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Inspiring chef, fabulous food

Millions of Filipino TV viewers around the world have fallen in love with a chef named Boy, whose folksy ways and undeniable Visayan accent understate his achievements in the highly competitive international world of culinary arts.

Chef Pablo “Boy” Logro disarms everyone, from TV audiences to hotel diners, with his rags-to-riches true story of a poor boy from the hinterlands of Mindanao working as a restaurant helper and working his way up the kitchen ladder to become the country’s first ever de luxe hotel Filipino executive chef.

After years of cooking for high society clientele around the world, Chef Boy has come home to roost, and to serve as inspiration while continuing to do what he loves most: preparing dishes that are beautiful, nutritious, and ecologically sound.

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  • Ginger Soya Poached Chicken (Manila Bulletin)
  • Baby Back Ribs (Manila Bulletin)
  • Grilled Rack of Lamb with Malunggay Puree and Guava Mint Glaze (Manila Bulletin)
  • Beef Salficados, Grilled German Sausage and Crispy Shrimp Popper (Manila Bulletin)
  • Pan-fried Tilapia with Chorizo and Citrus Beurre Blanc (Manila Bulletin)
  • Cream of Corn Soup with Avocado and Shrimp Tartar (Manila Bulletin)
  • Kahlua Chocolate Marquis (Manila Bulletin)
  • Celebrity chef Boy Logro (Manila Bulletin)

South of the Border — Our first encounter with Chef Boy’s cooking was at the Acacia Hotel in Alabang, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary by featuring him as guest chef at The Lobby, A Steakhouse, Acaci Coffee Shop, Tree Top Lounge, and for its 24-hour in-room dining service.

In collaboration with Acacia Hotel head chef Aldo Palaypay, the menus of all the hotel’s outlets are featuring specially-designed dishes that reflect the Philippines’ culinary diversity as well as Spanish-inspired dishes which have become part of Filipino celebration menus.

We who venture south of the border to have lunch at the Acaci Coffee Shop, though daunted by the expected traffic, were glad we made the trip. The food was excellent, well-defined in its straight forward approach and devoid of distracting artsy-fartsy décor.

Crowd favorite Paluto – The coffee shop’s Paluto corner, a permanent feature, appears to be a favorite among old and new clients who rave over the freshness of all the raw ingredients on display: squid, salmon head, salmon belly, tuna slices, chicken, pork, and beef loin, various shellfish, marinated meats and fish cuts, and fresh vegetables.

A blackboard lists the chef’s suggested dishes for the Paluto: sinigang, sweet-sour, Thai curry, grilled, steamed, deep fried, buttered, tom yum. My combined salmon belly and squid rings in Thai curry sauce came out sweetish, spicy, and thick with coconut cream. It was perfect with plain rice.

Almost everyone wanted to make paluto so I was lucky to have been among the first in line.

Soup-to-Dessert Perfection – Cream of corn soup with avocado and shrimp tartar sounded a bit different, as I had never had avocado in a soup or any hot savory dish. It turned out to be quite refreshing, dominated by the natural sweetness of the pureed fresh corn, tamed just a bit by firm chunks of avocado and minced shrimps. All it needed was coarse ground black pepper to perk it up a bit.

The baby back ribs were rubbed with spiced coffee for to-the-bones flavor which blended well with the thick barbecue glaze. Hainanese chicken was the inspiration for ginger-soya poached chicken on kailan leaves. Tilapia was pushed up several levels with the addition of chorizo, bean ragout, and citrus beurre blanc.

European Standouts — At the hotel’s Tree Top Lounge, a great share-with-friends recommendation is the Trio Y Miscal, a huge platter containing three courses: beef salficados, grilled German sausage with sauerkraut, and nacho crispy shrimp popper with guacamole and salsa.

My to-die-for choice is the Acaci Coffee Shop’s version of rabo de toro, thick cuts of seared skinless oxtail stewed for hours in generous amounts of good red wine, smoked paprika, and various spices.

All in all, it was a trip worth taking. And the customary mid-day traffic was miraculously non-existent.