Chef Laudico’s fresh takes on Filipino food, sometimes fusion, often inventive and always out of the ordinary have garnered him accolades for several years. He is a true kitchen fiend, having started at the “bottom” and working his way up the ladder through various restaurants over the decades. I had eaten at his Bistro Filipino in Fort Bonifacio a couple of times, and while I always appreciated his often refreshing take on things, I guess I just craved recipes that were more basic and pedestrian most of the time. But that didn’t stop me from appreciating his talent, first at restaurants that I didn’t even know he had worked at like Primavera in Greenbelt many eons ago, to Carpaccio of the Werdenberg Group of Companies. I enjoyed his food as a caterer in his early days back in Manila with his young wife at various private homes and I have worked with him in passing on a television show or two and most recently, the filming of an episode of Amazing Food Challenge – More Fun in the Philippines. So it was a bit of surprise when a friend sent me this wonderful looking hard-bound book, and I wondered how I could have missed the publication of this book over two years ago! Turns out it isn’t distributed through bookstores… and I don’t attend most book or restaurant launches, so I just didn’t hear about it!
Edited by Chef Laudico’s mother, Yola Johnson of SOUMAK fame (that fantastic local furnishing store with locally manufactured rugs, fabrics, pillows, etc.) the book is beautifully presented, with carefully arranged and photographed dishes in full color throughout the large coffee table format book. It includes Chef Laudico’s signature dishes from Bistro Filipino (which has since closed I hear) such as Prawn Sinigang served up in a Martini glass, adobo with seared foie gras, Kalderetang Kambing pastel and others. Traditionalists will recoil at some of the recipes and they way they are presented. But I salute the Chef for stepping out of the box, even if I wouldn’t step that far out most of the time. :)
Several of the recipes look more complicated than they really are, and there are quite a few that a home cook might want to attempt. Personally, I am happy to have this book amongst my collection of 600+ cookbooks, and real enthusiasts out there or foodies who enjoyed Chef Laudico’s dishes at Bistro Filipino might want to take a look at this book in more detail. It isn’t for traditional or classical Filipino recipes, but it will make you think twice or thrice about how to tweak your own pinoy recipes and discover a new way to prepare and enjoy your food.
For more information go to their website: http://www.thebistrofilipino.com/thebook.php
Also, if you are interested in acquiring the book, Ms. Johnson has graciously offered a 25% discount to Marketmanila.com readers if you pick up the book from her SOUMAK showroom in Makati.
Hard Cover PHP2,995 list price down to PHP2,246
Soft Cover PHP1,995 to PHP1,496
101 Bormaheco Condominium
Metropolitan Avenue corner Zapote St.
South Makati City
Another book you may want to browse through is this light guide to the “Best of the Best” the Philippines has to offer. Published by Simeon (Jun) Ventura at Eastgate Publishing (that also publishes Mabuhay Magazine for Philippine Airlines) in cooperation with the Philippine Department of Tourism, this book was primarily intended for distribution to visitors, dignitaries, Philippine consulates abroad, tourists, hotels, etc. The book details 22 destinations or areas in the Philippines, complete with suggested itineraries and maps to guide the visitor.
It has hundreds of photos from all parts of the archipelago. Not quite a guide book (you couldn’t lug this around with you) but rather a coffee table book, it showcases the best sights, restaurants, shopping, food items, etc. The concept was to pull together all of the things across the country that had been recognized, written about, ranked, praised as unique or superb or must do while on a visit to the country…
From Boaracay’s white beach ranked amongst the top in the world, the book meanders through one of finest shaped volcanoes at Mayon, diving amongst whale sharks, best spas, stunning rice terraces, best hotels, etc. And Zubuchon is mentioned as a must eat in Cebu to boot! Naks!
I don’t think this book is in bookstores either. But if you want to get a copy (I think hardbound was PHP2,800 or so — we bought a couple of them, but that was a few weeks ago and I can’t remember exactly how much we paid) — please contact:
Eastgate Publishing Corp., Rm 704
Prestige Tower Condominium
F. Ortigas Jr. Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Last but not least, I completely forgot to do a post on the second edition of Eat Out Now, a short but terrific guide to the good places to grab a bite in Manila and Cebu. Published last November, it has expanded its list of metro restaurants and yours truly contributed with a section on Cebu. Available from most major bookstores, I understand it flew off the shelves the second time around. I suspect work on the third edition will start in a few months time… My modest fee for writing a little blurb and helping with vetting the list was donated to The Carewell Community Foundation for support and assistance for cancer patients. They were also my beneficiary for the first edition’s fee in 2013. So I don’t get or gain anything personally if you buy this or any other books mentioned in this post. Happy browsing!