JV Huevos is sous chef with Mireio at Raffles Hotels & Resorts in the Philippines. Working in paradise, who does not dream of it? Read more here.

 

Today you are working as Sous Chef with Mireio at Raffles Hotels & Resorts in the Philippines. Where does your passion for cooking come from?

My passion for cooking stems from my love of food. I have the highest respect for each ingredient that goes on a plate. The technique and creativity that is involved in cooking gives me the opportunity to express my vision for life.

 

How did your chef career start/ what drove you to become a chef?

My journey to become a chef started when I was 19. I was an intern at Makati Shangri-la Hotel and was able to train in different departments such as banquets, garde-manger, housekeeping and fine dining. What drove me to become a chef was the discipline and passion it takes to be consistent each and every time you put out a dish and the freedom of creativity that is involved with this profession.

 

Which cooking school did you attend?

I finished my bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management at the National College of Business and Arts in Manila.

 

You worked for several years for Shangri-La and Marco Polo in the Philippines. How would you describe the Philippine kitchen in one sentence?

The kitchens in the Philippines are one of the most fast paced and globally competitive kitchens, composed of  the hardest working cooks I’ve ever known. It has always been inspiring to work in different kitchens, working with young talented and aspiring cooks because of their ingenuity and drive to learn.

 

Over 100 Million inhabitants and over 7,000 islands. How different is the Philippine kitchen in regards to its regions?

Ideally, each kitchen is different based on which part of the country the establishment is situated and their target market. But in the Philippines, the abundance of local ingredients such as seafood, tropical fruits, locally grown produce and regional culture makes up the different kitchens of each region.

 

As the Philippines used to be a Spanish and British colony, are there still some Spanish and British influences at the Filipino kitchen?

Yes. The Philippine’s is the melting pot of different cultures and cuisine.  Majority of Filipino dishes have been greatly influenced by our Spanish/British colonizers especially the regions of the country. Their cooking techniques and flavour profiles have greatly influenced our cuisine.

 

 

Modern Philippine Cuisine today,  how would you describe it best?

The Philippine culinary scene today is very versatile and upcoming. It constantly evolves and reinvents itself with modern techniques and molecular gastronomical methods but doesn’t shy away from its culinary traditions.

Manila, A vibrant city with millions. How would you describe the city from a culinary point of view today?

Nowadays, everything seems to be competitive. Restaurants are leaning towards the more refined cooking but giving it a modern perspective. The food scene in manila is driven by a fast-paced, young, modern creative chefs that every restaurant needs to keep up with each other.

 

Does fusion  play any role within the Philippine kitchen today?

In general, it does because even before the “Asian fusion” started, Filipino cuisine was already named the “Original fusion.”  But I personally, am a purist. If I’m cooking Italian food, I just do it simply that way because I have the utmost respect for the cuisine and their culinary history.

 

What are some of the latest trends at Makati/ Manilas food/ chef scene?

The Manila food scene today is very streamlined. More cuisines have become more obtainable to the people and a lot of modern brands have entered as well. The concept of farm-to-table is also catching on since they market the sustainability of local ingredients and the farmers.

 

What are some of the great street food dishes in Makati/ Manila?

There are a lot of street foods in the Philippines that can range from the edible parts of the chicken to the non-edible ones to some people. But the most infamous street food of all that any human being with a strong gut to even dare consume is the Balut. It is a delicacy known for developing a duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell. Another street food is the Isaw. It is the small intestinal tract of the chicken that is skewered and grilled.

 

Which spice describes the Philippines and your cooking style best?

Ginger is commonly used in Filipino cuisine ranging from rice porridge, soups and stews. I like the versatility and depth of flavour ginger adds to a dish. The subtleness and spicy characteristic of it gives it that extra kick to your cooking. For my cooking style, I like to execute it low and slow to be able to properly develop the harmonious flavour of each ingredient and achieve a result that was prepared with love and care.

 

Which desert describes the Philippine and your cooking style best?

The best dessert that I can give is the Halo-halo. As the late great Anthony Bourdain would describe it as “oddly beautiful.” The richness and variety of each ingredient marries into a sweet, indulgent guilty pleasure that is adaptable to everyone’s palate.

 

 

What are you dreams/ targets/ wishes… as a chef today?

As a chef, there is a never-ending chase of one’s dream and aspiration to be able to attain the greatest philosophy one could ever have. For me, it’s as simple as making a difference in the lives of every young cook’s dream, to constantly learn new things from each other and adapting to this world that seems to continuously evolve and grow. And most importantly, to put up my own restaurant someday cooking the food that I love doing.

 

Is there any place in the world you would like to work as chef one day?

In my years of experience as a chef, it is my dream to be able to work in Italy. There is no doubt about my love and interest of their cuisine. The abundance and freshness of their ingredients used in cooking is so amazing and more importantly the respect, passion and pure love that they devote themselves to cook delicious food.

 

How did you start your career as a chef?
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