Top chefs who make din­ing out an art

Cebu Living - - Front Page - By PAOLO TRINIDAD BERDIN

The spot­light put on chefs, through TV shows and re­al­ity com­pe­ti­tions, has made the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion aware that there is more to be­ing a chef than just fin­ish­ing culi­nary school or be­ing able to cook a num­ber of dishes. In­stead, chefs take charge and more im­por­tantly, man­age a team of peo­ple. Chefs are able to han­dle the great pres­sure of work­ing in a kitchen. Cebu has no short­age of th­ese pro­fes­sion­als, and we at Cebu Liv­ing have talked to 10 of the best on the is­land, each one with his or her dis­tinct per­son­al­ity and flair.


Restau­rants: Abaca, A Café, Be­qaa, Maya, Phat Pho, Tavolata

Best sell­ers: Hand­made pas­tas, meat dishes Pro­file: Cebu has seen an in­flux of new din­ing places in re­cent years. The lo­cal scene has wel­comed new restau­rants with con­cepts that are com­pletely fresh, ones that fo­cus on the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence as a whole. Aside from the im­mense at­ten­tion placed on food, the same amount of im­por­tance is also given to other as­pects—from the level of ser­vice to in­te­rior de­sign, and ev­ery­thing in be­tween. One of the peo­ple mainly re­spon­si­ble for this move­ment is Ja­son Hy­att, ex­ec­u­tive chef and found­ing part­ner of the Abaca Group, to­gether with his team of young pro­fes­sion­als both in front and at back of the house.

Hy­att’s culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence is the stuff the dreams of as­pir­ing chefs are made of. With more than 25 years of ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt, he has worked in var­i­ous es­tab­lish­ments, each one dis­tinct and no­table, on three dif­fer­ent con­ti­nents. He has cooked in the kitchens of no­table ho­tels, Miche­lin-rated restau­rants, and bustling en­ter­tain­ment dis­tricts in the Amer­i­cas, Europe, and Asia. He now has his base on the shores of Cebu, where the Abaca Group’s es­tab­lish­ments in­clude a bou­tique re­sort and seven restau­rants. The ef­fort re­quired to run all this doesn’t stop Hy­att, as there are plans of open­ing two more out­lets in the com­ing months, and a 40-room re­sort with three restau­rants in 2016.

When asked how he has man­aged to achieve all of this, he an­swers, with­out hes­i­ta­tion, “Hard work and an amaz­ing staff. We love what we do, and can’t imag­ine do­ing any­thing else.”


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