A culinary autobiography

Any chef’s repertoire is autobiographical. You’ll see many elements of my childhood, my professional fine dining training, other chefs I’ve worked with, chefs I’ve only read about…it’s all there, and it’s a story that’s still evolving.

Growing up, my mother cooked Filipino food. Back then you couldn’t just go to the local grocery store to find baby bok choy so she grew everything in our tiny yard. Mom cooked traditional Filipino stews with oxtail and honeycomb tripe. Dad used to take me to the Fish Market and we’d come home with a bag of snails, steam them up and then share them from a huge bowl in the middle of the table. My sisters and I learned how to pick out the curly snails with toothpicks and slurp up the juices. Mom also made a pork dish with a rich sauce made from pig’s blood. Whenever we had American friends over, we would deviously refer to this dish as “Chocolate Meat”. They always loved it. Sometimes we’d tell them. Sometimes we wouldn’t.

The most fun to eat was pig knuckle soup because you needed to use your hands to gnaw on the bones. As a chef I wonder why pig knuckles aren’t used more in sauce making. The gelatin from it would naturally give structure to thinner broths that could then be used as sauces that napped the spoon. But I digress.

I love making food that other chefs would want to eat at the end of their long nights. I want food that’s modern and authentic at the same time. This blog is about where I’ve been and what I find fascinating today.

Chef Silvia’s recent trip to Spain and fascination with Ferran Adria has made her look to the Spanish roots in her native Filipino cuisine. Here is her modern take on empanadas, filled pastries, that are found in Latin American countries as well as the Philippines.

Wild Boar with Quail Egg
Southern Smoked Pulled Pork and Collards
Braised Oxtail and Celery Root Mash Potato
French Cabernet Poulet and Carmelized Onions
Adobo Chicken and Snap Pea Stir Fry
Organic Turkey with Apple and Sage Stuffing
Steak Au Poivre and Grainy Mustard Aioli
Star-Anise Duck Confit and Chanterelle Mushroom
Sangria Poached Pear, Gorgonzola and Candied Pecans
Simply Roasted Garnet Sweet Potato


February 28, 2009 at 1:43 am 2 comments

Professional Competition: Gingerbread

Here is my gingerbread competition entry: a four-foot structure showing baking skills, sugar work, icing decoration, and fondant work. This was submitted by The Art Institute of Atlanta, Culinary Arts Program. I couldn’t have done it without the help of two main students: Irene Buntaran and Maia Suzuki.

May 13, 2010 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Master Recipe: Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

Once you make this fruity infused sauce, you will never buy prepared sauce again. It does not use thickener but relies on reduction for its syrupy consistency.

Continue Reading May 10, 2010 at 6:48 am Leave a comment

Master Recipe: Dumplings

This is a master recipe from which you can make an unlimited variety of filled appetizers.

Continue Reading May 8, 2010 at 10:35 pm Leave a comment


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