Adventurous and a big dreamer, the half-British, half-Filipino chef Josh Boutwood clearly knows what he wants—to cook, not to pause, and strive for greater heights. These definitely manifest in his role as the corporate executive chef of the Bistro Group, a collection of dining brands and homegrown concepts, as well as being the chef-cum-owner of the much talkedabout reservations-only restaurant, The Test Kitchen.
At a young age, he has impressed crowds with his culinary prowess, winning three medals, of which one is gold, at the Food Hotel Culinary Challenge in Singapore in 2016. Not only that; he has bagged a number of golds, silvers, and bronzes at the World Food Expo’s Philippine Culinary Cup of the World, and has been awarded Chef of the Year in 2013 and 2014. Last year, Boutwood was also one of the selected presenters at the prestigious Madrid Fusion Manila.
As the creative force behind The Test Kitchen, the 20-seater restaurant has awed patrons from all over the country with his exquisite produce-driven cuisine and unique dining experience. Almost similar to the Japanese concept of putting one’s self into the chef’s hands, here, Boutwood takes a fanciful adventurous approach to cooking. Every dish that comes out of his open kitchen embodies synergy, each using three primary ingredients that seamlessly play with each other in terms of flavours and textures. This, therefore, creates a triad of balance that engages the senses. There is a surprise in each bite, which is sure to delight both the purist and the adventurous. Bold and daring as it may seem, there is also a room for traditional dining concepts. Classic pairings are also often given an interesting twist.
With his creativity, attention to details, understanding of ingredients and how to make them stand out in a unique way, Boutwood sits on the throne (and deserves) this year’s Best New Chef award.