PH made knives, legendary chocolate cakes and balut pâté
Here is my overview of the latest finds:
Every cook needs a good knife, and I recently found one that is proudly designed and handcrafted in the Philippines by Ryan David of Nacionale Bladeworks.
Nacionale was a dream David had about 15 years ago, when he was a cook and loved it, “although he only makes 150P a day,” he said. His culinary journey has not been easy. Indeed, by deciding to cook, David broke his mother’s heart. Reluctantly and in tears, she agreed to send her son to culinary school.
David remembers his first set of knives. Everyone had the same set and he wanted his to be different. As such, he had his: RyanDavid311 engraved.
He felt more comfortable with his second knife. It reflected his character and personality, plus it was meaningful. His grandfather gave him the ax, bought in China.
Chinese cuisine being his main cooking, David felt that the authenticity of his knife gave him an advantage.
He said jokingly, “It gave me superpowers! It was a mighty extension of my hand.
Family homework called him and David had to leave his first love behind to help with the family business.
Soon after joining the family business, he started a business called The Perfect White Shirt. His business has gone so well that he barely had time for anything else.
But once a cook, always a cook. In his words, “I couldn’t let go. I was proud of this life. It was an honor to have worked in a professional kitchen.
If he couldn’t be in the kitchen, at least he had to do something about the food.
When he met Karen, now his wife, his passion for food and food preparation was rekindled. Together they built a house and shared the same passion for cooking and kitchen gadgets. Luckily, he’s found a partner who supports all of his hobbies and obsessions, from skateboards to vintage cast iron pans and knives.
Two of his hobbies, skateboards and knives, turned into lucrative businesses. The Davids continued to design knives with handles made from the skateboards they make.
The couple also make cookware for chefs.
I proudly used their tools to style the dishes for “Notes From My Kitchen 2”, my next cookbook. And I was happy. They were easy to use and so beautiful. Like his knives, the tools made veneer hassle-free. (nacionalebladeworks.com; @nacionalebladeworks on Instagram)
There are messages you are happy to receive, like the one from Tiny Guidotti of Cakes by Louise, especially when he says, “We are the family that made Cookie Monster chocolate cakes.
The iconic 70s cake is back and it’s exactly how I remember it. Dense but soft, moist, gooey and chocolatey.
Vicki Guidotti was one of the founders, owners and pastry chefs of Cookie Monster bakery which was established in 1977. At the time, their legendary chocolate cakes were a Sunday staple for virtually everyone. The beloved chocolate cake is making a comeback.
Louise, Manoli and Tiny’s 13-year-old daughter, began cooking with her father and grandmother Vicki during lockdown. The young woman, under the supervision of her lola, has since perfected Vicki’s valuable recipes and now has her own budding home business which she calls Cakes by Louise. In her list is the same old banana cream pie and fruit cake from her lola’s bakery.
Indeed, there was no such thing at the time. Now savor a blast from the past. (Tel. 0920-9098459, @ cakes.bylouise on Instagram)
When Chef Redd Agustin sends me food from his kitchen, it’s always something to look forward to. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of his chicharon pupor and now his luxurious balut pâté.
Silky, smooth, light and sublime whipped, it can only be compared to foie gras pâté, in texture and in the mouth. It’s delicious and my best personal pâté of the year.
Agustin learned how to perfect his balut pâté from his mentor, the late chef Ed Quimson. It’s easy to make and the ingredients aren’t complicated: 16-day-old duck eggs, chicken liver, fresh thyme, cream and butter.
The secret lies in the way the liver is cooked and the brand of butter used.
“Like all dishes, kung ano ang mahal, ‘yun ang masarap,” Agustin joked.
This balut pâté is divine and worth every calorie! (Tel. 0917-4382133; @theporkproject on Instagram) INQ
Follow the author on @iamreggieaspiras on Instagram and Facebook; reggieaspiras.com.