The Iron Chef’s version of adobo

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Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, The Next Iron Chef  (center), is welcomed by (left) Annie Naval, Cignal TV chief operating officer and managing director; and Butch Meily, Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation president

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, The Next Iron Chef (center), is welcomed by (left) Annie Naval, Cignal TV chief operating officer and managing director; and Butch Meily, Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation president

HE cooks adobo, loves mangoes and sigarilyas or winged bean, and works well with Filipinos.

“Most of my chefs in my five restaurants in the US are Filipinos so it’s not hard for me to agree to visit your county,” says Iron Chef Season 4 winner Chef Geoffrey Zakarian who came in the Philippines to cook a five-course gala dinner at Hotel Sofitel called “Feast of Colours.”

Proceeds of the gala dinner went to the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), the Philippines’ first permanent, year-round private sector organization for disaster management. Colours channel and Cignal Digital TV brought the culinary icon to the country.

Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian with Cignal TV owner Manny V. Pangilinan at the ‘Feast of Colours’ gala dinner

Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian with Cignal TV owner Manny V. Pangilinan at the ‘Feast of Colours’ gala dinner

At a press conference before the event, the Iron Chef gladly shared his impressions on Filipinos and his thoughts on Filipino food; and impressively demonstrated his very own recipe of adobo.


Amazing Filipinos

Chef Zakarian is amazed at how Filipinos can smile despite adversities in life.

Describing his Filipino staffers back in the US, he said, “It struck me that everybody is incredibly happy. It’s amazing because on my ship I have nothing but smiling, happy employees. They come to work happy and they go home happy but they perform well.

They’re so knowledgeable and can ingest information easily. I’m blessed to have them as my staff. So coming here was very natural. I’m grateful that I was brought here.”

Spicy adobo

The Adobo Spiced Belly with citrus glazed endive, pickled mango, puffed wild rice, and kalamansi lime

The Adobo Spiced Belly with citrus glazed endive, pickled mango, puffed wild rice, and kalamansi lime

The Iron Chef then demonstrated how he cooks the adobo using spiced pork belly, which also happened to be one of the five dishes served at the dinner.

“Basically, it’s the belly which we cooked for 17 hours. We cooked it, sliced it and then glaze it in adobo sauce,” said Chef Zakarian.

Revealing secrets straight from his kitchen, the chef continued, “For the adobo sauce, we used tomato, cider vinegar, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa and chilli. It’s sort of a Filipino version of a barbecue sauce. What I noticed is how you guys use vinegar in cooking and I also love vinegar.

“If you have fattiness, you have to have vinegar. For me, vinegar is balance. So I really appreciate vinegar; you can really smell it and it’s so fragrant.

“We cook the adobo over low fire and very slowly at 178 degrees so the meat and stays soft,”he added.

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