Chef Josh Boutwood’s new ven­ture.

ENGLISH-BORN, SPAN­ISH-BRED, AND FILIPINO IN HIS HEART AND SOUL, JOSH BOUTWOOD IS MANILA’S SU­PER­STAR CHEF OF THE MO­MENT.

Town & Country (Philippines) - - CONTENTS / APRIL - Pro­duced by Ali­cia Colby Sy Pho­to­graphs by Kai Huang

As the cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tive chef of the Bistro Group, Josh Boutwood has proven that he knows a thing or two about qual­ity, con­sis­tency, and run­ning a large-scale food busi­ness, but it is his pri­vate din­ing room, The Test Kitchen, that has brought him into the culi­nary lime­light. This month he opens a new eatery in Pobla­cion that prom­ises to bring out the “sav­age” in all of us.

I DROPPED OUT OF COOK­ING SCHOOL IN SPAIN AF­TER TWO MONTHS BE­CAUSE I WAS EX­TREMELY BORED.

I grew up with par­ents who owned res­tau­rants and I felt I was be­ing taught things that I al­ready knew from work­ing in my mum’s kitchen through the years. Need­less to say, when my mother re­al­ized that I dropped out she was very dis­ap­pointed, and the next day I packed my bags and headed to the United King­dom to be­gin an ap­pren­tice­ship at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons.

WORK­ING AT NOMA OPENED MY EYES TO A WHOLE NEW WORLD.

My ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing there changed the way I looked at food, but it was at Svane­holms Slott in Swe­den where I honed my skills and tech­nique, while still man­ag­ing to in­te­grate them in a mod­ern style of cook­ing.

I AM A “SELECTIONIST” AND ONLY USE PROD­UCTS WHEN I FEEL THEY ARE AT THEIR PRIME.

I do not com­pli­cate an in­gre­di­ent to mask its true fla­vor and pre­fer to let it speak for it­self. When an in­gre­di­ent is prime, I may choose to use it while its fla­vor is at its peak or even un­til it be­comes weak or faint. I put great em­pha­sis on lo­cal prod­ucts but choose not to be bound by them. Although my per­sonal style of cui­sine is in­gre­di­ent-driven, my dishes are usu­ally com­prised of only three ma­jor in­gre­di­ents.

SAV­AGE IS GO­ING TO BE THE BAS­TARD BROTHER OF THE TEST KITCHEN.

He is rough around the edges, not se­ri­ous at all, and will only serve small plates. A per­fect fit in the Pobla­cion neigh­bor­hood, ev­ery­thing served will be prein­dus­trial, mean­ing noth­ing will be cooked us­ing gas. Grilling and roast­ing will be the cook­ing meth­ods of choice.

WE ARE ON THE CUSP OF SOME­THING UNIMAGINABLE.

Manila has cre­ated an epi­cen­ter that can ri­val any other coun­try’s cap­i­tal when it comes to food and cui­sine. The ri­valry be­tween chefs here is close to nonex­is­tent and ev­ery­one wants the other to suc­ceed. I have never ex­pe­ri­enced that any­where else in the world. The evo­lu­tion of the Philip­pine din­ing scene can only be pre­dicted by the restau­ra­teurs’ and chefs’ ca­pac­ity to cre­ate new con­cepts. I have no doubt that we are go­ing to be the cen­ter for culi­nary des­ti­na­tions very soon, if we are not al­ready. «

t&c

DrESSED to IM­PrESS Dishes from Boutwood’s re­cently opened the test Kitchen.

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