Get to know Mhel and Ken Ignacio of Certified Foodies

The Art of Cheese : Perfect Italiano Second Mystery Dinner

I heard about Perfect Italiano’s Mystery Dinners (aka guerilla dinners) from fellow bloggers and I was hoping my brother Ken and I would get to join next time around. So, when I found out on Perfect Italiano’s Facebook page that the signups for the second Mystery Dinner was open, I immediately informed him and my blogger friends to try their luck, too. Fortunately, Ken and I were picked to join their upcoming Mystery Dinner. And on May 13th, we were both excited about it, especially after we received the invite a day or two before. The only clues we received were to wear something artsy or with loud prints. Plus, this: A clue to the theme of Perfect Italiano's Second rMystery Dinner - We were told to be at Starbucks Magallanes and we’ll be “whisked away” to the mystery location for the dinner. After we met a few more people who got invited, including Richard from Tales from the Tummy, we headed off to the house of the mystery host somewhere around the area of Magallanes. Aside from the lovely people from Perfect Italiano, we also met Chef JJ Yulo of Pinoy Eats World, chefs who organize mystery or guerilla dinners and food tours in and around the Metro. Here he is, telling us briefly about the host. Chef JJ with a few words before we were let inside the house for the Mystery Dinner - Inside, we were greeted by the lovely Aleth Ocampo-Mapa. She’s an artist and loves to cook and bake, too. We were also introduced to Chef Namee who is a part of Pinoy Eats World. She and Chef JJ prepared all 8 courses for our dinner that night.

The lovely host Aleth with Chef JJ and Namee who prepared all the delectable food - from Perfect Italiano’s FB page)

Wait, did you read that part when I said we had an 8-course meal that night?! YES! If we only knew we’dΒ  be eating that amount of food, we wouldn’t have had anything before dinner! πŸ˜€

All of us who were at the table - CertifiedFoodies.comOur fellow diners at the table, smiling for the camera while waiting on our first course.

(Photo from Perfect Italiano’s FB page) We were all seated at a long table. In front of us were the menu and info about the different cheeses of Perfect Italiano. The menu and the theme of the Mystery Dinner was revealed - The Art of Cheese -

After a short introduction from each of us, we started checking out the menu. The second Perfect Italiano's Mystery Dinner theme was The Art of Cheese - Chef JJ briefed us about the menu, how they came up with the names for the dishes, what we should expect and also about the theme of the dinner – The Art of Cheese. By the way, Chef JJ is so entertaining! He kept us laughing and enjoying the whole night. Seeing him and Chef Namee, and how much deliciousness they can provide their diners truly encouraged Ken to pursue his culinary dreams (Ohh… keep posted for this!). Chef JJ introducing us to the menu, how they came up with the concept of The Art of Cheese - I love cheese so when I browsed the menu and saw that everything had mozzarella and parmesan, I couldn’t wait any longer for the first course. All the dishes that were served to us were prepared right at the kitchen of Aletha, all by Chef JJ and Namee. So, we had time to really savor and enjoy each dish as we wait for the next one. Crabby Namee (wanton, crab, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and scallions inside) - Our appetizer - The first course was jokingly called Crabby Namee. Funny word play there (crabby + Namee – get it? But, she’s really nice πŸ™‚ ). I’m actually allergic to crabs. But, I was prepared with my meds, plus my bro’s a nurse so he can take care of me. πŸ˜€ So, I went ahead and grabbed one of the crab wantons. It’s got cream cheese, scallions, and Perfect Italiano Parmesan. I love the crunchiness (I prefer my wanton fried) and the burst of flavors in my mouth. For an appetizer, it got us all excited about the rest of the meal. Everytime a dish is served up, by the way, Chef JJ would come up and tell us more about it. I tried taking notes through my phone as I’m not that familiar with some of the ingredients that were mentioned and also as my guide for this blog post. I’m beginning to learn more about different ingredients and dishes as I continue watching Top Chef and other food TV shows. In fact, it was the first time for me to enjoy fine dining… good thing my first time was in a casual, friendly environment. Chef JJ telling us more about Perfect Italiano and Pinoy Eats World's guerilla or Mystery Dinners - Here’s me and Ken, waiting for our next course. Thanks Hill (pictured above, left) for taking our photo! Me and Ken at Perfect Italiano's Mystery Dinner 2 - On to the next dish – Anti Vampire Sabaw. Just by the name of it, you’d guess it’s full of… wait for it… GARLIC! πŸ˜€ Anti Vampire Sabaw - soup with garlic, lemon zest, thyme, parmesan, onion and thyme -

Β Pardon the quality of my photos. I seriously need a DSLR so

I can take better photos of food. My photos don’t do them justice. The soup has the right amount of garlic flavors, mixed with onions, mushrooms, thyme, parmesan cheese, and, what everyone was raving about, lemon zest! I love that citrusy twist on every spoonful of the soup. I had to stop myself from finishing the whole bowl ’cause I needed room for the rest of the meal. It’s really good! πŸ™‚ Next was Corny Mo!. It’s polenta (mashed cornmeal/mush) topped with parmesan cheese, and a serving of chopped up tomatoes, with tomato oil and pesto sauce on the sides. Another one of my faves among all the 8 courses. Corny Mo! - palenta, tomatoes, pesto, and Perfect Italiano's Parmesan - Being a Pesto lover, Ken enjoyed this a lot. So did I. I had to take a couple of pauses in between bites. πŸ˜€ Next was Cheese Louise. It’s Angus Beef and mozzarella cheese sandwiched in between 2 slices of Ciabatta. The bread was a li’l hard to bite into, but I relished the flavors of the beef. It was a li’l messy eating this, but it’s worth it. πŸ˜€ Cheese Louise - Ciabatta with Angus Beef and Perfect Italiano Mozzarella - Oh, I’ve got to mention that In between courses, we talked and shared funny stories and trivia. We even told them that we can easily make ice cream at home without a machine! πŸ˜€

We were all filled up by truly delicious flavors and pure laughter - from Perfect Italiano’s FB page)

On to the next dish – White Flower (don’t you just love the names of the dishes?! LOL πŸ˜€ ). It’s risotto (Carnaroli) with cauliflower, onions, bread crumbs, Perfect Italiano Parmesan and Romano cheeses. The cauliflower bits gave every spoon the crunch and texture I truly enjoyed. White Flower - Cauliflower risotto topped with anchovies - This next dish, I was looking forward to trying. I haven’t had scallops all my life. So, it was a first. They called it UFOs. I guess that’s self-explanatory. πŸ˜€ UFOs - scallops cooked in butter, topped with panko and parmesan cheese - It’s scallops cooked in butter, topped with Panko and parmesan, with pesto sauce on the side. All I can say is I don’t think I’ll be ordering scallops anytime soon. It was good, but I don’t like the texture and feel of scallop in my mouth. Next in line was Chicken Bleah. Another funny wordplay on one of my favorite dishes, Cordon Bleu. It was amusing how Chef JJ kept on saying Chicken Bleah over and over. πŸ˜€ The Chicken Bleah is chicken fillet with prosciutto and mozzarella in the middle. The cheesy pasta was a simple addition and complemented the chicken well. Chicken Bleah - chicken fillet with prosciutto, mozzarella, parmesan on top of cheesy pasta - Now, after 7 courses, you’d think we no longer wanted dessert. But, NO! Just by the description on the menu, Honeycream kept us intrigued. Honeycream - ice cream, balsamico, honey, topped with parmesan cheese and chocolate chip cookie - A last minute touch was the seasalt chocolate chip cookie that Chef JJ found in Aleth’s kitchen. They decided to add it to the ice cream for more texture. And, we all were glad they did! A closer look at the best dessert I've ever had! - The Balsamico and honey drizzled on top of the vanilla ice cream gave us contrast of flavors that made us scooping up for more. It was definitely the perfect dish to cap the night! Trust me, this is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had! And I’m a pastry / dessert lover! You can see from the photo below how much we enjoyed the night. The delicious food and the great company kept us smiling all night.

Perfect Italiano's Mystery Diners - from Perfect Italiano’s FB page)

By the way, we all went home with Perfect Italiano’s cheeses. Out of the 3 on the photo below, we’ve only tried their mozzarella and parmesan. In fact, Ken used the latter on his Creamy Pesto Pasta recipe. Perfect Italiano's cheeses - Mozzarella, Parmesan Cheese, Romano - Thank you Perfect Italiano and Pinoy Eats World for the wonderful night and the great food! We hope we’d get to join again next time. πŸ™‚ Thanks, Perfect Italiano and Pinoy Eats World! - The food tours and guerilla dinners organized by Pinoy Eats World are all based on a theme, which makes the whole experience fun and exciting.

Some of the foodies who we shared the delicious 8-course dinner with - If you’d like to join the next Perfect Italiano Mystery Dinner, head on over to their Facebook page, My Perfect Recipes, and sign up! Trust me, you wouldn’t want to miss it and we were told they’ll have another set this June! πŸ™‚

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Michelle (aka Mhel / blankPixels) is a social media nerd and works as a Digital Marketing Lead for one of the top online companies in the Philippines. On her free time, she travels, goes on food trip and loves to take photos. She's the main editor of this food blog.



  • Calel Noble

    Looks like a pretty AWESOME event! The food looks really tempting too πŸ™‚

  • Hey it was great meeting you! Gil and I enjoyed the dinner and your company–we were so aliw that you and your brother hang out together ;p Will try out Ken’s pesto recipe. Gil made pizza from scratch and that’s where we used our mozza. And in omelet. Yum! Hope to see you again. – Rheea

  • Luna Miranda

    i’m in cheese heaven reading this post. Β i’m also green with envy–how lucky you are to have this 8-course delicious meal! Β the scallops did it for me—i’m positively neck-deep in drool! :p

  • joysflair

    delish! kakalaway naman ang mga foods, parmesan and mozarella cheese really brings out the good taste of a food πŸ™‚

  • Picklesgymnast

    Yummmy post πŸ™‚ We’re glad you enjoyed the food and time with the whole group πŸ™‚

  • I like the names of the courses especially yung Corny Mo! hahah sana rin maka-attend ako ng mga ganitong events πŸ™‚

  • Jay-agent112778

    wowwww! sana ma-invite din ako sa ganitong pagtitipon

    heres my Food Trip Friday Entryheres my Food Friday Entry

  • Lani

    Interesting! I wish I can attend dinner like that! What a treat! πŸ™‚

  • wow, what a great treat….everything looks delicious and we love cheese, hubby influenced me and our kids! sounds like a great place to try, will keep that in mind. thanks for sharing and have a great day! πŸ™‚

  • Santelmo of PinoyMuffinTop

    i love cheese! especially pag malasang malasa talaga yung food. bakit kaya hindi ko nakita yung notice mo about it the sign-up dati…lolz ^_^ nadokleng siguro ako. i’ll ask my sister to try our luck next time.

    this blog post is making me crave for different kinds of food ^_^ and that reminds me…lunch time! ^_^

    • I sent it lang through PM, Karl. Mga close blogger friends, and I thought I included you. Baka the girls lang nasama ko. The signup is open again. Sign up now ’cause they’ll have another dinner this June! πŸ™‚

  • wow…what a delightful treat it must have been! served eight courses (and for free!)!!!!
    will definitely check them out in FB…too bad i won’t be able to sign up, though. my two-year old’s too demanding. LOL

    thanks for sharing the experience! πŸ™‚