1 Jul
The Philisophy of French dining

May 31, 2015

Why you won’t get your authentic French dining experience at Le Jardin when you’re in a hurry

Le Jardin Manila is nothing like your average, quintessential French restaurant. Instead of the usual intimidating atmosphere with diners dressed to the nines, enter Le Jardin and you’ll find a warm and inviting ambience, plus friendly wait staff to assist and guide you throughout the entire course of your meal.

In fact, there’s no dress code required at Le Jardin. As long as you arrive with the appetite of a true ‘gourmand,’ which, in French, refers to a person who loves food, then you’re welcome to eat! That, after all, is owner Chef Gils Brault’s philosophy. He prefers to do away with the usual stuffiness of French restaurants, and would rather concentrate on the food.

“Don’t visit Le Jardin if you won’t have time to enjoy every moment of your dining experience” Chef Gils would always say. “Because here, we’re all about relishing your food—savoring each flavor to the last bite!
Le Jardin is the place for gourmands.”

What Chef Gils and his team do behind kitchen doors is definitely enough reason for guests to take time and savor their food. “People come to our restaurant to eat things that aren’t available elsewhere,” he explains. “That’s why we take time to make and prepare it the way they’d love it.”

Chef Gils doesn’t care much about what experts say, nor what tradition dictates. He’s not about importing everything from France, just because Le Jardin is French. Rather, he cares more about getting the best and freshest ingredients. Their foie gras is imported from France, while their duck comes from an organic farm in Davao. Their fresh oysters are from Aklan; and their tuna is delivered from General Santos.

And from the wine and baked bread and rolls served to diners the moment they are seated at the restaurant, down to the cheese options they finish their meal with, as with every little detail at his restaurant, Chef Gils makes sure each serving’s quality is top-notch.

Chef Gils has personally hand-picked the wine offerings available at Le Jardin. He travels to France and visits the vineyards, to see, or rather, taste for himself, what he would deem the best wines suitable for Le Jardin, as well as for his famous restaurant in Vietnam, Les Trois Gourmands.

Aside from baking their own bread, Le Jardin’s cheeses are produced in-house, too. Made inside a controlled room which only trained personnel are allowed access, their cheeses are produced from cow’s milk, aged to various textures, and flavored with different ingredients, such as rosemary and peppercorns, black olives, chives, ash, plain, and with nuts and herbs.

Doing away with conventions, Chef Gils is rather experimental, if only to come up with the best recipes possible. He makes spring rolls with foie gras. He’s not afraid to use things like ‘patis’ in his dishes. And his famous Dessert de Gils, is actually a mishmash of random items he throws together at the back of the kitchen when he’s too busy to put together a proper meal.

Call it instinct, or perhaps, a natural talent for food, but like a true gourmand, Chef Gils makes food his universal language to communicate, build relationships with his customers, as well as his staff.

Back in Vietnam, when Chef Gils was just starting Les Trois Gourmands, he gathered a team of local chefs and trained them. His staff barely spoke English or French, and he himself didn’t speak as much Vietnamese or English either. But they were able to communicate, through what he calls ‘kitchen French.’

Chef Gils found a common language with them. He used ‘kitchen French,’ too, when he trained two young Filipino chefs, Jonas Ng and Hasset Go, for Le Jardin Manila. Their love for food created a language in itself, that went beyond spoken words. The chefs, with different origins and backgrounds, communicated through what they could feel, smell, taste, and experience.

Training his staff for great customer service was a must for Chef Gils, because knowing the food they’re serving by heart is the only way they can give good and sincere recommendations, when asked by guests.

Aside from mastery of the French repertoire, Chef Gils teaches his staff patience and perseverance, because preparing authentic French fare is certainly no easy task. “They should understand, foremost, why we’re doing this—taking so much time to prepare food, when there’s always an easier route to just buy or import them,” explains Chef Gils.

And because he hires true gourmands like himself, his chefs and staff understand his philosophy. “At the end of the day, we’re all after one thing: seeing our customers’ smile, after they’ve enjoyed and savoured their meals,” concludes Chef Gils. “So, whatever it is we do in the kitchen to achieve that is worth it.”

His famous Dessert de Gils is actually a mishmash of random items he throws together at the back of the kitchen when he’s too busy to put together a proper meal.

Chef Gils has personally hand-picked the wine offerings available at Le Jardin. He travels to France and visits the vineyards to get the best wines suitable for Le Jardin.

Doing away with conventions, Chef Gils is experimental, if only to come up with the best recipes possible. For one, he makes spring rolls with foie gras.

The Philisophy of French dining

May 31, 2015

Why you won’t get your authentic French dining experience at Le Jardin when you’re in a hurry

Le Jardin Manila is nothing like your average, quintessential French restaurant. Instead of the usual intimidating atmosphere with diners dressed to the nines, enter Le Jardin and you’ll find a warm and inviting ambience, plus friendly wait staff to assist and guide you throughout the entire course of your meal.

In fact, there’s no dress code required at Le Jardin. As long as you arrive with the appetite of a true ‘gourmand,’ which, in French, refers to a person who loves food, then you’re welcome to eat! That, after all, is owner Chef Gils Brault’s philosophy. He prefers to do away with the usual stuffiness of French restaurants, and would rather concentrate on the food.

“Don’t visit Le Jardin if you won’t have time to enjoy every moment of your dining experience” Chef Gils would always say. “Because here, we’re all about relishing your food—savoring each flavor to the last bite!
Le Jardin is the place for gourmands.”

What Chef Gils and his team do behind kitchen doors is definitely enough reason for guests to take time and savor their food. “People come to our restaurant to eat things that aren’t available elsewhere,” he explains. “That’s why we take time to make and prepare it the way they’d love it.”

Chef Gils doesn’t care much about what experts say, nor what tradition dictates. He’s not about importing everything from France, just because Le Jardin is French. Rather, he cares more about getting the best and freshest ingredients. Their foie gras is imported from France, while their duck comes from an organic farm in Davao. Their fresh oysters are from Aklan; and their tuna is delivered from General Santos.

And from the wine and baked bread and rolls served to diners the moment they are seated at the restaurant, down to the cheese options they finish their meal with, as with every little detail at his restaurant, Chef Gils makes sure each serving’s quality is top-notch.

Chef Gils has personally hand-picked the wine offerings available at Le Jardin. He travels to France and visits the vineyards, to see, or rather, taste for himself, what he would deem the best wines suitable for Le Jardin, as well as for his famous restaurant in Vietnam, Les Trois Gourmands.

Aside from baking their own bread, Le Jardin’s cheeses are produced in-house, too. Made inside a controlled room which only trained personnel are allowed access, their cheeses are produced from cow’s milk, aged to various textures, and flavored with different ingredients, such as rosemary and peppercorns, black olives, chives, ash, plain, and with nuts and herbs.

Doing away with conventions, Chef Gils is rather experimental, if only to come up with the best recipes possible. He makes spring rolls with foie gras. He’s not afraid to use things like ‘patis’ in his dishes. And his famous Dessert de Gils, is actually a mishmash of random items he throws together at the back of the kitchen when he’s too busy to put together a proper meal.

Call it instinct, or perhaps, a natural talent for food, but like a true gourmand, Chef Gils makes food his universal language to communicate, build relationships with his customers, as well as his staff.

Back in Vietnam, when Chef Gils was just starting Les Trois Gourmands, he gathered a team of local chefs and trained them. His staff barely spoke English or French, and he himself didn’t speak as much Vietnamese or English either. But they were able to communicate, through what he calls ‘kitchen French.’

Chef Gils found a common language with them. He used ‘kitchen French,’ too, when he trained two young Filipino chefs, Jonas Ng and Hasset Go, for Le Jardin Manila. Their love for food created a language in itself, that went beyond spoken words. The chefs, with different origins and backgrounds, communicated through what they could feel, smell, taste, and experience.

Training his staff for great customer service was a must for Chef Gils, because knowing the food they’re serving by heart is the only way they can give good and sincere recommendations, when asked by guests.

Aside from mastery of the French repertoire, Chef Gils teaches his staff patience and perseverance, because preparing authentic French fare is certainly no easy task. “They should understand, foremost, why we’re doing this—taking so much time to prepare food, when there’s always an easier route to just buy or import them,” explains Chef Gils.

And because he hires true gourmands like himself, his chefs and staff understand his philosophy. “At the end of the day, we’re all after one thing: seeing our customers’ smile, after they’ve enjoyed and savoured their meals,” concludes Chef Gils. “So, whatever it is we do in the kitchen to achieve that is worth it.”

His famous Dessert de Gils is actually a mishmash of random items he throws together at the back of the kitchen when he’s too busy to put together a proper meal.

Chef Gils has personally hand-picked the wine offerings available at Le Jardin. He travels to France and visits the vineyards to get the best wines suitable for Le Jardin.

Doing away with conventions, Chef Gils is experimental, if only to come up with the best recipes possible. For one, he makes spring rolls with foie gras.

Le Jardin Manila

May 31, 2015

What makes Le Jardin the perfect place for hopeful romantics

Trust the French to do it right—and in good taste. More than its authentic French fare, palatable creations, and generous servings, Le Jardin Manila boasts a relaxing and inviting ambience, that’s a delight to wine and dine in.

The restaurant, after all, is called the city’s best kept secret for a reason.
Just as owner Chef Gils had imagined his place to be, Le Jardin is like a secret garden on a mountain top, nestled at the W Building Penthouse at The Fort. Overlooking the city, the view of the Ortigas skyline at night adds a romantic touch to the dining experience.

Marrying the French’s natural sophistication and elegance, with the warm and cheery vibe reminiscent of the southern France countryside, Le Jardin’s interiors are clean and pleasing to the eyes. Upon the entrance is faux foliage that’s well-manicured, creating a mini horizontal garden. Inside, bonsai trees are growing in the center of some of the tables, surrounded by plush white chairs.

Beneath its high ceilings, and between its muted walls and large glass windows, is the restaurant’s 100-plus seating area, plus two private rooms that can be combined into one. Against a green and white motif is a display of interesting black-and-white photographs, subtly lit by soft industrial lights.

Finally, there’s the famous smoking room that’s lined with pictures of characters like Darth Vader and The Adventures of Tin Tin, as well as portraits of icons such as Madonna, Marlon Brando, and Marion Cotillard, each in their smoking glory.

Indeed, Le Jardin Manila puts effort into its venue, as much as its food. Perhaps, its attractive ambience has become one of the popular reasons why the place has been frequented not just by groups of friends and families, but by couples, too. Le Jardin Manila has slowly become one of the top-of-mind choices of those who want a nice and quiet date escape in the city.

After all, when so much meticulous preparations and work is done in the kitchen to serve the best French fare ever, what better way to savor these sumptuous dishes than with a delightful, tres romantique backdrop?

Le Jardin Manila boasts a relaxing and inviting ambience, that’s a delight to wine and dine in.

Le Jardin’s warm and cheery vibe is reminiscent of the southern France countryside. Upon the entrance is faux foliage that’s well-manicured, creating a mini horizontal garden.

Beneath its high ceilings, and between its muted walls and large glass windows, is the restaurant’s 100-plus seating area, plus two private rooms that can be combined into one.

Against a green and white motif is a display of interesting black-and-white photographs, subtly lit by soft industrial lights.

WHERE DO FOOD LOVERS GO?

May 31, 2015

How Les Trois Gourmand made its way to the Philippines

When you’re in Saigon, surrounded by restaurants serving authentic Vietnamese food—and offering probably the best possible Vietnamese dining experience you can ever have, it’s highly unlikely to be looking for something else, like a French restaurant, for one.

But for businessman Duke Ng, he was simply following his heart, or rather, his appetite, when he insisted on finding Les Trois Gourmand in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City, while he and his wife Irene were strolling around town, looking for a place to celebrate his birthday.

There, they had “the meal of their lives.” Duke recalls, “It was a fantastic experience; the food was just perfect. And throughout the whole time we were eating, the restaurant’s owner Chef Gils was talking with us and the other diners.”

So it wasn’t just the French food he was looking for that Duke found at Les Trois Gourmand—he had a new-found friend in Chef Gils Brault. The two were in fact, very much alike in many ways.

A legendary French chef-sommelier, Chef Gils has spent over 30 years working with other known French chefs, including Alain Ducasse, and former French President Jacques Chirac. He ran his own restaurants on the French Riviera, before finally settling in the place he fell in love with, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

There, he brought with him his passion for French cuisine, and settled down with his own restaurant, Les Trois Gourmand in early 2000.

Meanwhile, Duke, a businessman with a passion for food, had similar plans in mind. The life-changing dining experience he had during his first visit at Les Trois Gourmand immediately made him want to bring home that authentic French experience to Manila.

Determined, Duke and Irene travelled back, countless times, to Vietnam, in hopes to convince Chef Gils to set up shop in Manila. And six years later, after numerous dinners together, hours-long talks on their favorite topic (food), and trips to each other’s hometowns, visiting their favorite food stops, Chef Gils finally agreed to open in Manila.

Together with two talented and young Filipino chefs, Jonas Ng, Duke’s brother, and Hasset Go, Chef Gils began preparations for Le Jardin Manila. The three flew to Saigon, where they stayed for six months to train. Chef Gils taught his young apprentices from morning until night, making cheese and bread, and everything else they could possibly create from scratch. Because according to Chef Gils, this was the only way they could control how their food will taste—just the way they want it.

Finally in May 2014, Le Jardin Manila opened. And it was a dream come true not just for the three chefs, but most especially, for Duke Ng. Little did he know that before him there were 10 other restaurateurs trying to convince Chef Gils to open in Manila, but it was with his team that the chef chose to work with.

Together with two talented and young Filipino chefs, Jonas Ng, Duke’s brother, and Hasset Go, Chef Gils began preparations for Le Jardin Manila. The three flew to Saigon, where they stayed for six months to train. Chef Gils taught his young apprentices from morning until night, making cheese and bread, and everything else they could possibly create from scratch. Because according to Chef Gils, this was the only way they could control how their food will taste—just the way they want it.

“We were both gourmands—somebody who likes to eat,” reveals Duke. “That’s why he wanted to partner with us, because we all loved to eat,” he says with a laugh, adding that together, they built up the French restaurant with the goal “for people to stay forever for lunch, and have some good wine, and not care about how long they’ve been there because they’re having such a good time.”

Le Jardin

Le Jardin Manila was conceptualized with the goal of having diners stay forever for lunch, and have some good wine, and not care about how long they’ve been there because they’re having such a good time.

Le Jardin

From morning until night, Chef Gils Brault and his staff would make cheese and bread, and everything else they could possibly create from scratch.