Chefs on the 2020 food trend they can do without

December 24, 2020by Nino Angelo Comsti0
‘Old comforts become necessary when everything around you is unpredictable’

 

The food and beverage industry buzzword of the year is “pivot.” Because of the pandemic, we were all forced to rethink our lifestyle and businesses, and adjust to the new normal. A lot of people turned to cooking and baking not only to combat anxiety, but to earn a living, as well. Some restaurants turned to meal kits, takeout and frozen goods; some converted their space into a cloud kitchen.

It was indeed a challenging year, yet we soldiered on and managed to stay alive and afloat. These seven individuals, though, did more than just cut the mustard. They have risen to the occasion, and are closing 2020 by making a mark.

Tatung Sarthou

Chef Tatung Sarthou made the most out of being cooped up in his home by starting a YouTube channel and doing cooking demos. To date, his Simpol channel has garnered 300,000-plus subscribers, with every video amassing thousands of views. It has also led to a cookbook, which he released early this month, and which has already sold a lot of copies.

What’s your favorite quarantine food?

I can live with eggs and canned beans for a very long time.

What 2020 food trend can you do without?

Ube pan de sal, burnt cheesecake, sushi bake, Dalgona coffee. (Laughs)

What are you most thankful for this year?

I’m thankful for all the blessings I received this year, especially since my book became a bestseller despite the pandemic.

Ana de Ocampo

If there’s one restaurant that has measured up, it has to be Wildflour Cafe + Bakery, which just opened the 400-square-meter Wildflour Uptown Ritz that is perfect for the pandemic. It has a spacious grab-and-go concept and a pick-up counter where customers can order even from outside the café. In this new branch, which is currently in soft opening, Ana de Ocampo and her team also made sure to enable better views of greenery and devote 60 percent of the space to outdoor seating.

What’s your favorite quarantine food?

Old comforts become necessary when everything around you is unpredictable. That said, I am always excited about a simple serving of tuyo and rice.

What 2020 food trend can you do without?

All the nonbiodegradable packaging that’s accumulated because of this year’s food delivery boom is a sore spot. Also, socially distanced dining is what I hope goes away soon. I can’t wait for days when we can again cherish every intimate get-together over good food.

What are you most thankful for this year?

Always grateful to be healthy and doing what I love. Each day has reminded me to appreciate what’s around me—from the sweet fragrance of something freshly baked in my kitchen to any moment spent with my family.

Jordy Navarra

Jordy Navarra, along with wife May and his entire Toyo Eatery team, again places the country on the Asian culinary map by being the only restaurant in the Philippines to make the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants cut this 2020. His Panaderya Toyo also started the year right by elevating traditional Pinoy breads and pastries like santol-glazed bitcho, ensaymada, and pinya’t pork pagong.

What’s your favorite quarantine food?

Probably the spicy chicken sandwich from Sidekick or the tsukemen from Wrong Ramen on rainy days. Both dishes are from our neighbors in Karrivin, so we’ve been eating that pretty frequently.

What 2020 food trend can you do without?

Maybe my pick wouldn’t specifically be a dish or food product, but the whole crazy takeout packaging trend and the single-use waste that comes from that. Even if it’s a biodegradable plastic, most of it just ends up “degrading” into micro plastic, which is more harmful to the environment.

What are you most thankful for this year?

I’m really thankful for the people who kept Toyo alive, namely the team that was willing to push past uncertainty to make sure we could stay open, as well as the people who support us by buying and dining at Toyo and the Panaderya.

Cherrie Atilano

As soon as the lockdown was imposed, Cherrie Atilano was quick to act and help our farmers whose fresh produce was at risk of spoiling. In line with her advocacy for Agrea, a group that aims to help establish food security in the Philippines, she started the #MoveFoodInititative, an online platform that moves thousands of fruits and vegetables from different partner farms in the country.

What’s your favorite quarantine food?

Monggo soup with a lot of leafy vegetables like malunggay, alugbati, spinach and ampalaya shoots from my rooftop garden. Plus chicharon.

What 2020 food trend can you do without?

So many desserts coming out from everybody’s kitchen. I can do without desserts.

What are you most thankful for this year?

This is my humbling and healing year. Thankful for spending much time to smell the roses and focus on things that matter.

Marvin Agustin

Celebrity and restaurateur Marvin Agustin practically turned his home kitchen into a commissary, producing banana loaves, cookies and ensaymada at first and, just recently, cochinillo, too, which he has been selling close to 200 pieces of per week. Aside from that, he has been posting YouTube videos that range from cooking demos to promoting small food businesses.

What’s your favorite quarantine food?Vietnamese pho. I had to find something good and tasty but healthy kasi grabe lahat ng food na dumadating sa bahay. Napaka-sinful ng quarantine, everyone trying to create something na mapapanaginipan mo.

What 2020 food trend can you do without?

Sushi bake.

What are you most thankful for this year?

Despite the difficult situation for my family and me, I’m glad none of us has gotten sick. Thank God for that.

Karla Mendoza

One of the biggest food trends of the year is bread, and those handmade by Karla Mendoza under the brand Crafted At Home were undeniably the most in demand, with reservations two months in advance. Her sourdough and focaccia are picture-pretty, but more than that, their flavors—like bacon, potato and thyme, or sea salt and rosemary—are top-notch.

What’s your favorite quarantine food?

At first, it was pancit palabok and pancit luglug, and I tried almost everything I could find. Lola Nene’s was the best.

What 2020 food trend can you do without?

Sushi bake. I really don’t like the baked mayonnaise with “seafood.” It just goes against everything I learned about mixing dairy and seafood. And it has no texture. Also ube pan de sal.

What are you most thankful for this year?

Good health. That I came out of it without getting the virus and that my immediate family remained healthy.

JP Anglo

Given the travel restrictions, it was challenging to host and hold something we had enjoyed a lot of pre-COVID-19, namely chef collaborations and popups. But chef JP Anglo managed to do one with much success. He flew to Dubai to prepare a five-course Filipino feast in Halo Halo restaurant at the Edge Creekside Hotel. It spanned three nights, and each dinner was packed with satisfied customers.

What’s your favorite quarantine food?

The tacos, mulita, tostada from Los Tacos. There is so much care and soul in their cooking.

What 2020 food trend can you do without?

Sushi bake. Personally, I’m not a fan of it. And there’s only so much rice and mayo you can eat.

What are you most thankful for this year?

My loved ones, really, especially my wife, Camille. She’s been the driving force of Sarsa, my harshest food critic and my greatest cheerleader. I could not have pushed through or moved forward without her. INQ by Nino Angelo Comsti


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