One of the chefs competing for KULTURA 2013's KAIN KALYE is Gavin Vasquez, or as he would like to be called, Chef G. For the street food competition, he will prepare plantain & jackfruit turon with vanilla ice cream. Get to know this up and coming chef with this feature!
Having worked in the hospitality industry for over 10 years, Chef G has climbed the ranks from dishwasher to Chef de Partie. Citing work experience from institutions such as the Sheraton Hotel, Flow, and Far Niente, Chef G has a background in Italian and French cuisine, which he intends to fuze with Filipino ingredients and craft them into merienda-sized (small snack size) portions.
Lets get to the questions --->
Who or what inspired/forced you to pursue cooking as a career?
I would say my grandmother (my dad's mom) was my initial inspiration to cooking since she was the one who raised me and my cousins. She always had breakfast, merienda,lunch, merienda, dinner,merienda; she prepares food for us so we were never hungry. I still remember: me and my cousin would walk with her like a little gang to the super market picking the best fruits and freshest fish. My grandmother always loved to eat, so it was surely passed on to me. I was never forced by anyone; to chase this career as a chef, my heart and my passion is what made follow the road I walk today.
What was the first Filipino dish you cooked on your own? How did you execute?
Before my chef training, I tried making a preserved salted cod dish. When I was young, I did not know that the brine had to be taken out, so it turned out very salty.I learned that you’re supposed to soak the fish in water overnight, drain the water in the morning, and do a 2nd stage of soaking. The fish would then be battered then fried, sauted with bell peppers, onions, and diced tomatoes, then served over rice.
What's a dish that your mother (or family cook) could never make tasty (for you)? Why?
The preserved salted cod dish was probably my 2nd favorite dish my grandmother cooked. I don't think there has ever been a dish in my house that was ever flavorless. Everyone in my family are passionate foodies we all love to eat. I guess the most boring thing was fried hot dogs or spam or baloney with egg, but I still enjoy it!
You cook Italian. Filipino spaghetti: Yay or Nay?
Not the biggest fan of Filipino spaghetti, so nay. But the closest thing to me making it would have to be just adding hot dogs to my spaghetti.
Interview by Manuel Luis Veneracion