Chef Chele Gonzalez returns with more amazing culinary magic in his new Gallery.
An excerpt from the novel by Christopher Priest that was transformed into Christopher Nolan’s epic film: “Every great magic trick consists of three parts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, for example. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret... but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.”
Chef Chele Gonzalez’s Gallery is home to authentic culinary wizardry, the likes of which have never been seen or experienced in the country. It’s where simple, everyday Filipino ingredients are metamorphosed into glamourous, amusing bouches and bites.
Our humble pan de sal, for example, reinterpreted as a macaron that has the unmistakable look of our daily bread; but instead of liver spread, the halves of the pastry sandwich a savory sweet adobo cream. Or a purple soft taco made from ube, the flavors subtle but defined, topped with heavenly tender pulpo. And a dramatically dark puto, infused with pig’s blood, a conjoined dinuguan appetizer topped with salmon roe. It’s Filipino. But somehow, it more than Filipino. Call it “The Pledge”.
The first incarnation of this Gallery was Vask. In 2013, it broke the mold, and changed expectations of what a local restaurant could be. The potential
for bewitchment of Filipino ingredients, unleashed, by a chef who had worked at Arzak and El Bulli, two the most globally influential restaurants ever. Vask was years ahead of its time: in its service, its interiors, its experimentation, and its menu. It was intimidating to many, and perhaps, most were not ready. Five years later, the restaurant’s reinvented itself. It’s no less forward thinking, but this time0, 3 Fine Dining is now also Fun Dining. That’s “The Turn”.
Which leads to “The Prestige”. The Gallery, newly reopened, is indeed, the house that conjures up stunning world class dishes that would be perfectly at home in Netflix’s groundbreaking “Chef ’s Table” series. Classic European cooking techniques, endemic Filipino ingredients, and si, por supuesto, a distinct and proud Spanish approach. It is, simply put, one of the best, and yes, most prestigious restaurants in the Philippines, and surely, now, more enchanting and better than ever, one of the best in the world.
05 Gallery by Chele is located at 5th Floor, CLIPP Center, 11th Avenue corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City. 0917 546 1673.
06 1 Black Blinis: salmon roe-sour cream-blood rice cake2 Cap: wagyu tenderloin-laing sauce3 Ube Taco: octopus adobomushroom emulsion4 Dining Area5 Tiger’s Milk: oyster-cevichecashew6 Chef Carlo Villaflor and Chef Chele Gonzalez