Well, not exactly. He just created a dinner menu for me and the other guests at a Sony Pictures Television event, held at the Hotel Intercon in Makati last March 7.

But still, right? It’s not everyday that you get to sample creations from someone who won Top Chef. (Sorry if I spoiled it for you, but yes—Paul won Top Chef Season 9.)

For starters, Paul, who is the executive chef at Uchiko (an Austin, Texas-based Japanese farmhouse dining and sushi restaurant), had a singkamas salad with curry and mint, which looked blah but ended up really refreshing. It was just the right amount for an appetizer and it did make me and my companions look forward to the other dishes.

The next dish was parrot fish with longganisa and Manila clams. I like that it was a light one, and how the fleshy fish went well with the sweet longganisa slices.

But my favorite would have to be the plate of roasted pork belly—but not because of the roasted pork belly. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if Chef Paul did a bad job with it; I didn’t like it coz I am not a big fan of meat, especially pork. I did love its side dish of shimeji mushrooms and apple slices in kimchee puree. The sauce was just so sharp-tasting and spicy, of course, and it transformed the mushrooms and apple slices into something special. Most people wanted another serving of the roasted pork belly, and even wanted to request for a cup of rice. I on the other hand wanted more of the mushrooms and apple slices drowning in kimchee puree.

Dessert was something simple, light and healthy: coconut/pandan panna cotta with coconut strips, lychees, mangoes—and thai chili.

After my last bite of it, I was full but not bloated, happy and satisfied.

Like I said earlier, you don’t get to taste concoctions from a Top Chef winner everyday.

Which show do you prefer, Hell's Kitchen or Top Chef?

Catch beTV (which will soon air Top Chef Season 9) when it premieres this April 2 on SkyCable channel 35, Dream Satellite channel 36 & Cignal Digital TV channel 37.

Photos by Rowie Gutierrez