My Wedding by a Master

As my 6th year wedding anniversary draws closer, it seems fitting to do a post on something in connection to that beautiful summer day. As happy as I should be writing this piece, it is quite the opposite. You see, not only am I going to talk about the wonderful feast that was prepared for my husband and I, I am going to talk about the brilliant mind behind it, one which was taken from us just a few days ago. I may be sad but in no way am I uninspired. If there is one feeling that this man constantly brought out in me (and many, many others) it was inspiration.

Let me start at the very beginning. It was mid June when my then fiancé and I decided to scout for a location in Tagaytay to hold our wedding reception. I was dead set on finding a beautiful garden. I knew that I wanted something outdoors wherein my guests could be cooled by the natural breeze. At that point the only other detail we had agreed upon was that we wanted to incorporate Spanish touches to the details.  As we were driving hand in hand, my husband received a call from his Ninong Ed (Quimson). This wasn’t unexpected because they were quite close and spoke often. He invited us to see a new place, which he was helping develop a menu for called Splendido. I remember clearly that he was honest in telling us that it was not necessarily a garden so I wasn’t too keen on the idea initially. But because we knew that he would be catering our wedding, we thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a look. Upon arriving my mind quickly shifted as I saw the open lounge bordered by a beautiful golf course, which was surrounded by sprawling mountains. The place also captured the perfect view of the Taal Volcano. A decision was made on the spot; this indeed was the perfect location for our Spanish themed celebration.

From that point on, planning was in full swing. It was in those days that I truly got to know Tito Ed or Chef Ed as he is most commonly known. He was a gentle giant with a laugh that was infectious. There were aspects of his personality, which truly made an impact on me that up to this day I will never forget. One of which was passion, he always had a smile on his face, especially when ideas would come to mind that excited him. And with these grand ideas came execution, he knew the importance of taking his thoughts and putting them on a plate flawlessly. Another facet of him that I remember clearly was his compassion. He was kind to everyone, mostly to those working under him. His sue chefs, his servers, the dishwashers, his helpers and drivers… There was mutual respect between him and his staff which created a harmonious and even fun working relationship. Lastly, I cannot leave out how much I admired his sheer creativity. In a time where so many chefs and food enthusiasts were recreating tried and tested dishes to their own liking, he managed to remain unique, creating food that was new, sometimes dubious, but always exciting to the customer. He loved food so much that he would take two completely contrasting ingredients, put them together and it would just work. I believe that this is why Tito Ed was looked up to by so many, because he was truly a pioneer in the industry.

Tito Ed was the clear choice when it came to selecting a Ninong for our wedding. As the weeks and months passed, he truly became one of my co-planners. He helped me source some suppliers and work out the kinks in booking the location. But of course, we had the most fun when conceptualizing and sampling the food that would be served. Keeping in line with the Spanish theme, we decided on a grand assortment of tapas and paella. Each element was carefully thought out so that flavors and textures would contrast yet still remain in theme.

We started out with the appetizers to be passed around for cocktails. Tito Ed and I wanted guests to be fed as soon as they arrived in the reception. On the menu were Gazpacho soup shots, Croquetas de Bacalao, Croquetas de Pollo and Spring Rolls, which were filled with chorizo and cheese. All of which were comforting and hearty. I was just happy to have his croquetas because that was the first thing we ate together when Armand introduced us back in 2003.

Croquetas de Bacalao

Our pica-pica buffet was segregated across the area so that anywhere you went, there was food to pick on. That idea was all Tito Ed. One area had Gambas, Baked Mussels, Pastel de Lengua and Callos. Another area had what he called the Butcher’s Block wherein there was an assortment of Salami, Cheese and Fruit. He also insisted on an ice station for those who wanted light and refreshing options such as a choice of Balsamico or Caesar Salad, Smoked Salmon, Smoked Tanigue, Salmon and Tuna Sashimi and his famous Pate.

Gambas

Baked Mussels

Pastel de Lengua

Callos

Salami Platter

The next stations had larger portions of food. There was a full Paella station that had all the choices ranging from Valenciana, Negra, Vegetarian and Pasta Paella. We also had carvings of Chateaubriand with Bernaise Sauce, Leg of Ham with Pineapple Sauce and Leg of Lamb with Mint Jelly.

Paella Valenciana

Leg of Ham with Pineapple Glaze

Needless to say there was an abundant dessert station. This was so special because he allowed us to bring in Family favorites like my mom’s Apple Pie, Cheesecake and Lemon Squares, my mother in law’s Carrot Cake and my Banana Chocolate Cupcakes. All this along with the Belgian Chocolate Wedding Cake which was made by my mom.

There was one item that was never discussed when menu planning, but to me, it made all the difference on my wedding night. When the party was in full swing (and the alcohol was taking over) fresh wood fired pizzas were being served straight from the oven. There was everything from Pizza Margherita to Pizza Bianca, with toppings like chorizo and mushroom. To a bride that barely got to eat, this was a heavenly coat for a stomach quickly filling up with sparkling Rose. Again, this was yet another surprise out dear Ninong Ed had for us.

Fresh Wood Fired Pizza

There are so many beautiful memories I have of my wedding but today, I choose to remember him, who was such an integral part of it. He always told us not to worry about the cost because the food (blood sweat and tears included in preparation) would be his wedding gift. But to me, it was an unparalleled act of love on his part toward my husband and an unquestionable acceptance of me as his wife. And though the food was a great gift in deed, he truly gave us so much more during that whole time… He gave us a piece of himself that will forever be etched in my memory.

My husband with our Ninong, Chef Ed Quimson

Rest in peace Tito Ed, our Ninong, a mentor and my friend… You will forever live in our marriage and in our home through your recipies and all our loving memories together.

*All photos on this post are by the team of Pat Dy Photography

 

 

Comments

  1. Aina L. says:

    Oh, Georgia, what a beautiful tribute. Reading this entry brought tears to my eyes. Truly, Ninong Eddieboy (or Nings as my husband and I call him) was a very generous and loving person. The way he thinks of things to show you how much you mean to him, down to the smallest things that so many take for granted, you never forget them and they inspire you to somehow pay it forward. I am so touched by what you had written about him (and, thanks to Armand’s equally touching tribute on Ninong Eddieboy’s FB page, I found your blog). Thank you for sharing your love for him with the world.

  2. Jay says:

    Georgia. That was so beautifully written and composed. And what a great final picture to top off the endless flowing of emotions that this tribute opened up in my heart and soul. I am only grateful to have been a part of that special day, which only enhances the images portrayed in my mind from your ever loving and detailed memoirs. I too will forever have a piece of Tito Ed in my heart mind and soul. I wish I could have physically been there to say goodbye to the man, the myth, the legend…. Chef Ed.
    (Rest in piece my uncle, my brother and more than anything…. my friend.)

  3. sweetestgeorgiapeach says:

    Thank you so much Aina and Jay, your comments and all the positive feedback means a lot. I’m so glad people have mostly fond memories of him.

  4. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and also the rest of the site is also really good.

  5. Jonah Solano says:

    Georgia,
    I can’t believe that it’s been 6 years now since your beautiful wedding at Splendido. It was like yesterday that I can still remember clearly your Event Timeline and the endless FOOooOD!! That was ONE of the BEST weddings I’ve ever witnessed so far. Everything that day was beyond perfection!! And I’m still very honored to be a part of that celebration!
    This is such a beautiful and touching tribute to Chef Ed. And you’re right in everything that you said about him… He is indeed an INSPIRATION. He’s always been genuinely nice to everyone. I miss him dearly and I miss you and Armand too! Seeing your BEAUTIFUL daughters on facebook make me smile everytime since I’ve known you and Armand from the day you united as ONE. You are really bound to have each other, forever. I wish you and your family nothing but more years of HAPPINESS and LOVE! Happy 6th Anniversary to both of you! =)

    Much Love,
    Jonah Solano

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