Food

Chefs and Restaurateurs in the Philippines Are Beating the Pandemic in Ingenious Ways

There's no better time to innovate.
ILLUSTRATOR Bacs Arcebal
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It was a golden age for restaurateurs. Restaurants were getting bigger, concepts were becoming more and more ambitious, international chains were setting up shop in the Philippines. Local entrepreneurs were unstoppable.

Then, the virus hit.

In a matter of days, businesses were shut down. From an industry that was on top of the world, restaurants had to settle for scraps, minimizing operations to simple delivery or pick-ups. Fast food chains started offering frozen versions in groceries. Mid-tier eateries are all but endangered. High-end restaurants are struggling to promise the same high-end value albeit remotely.

TOP STORY: Some Branches of Victoria Court Are Closing Down Indefinitely

The thriving industry has been struck down by the pandemic: a large-scale COVID-19 patient that’s surviving on proverbial respirators.

There have been casualties, but there is never a better driver for creativity than necessity. Savvier restaurateurs have already begun carving new paths. 

Josh Boutwood of Test Kitchen and Helm has prepared intricate meal setups that come with a QR code. Each code links you to a YouTube video of the acclaimed chef demonstrating exactly how to prepare the vacuum-packed food kits. It’s the closest virtual experience to Boutwood’s interpersonal serving style.

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Noted chef Chele Gonzales of the equally renowned Gallery has also delved into the chef-driven takeout experience. In Gallery At Home, Gonzalez’ Spanish dishes are encased in stunning biodegradable containers, which maintain his philosophy of highly photogenic yet remarkably responsible cuisine. In a coronavirus climate that has once again embraced single-use plastic and disposables, Gonzalez and his team have remained committed to being a zero-waste establishment.

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Some restaurants are hit harder than others. Bar Pintxos, for example, not only readjusted to the limitations of delivery services, it also had to contend with the temporary liquor ban. But its ever-optimistic owners shifted gears, giving patrons the opportunity to enjoy tapas and sangrias in the safety of their homes.

At this point, survival is the corporate catchphrase on everyone’s lips. Watch the full report below: 

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Managing Editor, EsquireMag.ph
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled SPOT.ph's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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