Given her track record for ecological conservation, it’s not surprising that Susana “Annie” P. Guerrero’s newest restaurant would be all about fresh, sustainable ingredients and local produce. At Sisterfields, which is owned by The Cravings Group, of which Guerrero is president and founder, the philosophy is “farm-to-fork, pasture-to-plate and crop-to-cup.”
With this alliterative battle cry, this newest restaurant destination in Tagaytay features organic fruits and vegetables grown in the nearby farms, beef from the neighboring province of Batangas, pork from Tagaytay’s Mahogany market, tawilis from Taal Lake, and artisan coffee blends. The short distance the ingredients travel to reach the kitchen not only ensures their freshness but also lessens their carbon footprints.
Not that this would limit the menu. On the contrary, Sisterfields has something for every member of the family.
Meat eaters will delight in the sticky baby back ribs, braised boneless beef short ribs and Southern fried chicken with pan gravy. For the vegetable lovers, there’s chopped salad with green goddess dressing as well as mango, kamias, pako and jicama salad with vinaigrette made with bagoong from the Batangas town of Balayan.
On the other hand, those who prefer seafood will enjoy the tawilis, the tiny fish that’s eaten head to tail, which Sisterfields serves with kaffir lime aioli. There’s also maliputo fillets with Manila clams and tinapa spring rolls with sweet chili sauce.
The menu was created by chef Noel de la Rama, a New York-based personal chef, who is himself a staunch advocate of farm-to-table eating. Executing the menu he created is a phalanx of chefs from the Center for Culinary Arts, Manila. Among them is chef Dino Florendo, a CCA graduate who now teaches in the school. The training chefs get from CCA, he says, prepares them for just this type of sustainable cuisine.
“Part of the practicum of the students is to go to market so they can be familiar with fresh ingredients,” he says.
They also learn how to raise herbs. For this they can draw inspiration from Guerrero, who has owned herb gardens in Antipolo and Canlubang. This is where Sisterfields sources its fresh herbs for the meantime, while waiting for the herb garden in the backyard of Summit Ridge Hotel (where the restaurant is located) to flourish.
Here’s a recipe for one of Sisterfields’ dishes: Potato, Corn and Bacon Chowder. It’s a thick soup with the perfect blend of fresh ingredients (corn, potato, celery), seasoned with an herb (fresh thyme) and a spice (paprika), and topped with a dash of indulgence (bacon).
Sisterfields is at G/F, Summit Ridge Hotel, Km. 58, Gen. Aguinaldo Highway, Maharlika West, Tagaytay City; tel. 2406888.
and Bacon Chowder
100 g bacon strips
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ c celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 potato, diced
2 c water
1 c freshly cooked corn kernels
1 sprig fresh thyme
¼ tsp paprika, plus additional for sprinkling
½ c fresh milk
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 stalk scallion, cut into one-inch length
Cook bacon strips in a pan until crisp, then dice them into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
In a medium-size casserole, heat the olive oil and cook the celery, onion and garlic until softened. Add the potatoes and pour in the water. Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the corn, thyme and paprika and let simmer for a few minutes.
Ladle one cup of the mixture into a blender. Add the milk and cream and process the mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the pot. Stir and heat through until well-blended.
Spoon into soup bowls and sprinkle with paprika. Top with the cooked bacon and garnish with the scallions. Makes two to three servings.
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