NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Executive Chef Ryan Prewitt and Chef de Cuisine Nicole Mills have announced a special menu will be served at Pêche Seafood Grill this New Year’s Eve. The pre-fixe menu will showcase Filipino food using local ingredients with a focus on Gulf seafood. Chef Nicole was born and raised in the Philippines. She grew up in a small town called Cagayan de Oro, in Northern Mindanao, where her family owned a bakery. Culinary traditions have always been part of the Filipino culture, and Chef Nicole is honored to share her heritage through this special menu. The five-course menu is $75 (+ tax) per person, and reservations are now available online at pecherestaurant.com.
“When I came to Pêche, I noticed so many similarities to the flavor profile with Filipino food,” said Mills. “The heavy use of vinegar and pickles is very Filipino. These flavors were familiar to me.” The first Filipino settlers in Louisiana were mostly fishermen, who lived along the coast in what is now St. Bernard Parish. Nicole continues, “the dishes I’m cooking for this menu are family recipes, the ones we typically eat during the holidays.”
Mills’ New Year’s Eve menu begins with several amuses, including “Kinilaw” (tuna ceviche with radish and coconut), “Talaba” (Queen Bess oysters with calamansi), and “Lumpia Shanghai” (spring rolls with sweet chili). The first course is “Sinigang,” a sour soup that can be made with seafood or pork. “In this case I’m using seafood. I’ll use jumbo shrimp to flavor the broth and local bok choy,” said Mills. “My mom makes this at home at least once a week. It’s comfort food.” Sinigang is very similar to the pickled catfish that has been on the Pêche menu since opening in 2013, sharing salty and sour flavors.
“Inihaw” is a term used for anything grilled. Mills is grilling snapper, wrapped in banana leaves with ginger and tomato for the second course. “We’re serving it alongside pickled green papaya ‘atchara,’ which is a typical condiment with grilled food,” said Mills. “The remarkable thing is that the papaya is also local. Who knew there was local papaya?”
Mills often uses cherished family recipes passed down from her grandmother to mother and now to her. “Callos” is typically made with tripe but Mills is using oxtail for her third course on New Year’s Eve. “It has so many fun ingredients like chickpeas, ham, mushrooms, and olives, and it’s always served with rice,” said Mills. “This dish is always around during the holidays.”
The finale course of “Ube Ice Cream + Pinipig,” showcases the vivid, violet color of the purple yam from the Philippines. Chef Mills serves this popular Filipino ice cream flavor with profiteroles, crispy rice, and sesame for a festive start to 2021.