An­other Daza restau­rant ad­dresses the fu­ture of Filipino food

Chef Sandy Daza is yet on an­other mis­sion to high­light Filipino food

Northern Living - - CONTENTS - TEXT YAZHMIN MALAJITO PHO­TOG­RA­PHY SA­MAN­THA ONG AND CASA DAZA

An adage wouldn’t sur­vive time if it didn’t hold at least a lit­tle truth. That’s why the say­ing “When one door closes, an­other opens,” re­mains a pop­u­lar plat­i­tude, and it’s one that celebrity chef Sandy Daza re­lates to.

Daza, who’s also a TV show host and food colum­nist, has opened a new restau­rant. Don’t get us wrong: Wooden Spoon hasn’t closed down. In fact, its last branch stand­ing in Rock­well still bus­tles and over­flows with din­ers. How­ever, con­flict be­tween Daza and his then-busi­ness part­ner had robbed the chef of the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pand his first sit-down restau­rant, which means as far as Daza is con­cerned, there won’t be any new Wooden Spoon branch open­ing any­more.

“What used to be my dream for Wooden Spoon is now for Casa Daza,” he says. This means that once his team has per­fected the first branch’s dy­nam­ics, he’ll be on a mis­sion to es­tab­lish more Casa Dazas in dif­fer­ent spots in the metro.

Giv­ing up has no place in the chef’s mind, any­way. He’s had his fair share of failed busi­nesses in the past, which he calls “hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ences.” And if these mis­steps did any­thing, it was to fuel him to reach his goal of mak­ing peo­ple say, “Ang sarap pala ng pagkain ng Pilip­inas.” The menu for Casa Daza isn’t too dif­fer­ent

from Wooden Spoon’s, which is ba­si­cally the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of the chef’s culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ences. He still holds true to his “fa­mil­iar fla­vors, un­usual dishes” con­cept with the likes of the good old adobong kangkong topped with crunchy le­chon kawali bites. There’s more pork to be in­dulged in with Daza’s hy­brid of two Filipino clas­sics: the din­uguang bag­net, a dish the chef had dis­cov­ered at Dawang’s Place in San Ni­co­las, Ilo­cos Norte. For dessert, try his own take on maja blanca called reyna blanca, a melt-in-your-mouth co­conut flan driz­zled with sweet sauce and topped with crispy pinipig. It’s also a clas­sic sweet treat from Gal­ing Gal­ing, the Er­mita restau­rant that his mother, the late Nora Daza, opened and ran in the ’70s.

While Wooden Spoon will cease open­ing new branches, the ar­rival of Casa Daza and ev­ery­thing it prom­ises is a great trade-off— es­pe­cially when it means that we still get to eat true Filipino com­fort food whipped up by a sea­soned chef’s hands.

The menu for Casa Daza isn’t too dif­fer­ent from Wooden Spoon’s, which is ba­si­cally the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of the chef ’s culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ences.

Casa Daza’s ban­gus sisig is the guilt-free al­ter­na­tive to its sin­ful pork coun­ter­part.

Clock­wise from above: Din­uguang bag­net com­bines two Pi­noy clas­sics; sago cake is their own ver­sion of bib­ingkang malagkit; Casa Daza's interiors

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