. I like the flavors of the olives and all the cheeses. I also like the cucumber because it’s sliced really thin.

Special crab salad with creamy mayo
Special crab salad with creamy mayo
This salad has iceberg lettuce, peeled cucumber, big salad tomatoes and boiled eggs. For the dressing it has MAGNOLIA mayo, HUNTS catsup, salt, pepper and PEOTRACO corn syrup .

The cucumber – tomatoes – boiled eggs combination gave a crunchy, sour and sweet taste..a taste that appealed to my mom’s palate.


Chateaubriand with Bernaise sauce
chateaubriand with bernaise sauce

Monterey roast rack of lamb with creamy cucumber sauce
monterey roast rack of lamb with creamy cucumber sauce

This ribs has crushed garlic, rock salt, Mc Cormick rosemary, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, olive oil. The sauce has cucumber, grated cheese, minced onions and salt.

I like the ribs because it’s tender and it’s well seasoned. The consistency of the sauce is perfect- not too watery, not too thick.


Tender roast monterey pork baby back ribs with special BBQ sauce
This baby back ribs has garlic, knorr seasoning, rock salt, mustard, molasses, chili powder and Hunt’s tomato sauce. The sauce has chopped onions, brown sugar, vinegar, HUNT’s tomato sauce, Lea and Perrins worcestershire sauce, knorr seasoning and salt and pepper.

I love the flavors of the chili and mustard plus the onions and the vinegar on the tender ribs.


Baked lasagna with ricotta and magnolia mozzarella cheese

This lasagna has sausages, ground beef, salt, pepper, herbs, sugar, eggs and ricotta cheese, among others. I was not able to taste the lasagna because when we heated the lasagna at home, the glassware cracked in the oven!


Special magnolia chicken spaghetti with 4 cheese
This spaghetti has Magnolia butter, boiled chicken, cream, grated mozzarella cheese, grated quick melt cheese, Fontina cheese, grated provolone cheese, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper….Loved this one too.

We had these dishes for dinner that day. It’s plentiful, very delicious and the taste is right on. I’ll give these dishes *****stars for the taste and **stars for the difficulty. (because it’s yummy but easy)

Now all this talk about food is starting to stir up my imagination again….I think I know what I'm gonna do today.