PARK AVENUE DESSERTS
From Punk Rock Pioneer to President of the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines: the unlikely journey of Park Avenue Bakery & Café’s Chef Buddy Trinidad
“S hould I stay or should I go?” I’m guessing if some young indie director decided to make a documentary about Chef Buddy Trinidad, that song would play over the film’s trailer. It’s apt. I’m imagining the chef as a young musician in the mid-‘80s,, guitar slung over his shoulders, shot in grainy 16mm, in black and white of course, looking both sullen and soulful as he glares into the camera, as a rock star should. The trailer then cuts to 1999, where everything turns shiny and glossy and sophisticated: a tracking shot, Buddy on the move, now as a chef on the rise in Stars in Glorietta, the Philippine outpost of one of the best restaurants in the world, working with no less than the legendary Jeremiah Tower. The trailer ends in the present day, as Mr. Trinidad, now the President of the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines, is seen in the busy production area of Park Avenue Bakery & Café in Magallanes, mentoring a group of promising culinary professionals, inspiring them, rocking their world, as that song by The Clash fades to the unmistakable scratch of a turntable’s needle sliding off a 45 single. The chef has found his home.
Buddy still plays regular gigs with Betrayed, the seminal Pinoy punk rock band that’s deeply influenced most of the legit OPM rockers in the past quarter century. Park Avenue’s commissary, not to be outdone, has been the training ground of many of the most accomplished new pastry chefs, millennials now making waves in the industry. To be at the nexus of two very distinct but still, quite similar disciplines is indeed unconventional and rare. But somehow, Buddy’s found himself right in the intersection of both. Music, not unlike baking, relies on precision and the mastery of a craft. And baking’s best, just like music, will always be derived from a sublime combination of creativity and passion. And to sustain one’s popularity and relevance in an ever competitive and yes, cluttered field, a musician or a culinary pro can’t rely just on the “Best of…”. There
always a demand for something new to go along with the classics.
A few months ago, Buddy and his wife Rita changed the name of their very popular pastry shop, Park Avenue Desserts, to the more widely encompassing, and more appropriate, Park Avenue Bakery & Café. There will be a distinct emphasis on artisanal breads – the new “Crazin” is insane in the best way possible – chockfull of raisins, cranberries, and a whole lot of macadamias. The change will also highlight many of their bestsellers, which are actually savory items: pasta and sandwiches, all made from scratch. There’s constant change in Park Avenue, and somehow, each iteration, each invention, elevates what came before. Everyone’s favorite Red Velvet isn’t a cupcake here; instead it takes the form of a very French creation: an Opera cake. Another sexy reinterpretation: the silkiest leche flan imaginable seamlessly sits above a caramel cake, creamy and satin smooth.
Looking around the shop’s shelves and peering into the chillers, there’s almost an embarrassment of riches; the Park Avenue branches in Paseo de Magallanes and in Rustan’s Makati almost seem too small to contain Buddy’s bursts of creativity. So it’s good to know that plans are afoot for three more outlets set to open in 2018. That’s what rock stars do best after all. They keep on coming up with the hits!
“BUDDY CAME HOME IN 1999 TO BE THE EXECUTIVE CHEF OF “STARS” IN GLORIETTA, THE PHILIPPINE OUTPOST OF ONE OF THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN THE WORLD, WORKING WITH NO LESS THAN THE LEGENDARY JEREMIAH TOWER.”
02 1 Chocolate Croissant 2 Red Velvet 3 Grilled Rosemary Chicken with Tomato Jam 4 Creamy Caramel Custard Cake 5 Chef Buddy Trinidad