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An Elegant Dinner For Emme At FilCom

(front) Chef Darryl Shinogi (back, from left) Roy's Ko Olina sous chef Chris Lederer, Roy's sous chef Randy Bangloy, chef Philippe Padovani, Emme Tomimbang and chef Derek Wong of Alan Wong's | Jo McGarry photo

When the Filipino community decided to honor one of their best-known members with an elegant dinner, Emme Tomimbang graciously accepted – with one condition.

“I decided if I was going to accept this wonderful honor,” she says, “I didn’t want it to be in a hotel in Waikiki. I wanted it to be here in Waipahu, so people can see the work that has been done creating the Filipino Community Center here.”

She got her wish, and next month the fundraiser “Sharing Memorable Moments with Emme and Friends,” will take place in the Spanish-inspired courtyard and spacious banquet hall of the impressive FilCom Center in Waipahu.

Years of having people insist they could “never find” Waipahu, or having friends drive to Mililani and then call to say they were lost, gave Emme another idea.

“As part of the package, we are picking up guests in limousines and driving them here,” she says. “They can enjoy the journey to Waipahu and be taken safely home at the end of the evening.”

Chefs invited to participate in the event are bringing Filipino-inspired dishes to the table and giving them a contemporary twist.

Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, D.K. Kodama, Philippe Padovani and others have risen to the challenge of creating elegant dishes for the banquet with quite spectacular results. There are three types of lumpia, for example, created by Hula Grill executive chef (and award-winning lumpia maker) Paul Rivera.

The trick to great lumpia, Rivera says, is to use the freshest ingredients possible.

“Then it’s all about keeping the oil at a perfect temperature so the lumpia isn’t greasy,” he adds. “With our shrimp lumpia, we butterfly the shrimp and marinate it before wrapping it real tight in the wrapper. It means we cut the cooking time in half.”

The result is a perfect, crisp, golden wrapper around moist, sweet shrimp.

Alan Wong’s take on a Filipino dish uses mung beans and roasted duck leg adobo to create a street food-style Filipino Taco.

“We looked at the Spanish influence in Filipino food,” says sous chef Derek Wong (no relation), “and we used traditional Filipino vegetables, then we made a ‘salsa’ using tomatoes, onions, fish sauce, ginger and garlic.”

Dessert includes a contemporary take on halohalo, and elite sponsors will be treated to a selection of gourmet chocolates hand created for the evening by Philippe Padovani.

MidWeek‘s Master Sommelier Roberto Viernes will provide the wine pairings. He admits he enjoyed stepping up to the challenge.

“Typically, there’s a lot of vinegar and spice to contend with when you’re eating Filipino food,” he says. “It’s been fun to see the creativity of the chefs and to find some great matches with wines that bring out the flavors of the food.”

The “Sharing Memorable Moments with Emme and Friends,” a fundraiser dinner and silent auction event for the Filipino Community Center (FilCom), will be held Saturday, Nov. 9, at 5:30 p.m. at FilCom. For more information and sponsorship, visit filcom.org or call 680-0451.

Happy eating!