Lifestyle Asia

THE TRAVELING CHEF

Chef RV MANABAT traverses the world over in search of culinary bits of wisdom to share

- Text EDU JARQUE Photo courtesy of RV MANABAT

He was baptized Rudolf Vincent T. Man a bat. However, he is commonly known as Chef RV Manabat—a name familiar to some, due to his massive online presence, with approximat­ely 185,000 YouTube subscriber­s and 675,000 Facebook followers. And it consistent­ly grows each time he opens his oven!

This 30-year-old kitchen whiz from Biñan, Laguna has regularly explored the world, immersing himself to as many culinary experience­s as possible. This he does so he can successful­ly share his lessons learned back home to whoever is interested.

And he has not stopped. Ever!

Armed with a Culinary Arts degree from the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutio­n Management of the De La SalleColle­ge of Saint Benilde in 2012, he opted to teach at a local college in Sta. Rosa, Laguna for a year. This was in preparatio­n to pursue a postgradua­te Masters in Gastronomy, Major in Food, Wine and Cheese Studies from the Boston University, a private research institutio­n by the Charles River.

With a passion to further impart his expertise locally, Manabat became a chef-instructor at the Maya Kitchen Culinary Center Manila, which is a mainstay household brand for nearly five decades. He followed this up by a teaching stint with the Christian Brothers at his alma mater.

It was at this period he authored his bestsellin­g cookbook Baking Secrets, followed by the sequel More

Baking Secrets six years later.

He soon ventured to foreign shores once again. His goal now was a diploma course in French Patisserie at the Ecole National Superiore de la Patisserie in Yssingeaux, an idyllic commune in south-central France.

Manabat eventually took a leap of faith and opened his home kitchen to seven housewives and home-bakers who wished to acquire the fundamenta­ls of pastrymaki­ng. The once-a-week sessions immediatel­y ballooned to thrice-aweek meetings with 35 participan­ts.

Yearning for more enlightenm­ent, he found himself enrolled in a Master Chocolatie­r Program at the Chocolate Academy, a long-standing institutio­n with internatio­nal guest chefs, in the quaint municipali­ty of Wieze in Belgium.

To update his craftsmans­hip, he signed up for a revered cake decorating course at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, which specialize­s in award-winning entreprene­urialfocus­ed programs.

Upon his return to our islands, he decided to focus his full-time efforts on his growing number of eager apprentice­s. He

eventually launched his Boutique Cooking and Baking Studio which showcases internatio­nal cuisine, lifestyle baking and catering programs.

This was coupled with his eponymous café-restaurant in his beloved hometown to provide a physical and community venue for supportive and loyal patrons to his home-cooked, proudly

timplang Biñan meals and home-baked treats of delectable selections of cakes and pastries.

In the years after, he followed his desire to travel to most continents, to include courses at the French Pastry School in Chicago, as well as specialty certificat­e courses in Asian cuisine in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea, to absorb, assimilate, master and finally impart tidbits, formulas, conundrums and secrets.

Due to the current COVID pandemic, his face-to-face workshops and seminars have been put to a halt and his dining operations are presently limited only to take-out.

Not a minute wasted, he instantly ramped up his social media presence—he has been a well-known internet personalit­y since 2019—and doubled his efforts in creating cooking and baking video tutorials for those who seek a new hobby or start a new business.

One recent afternoon, we had the opportunit­y to chat with this man who leaves no stone unturned. Then he shared his perseverin­g adventures (at times, misadventu­res) as he tried to obtain secrets of his todream recipes.

“ThoughI trustcooki­ng schools,I wandered aroundthe marketsand sidewalkst­o observehow thelocalsc­ook thisdish”

 ??  ?? RV Manabat
skiing at Grindelwal­d,
Switzerlan­d
RV Manabat skiing at Grindelwal­d, Switzerlan­d
 ??  ?? ON SUSHI IN TOKYO, JAPAN “For perfect sushi, the freshest fish is a must. In Tokyo, there’s no other place than the Tsukiji Fish Market. To seriously and closely observe the pros, I had several lunches at sushi bars around the area to witness authentic sushi preparatio­n. Findings: it starts with prime cuts of fish and vinegared rice, coupled with proper, well-balanced pressure from absolutely clean bare hands. It takes a lot of patience, practice and experience!”
ON SUSHI IN TOKYO, JAPAN “For perfect sushi, the freshest fish is a must. In Tokyo, there’s no other place than the Tsukiji Fish Market. To seriously and closely observe the pros, I had several lunches at sushi bars around the area to witness authentic sushi preparatio­n. Findings: it starts with prime cuts of fish and vinegared rice, coupled with proper, well-balanced pressure from absolutely clean bare hands. It takes a lot of patience, practice and experience!”
 ??  ?? ON PHỞ IN SAIGON, VIETNAM “According to my Vietnamese teacher at the Saigon Culinary Center, the secret to good Pho is to caramelize the herbs and spices on an open fire. This will enhance the natural flavor of the soup. Though I trust cooking schools, I wandered around the markets and sidewalks to observe how the locals cook this dish. The teacher was right; the aroma of the soup came from the caramelize­d spices.”
ON PHỞ IN SAIGON, VIETNAM “According to my Vietnamese teacher at the Saigon Culinary Center, the secret to good Pho is to caramelize the herbs and spices on an open fire. This will enhance the natural flavor of the soup. Though I trust cooking schools, I wandered around the markets and sidewalks to observe how the locals cook this dish. The teacher was right; the aroma of the soup came from the caramelize­d spices.”
 ??  ?? ON FRIED CHICKEN IN TAIPEI, TAIWAN “At the basement of the world-famous Shilin Market, diners wait in long lines for this heavensent chicken: so crispy, so flavorful and no sauce needed. Per the owner, the factors are in the marinade: just soy sauce and some spices. And lastly, in the frying, on consistent­ly hot oil for the exterior extra crisp. You have an option to dust the chicken with garlic powder.”
ON FRIED CHICKEN IN TAIPEI, TAIWAN “At the basement of the world-famous Shilin Market, diners wait in long lines for this heavensent chicken: so crispy, so flavorful and no sauce needed. Per the owner, the factors are in the marinade: just soy sauce and some spices. And lastly, in the frying, on consistent­ly hot oil for the exterior extra crisp. You have an option to dust the chicken with garlic powder.”
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? The YouTube sensation in action
The YouTube sensation in action
 ??  ?? ON BRIOCHE IN PARIS, FRANCE “Almost all brioches taste similar, but some stand out. A baker at a charming boulangeri­e at the L’Opera district proudly revealed his concoction: 'Use Normandy Butter and plenty of egg yolks. Don't forget to rest it overnight to let the gluten develop slowly. For the golden crust while leaving the interior ultimately soft and buttery, use an excellent convection oven.' "
ON BRIOCHE IN PARIS, FRANCE “Almost all brioches taste similar, but some stand out. A baker at a charming boulangeri­e at the L’Opera district proudly revealed his concoction: 'Use Normandy Butter and plenty of egg yolks. Don't forget to rest it overnight to let the gluten develop slowly. For the golden crust while leaving the interior ultimately soft and buttery, use an excellent convection oven.' "
 ??  ?? ON CHEESE FONDUE IN GRINDELWAL­D, SWITZERLAN­D “I visited a bakery-restaurant in this village, known to serve classic cheese fondue with a home-style method. ‘Add Gruyere, Emmenthal, white wine and liquor. The amount of alcohol varies on how happy you are,’ shared the owner with a cheeky smile. ‘Oh, please make sure to use freshly-baked bread to complement the cheese mixture well!’ ”
ON CHEESE FONDUE IN GRINDELWAL­D, SWITZERLAN­D “I visited a bakery-restaurant in this village, known to serve classic cheese fondue with a home-style method. ‘Add Gruyere, Emmenthal, white wine and liquor. The amount of alcohol varies on how happy you are,’ shared the owner with a cheeky smile. ‘Oh, please make sure to use freshly-baked bread to complement the cheese mixture well!’ ”
 ??  ?? ON PAELLA IN BARCELONA, SPAIN “On the second floor of the popular Mercato de La Boqueria, there’s a cooking school for foreigners specializi­ng on this national treasure. Their hidden ingredient: the sofrito, otherwise known as the sauté mix. Caramelize­d onions and near-burnt pimiento are the keys to achieve a golden-colored paella without any artificial colorant. It guarantees good authentic smoky aroma and long-lasting flavor!”
ON PAELLA IN BARCELONA, SPAIN “On the second floor of the popular Mercato de La Boqueria, there’s a cooking school for foreigners specializi­ng on this national treasure. Their hidden ingredient: the sofrito, otherwise known as the sauté mix. Caramelize­d onions and near-burnt pimiento are the keys to achieve a golden-colored paella without any artificial colorant. It guarantees good authentic smoky aroma and long-lasting flavor!”
 ??  ?? ON PAO DE QUEIJO IN RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL “I love cheese bread, usually dipped in olive oil with sea salt. I frequented the Churrascar­ia Palace—my favorite restaurant in the entire world—and the waiters were extra friendly. But they were not friendly enough to divulge the recipe. In Copacabana, I chanced upon a bakery that baked this treat at least eight times a day. I just sat there and asked the necessary questions. The enigma? Just tapioca flour, cheese and a hot oven. Throughout my stay, I would buy bagsful of this famous pastry. I brought home two cans of the original Portuguese olive oil and packs of unadultera­ted Brazilian sea salt to celebrate and commemorat­e this hard-earned discovery.
ON PAO DE QUEIJO IN RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL “I love cheese bread, usually dipped in olive oil with sea salt. I frequented the Churrascar­ia Palace—my favorite restaurant in the entire world—and the waiters were extra friendly. But they were not friendly enough to divulge the recipe. In Copacabana, I chanced upon a bakery that baked this treat at least eight times a day. I just sat there and asked the necessary questions. The enigma? Just tapioca flour, cheese and a hot oven. Throughout my stay, I would buy bagsful of this famous pastry. I brought home two cans of the original Portuguese olive oil and packs of unadultera­ted Brazilian sea salt to celebrate and commemorat­e this hard-earned discovery.
 ??  ?? ON LOBSTER ROLLS IN BOSTON, USA “Comfort food during my graduate school days. A local chef from Maine—where lobsters reign supreme—expressed the code: ‘Start with freshlyboi­led lobster. Crumble its meat just until chunky. Add mayonnaise, old bay seasoning, some lemon juice and salt and pepper. And of course, good brioche to blanket the goodness. That’s it!’ ”
ON LOBSTER ROLLS IN BOSTON, USA “Comfort food during my graduate school days. A local chef from Maine—where lobsters reign supreme—expressed the code: ‘Start with freshlyboi­led lobster. Crumble its meat just until chunky. Add mayonnaise, old bay seasoning, some lemon juice and salt and pepper. And of course, good brioche to blanket the goodness. That’s it!’ ”

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