By Vennette Lailani Seprado
A beautiful balmy afternoon was well spent at the atelier of one of Manila’s “dream makers” – the tall and boyishly charming Michael Leyva– for the last installment of Bizu’s Taste By Design. Taste By Design is an ingeniously conceptualized food tasting event featuring four indulgent signature menus inspired by four of the country’s most in-demand haute couture designers namely: Vania Romoff, Mark Bumgarner, Rajo Laurel and Michael Leyva.
Upon entering the flat, one is greeted by an intricate gown of beaded latticework with a cascade of pearl and crystal floral appliques on a tulle overskirt setting the tone for what was in store ahead. It doesn’t take long to realize you’ve just stepped into the fairy tale world of the designer whose signature is Cinderella-worthy ball gowns as he had other works on display including the spectacular ball gown from his Fall/Winter 2018 bridal line.
On one side is a beautiful set up of canapés and petit desserts on silver trays and platters courtesy of Bizu Catering. Adding to the Instagram appeal of the whole set up were accents of candles in tall glass vases and an explosion of well-curated arrangements of white orchids, roses, pastel ranunculus, baby’s breath and snapdragons in aged mercury glass vases. The whole scene was like a modern version of Marie Antoinette’s private quarters as she tries on couture creations sampling various French pastries.
On this inventive concept, Ms. Audrey Tanco-Uy, general manager of Bizu Catering Studio shares “We wanted to launch Bizu’s wedding menu in a different way. As we launch new menus we wanted to be inspired by other designers because in an art form we also seek interpretations and inspirations from other art forms. We found out that the collaboration between food and fashion can go together since we’re also in the same wedding or party industry.”
Ms. Tanco-Uy further explains that coming up with a unique bridal menu means studying the output of the designers, their collection, and their style. Realizing that each designer has a different bridal market they cater to inspired the catering team to come up with a menu tailor fitted for a specific designer.
“Michael’s designs, when you look at it, they’re very grandiose. He makes a bride really feel like a queen. With the menu we created we made sure that the ingredients are unique and of high quality. We wanted to show something refined and elegant as well as magical because that’s what how he is.”
Michael relates that he was thrilled to be one of the featured designers for this collaboration even with his very busy schedule. “When I we had our first meeting, I wanted to focus on versatility because when I design gowns, they’re for different types of brides with different personalities. Just like in food everything has to be well balanced. My favorite is the macaron with the avocado because the taste is just blended right. It’s not too sweet or too salty. That goes the same with my design approach. I don’t do designs that are just simple or designs that are fully embellished for the sake of putting things together randomly. My designs have to be balanced with the bride’s face, her body type and the accents I will be using” he relates.
The presentation of the dishes is pretty much the designer on a plate. Bizu’s artistry and strong background in French patisserie presented food which isn’t just pretty to look at. They’re well-seasoned with flavors that are well balanced and truly memorable.