At This Culinary Event in Crimson Boracay, Art Is on a Plate—and All Around

July 20, 2022

Art on a Plate is a True Feast for the Senses.

Negative space in art is the empty space between and around the subjects, and in the past decades we’ve seen this in all aspects of design and even in gastronomy. There is drama in this visual emptiness, as there is in the pauses between the measured words of a last conversation, or the silence the written word in literature brings to your mind. 

It’s no different at this long table in Crimson Boracay’s Mosaic restaurant.

On this black plate I am staring at, the negative space is disrupted only on one side by a stalk of greens, unnaturally curled in a fetal position, with an oval-shaped black fermented rice that’s begging to be popped in your mouth. Beside this plate is a bowl filled with river stones and a tangle of small leaves onto which a prawn is speared at the end.

Inihaw na sugpo sa miso

One can have a great meal without the careful staging of food, of course. But then, you’re only engaging your sense of taste and smell. And, in fact, this kind of minimalist plating goes against the Filipino’s love of piling food on a plate. It’s a cultural phenomenon, this aversion to emptiness or horror vacui.

But, tonight, all spatial curiosities are satisfied on the plate and palate, on canvas and the eyes—and the ears. 

This is Art on a Plate, Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay’s recurring special dinner event at Mosaic, which breaks out of its Latin American Grill cuisine for a special night that combines the visual and culinary arts, music and dance in this fifth edition since its first staging in July 2021.

Three things are happening at once during an Art on a Plate dinner. The first is the food, this time by Filipino restaurant Hapag MNL and Auro Chocolate; the second is the live painting by resident artist Eric Egualada; the third is the live music by singer Taw Muhammad. As if that wasn’t enough, the music was interpreted by ballet dancer Jann Pearl Cordero of the PCD School of Performing Arts.

Crimson Resort and Spa Boracay general manager Patrick Manthe, who is an artist himself, says, “What’s interesting during the event is that the audience for the first time sees an artwork from start to finish, which almost never happens.”

Mosaic chef Ynan del Rosario, Crimson GM Patrick Manthe, artist Eric Egualada and jazz singer Julius Sarria III

He adds that there is never a script or a program on how the different artists interact with each other during the night, but that everything is instinctive, which is what makes one night different from the others.

“This is one of my favorite Art on a Plate events,” says Manthe as he danced with Cordero at the end of the dinner. “The energy of the night and the synergy between the artists are something we haven’t seen before.”  

Indeed it was a night that engaged all the senses, and more. Because by the end of the dinner, everybody was feeling the effects of the wonderful wines—and singing and dancing.