10 chefs to watch out for in 2017 | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Nicco Santos and Quenee Vilar —JILSON SECKLER TIU

It’s easy for chefs to get lost in a city of thousands of restaurants. But if they let their genius and talent do the talking, standing out won’t be too challenging, as food that’s satisfying, original and inventive can create a good buzz.


Here are 10 chefs whose work has been lending much promise and excitement to the metro’s dining scene.



Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla
Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla



Miko Aspiras + Kristine Lotilla


Don’t expect them to rest on their laurels. After injecting artistry into cookies (Scout’s Honor), soufflés (Le Petit Souffle), ice cream (Freezer Burn) and classic French pastries (The Workshop), the sweet tandem has now set their eyes on producing donuts.


“Its simplicity is what excites me,” says Miko. “The dough itself is already full of flavor. And the flavors are extremely quirky. I can’t wait to reveal what we are going to come up with.”


So are we.


You can catch them at Scout’s Honor (Century City Mall), Freezer Burn (Bonifacio High Street) and Le Petit Souffle (Century City Mall and SM Mega Fashion Hall) and the soon-to-open Poison at Karrivin Plaza along Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati.




Tom Bascon


Before he joined M Dining and Bar as executive chef in 2016, people got a sampling of his dishes only through his private catering. But now that he has teamed up with Tippi Tambunting, we get to enjoy his food more regularly.


His Foie Gras and Unagi appetizer, and Seabass with Truffle Mushroom Broth entrée are proof of his potential. And we can expect more exciting things, as he promises to keep the menu constantly evolving.


You can catch him at M Dining and Bar, 3/F Alegria Alta Building, 2294 Chino Roces Ave. Ext. Magallanes, Makati.




Josh Boutwood


For years, we have been witnessing what Josh is capable of doing. As corporate chef of The Bistro Group, he has defined and refined casual dining. And as a winner in cooking competitions like the Philippine Culinary Cup and the Food Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge in Singapore, he showed his character and caliber.


With the opening of The Test Kitchen, he puts his crazy, creative mind to work, producing some of the most composed and balanced plates the city has ever seen.


You can catch him at The Test Kitchen, 9780 Bistro Academy, Kamagong St. San Antonio Village, Makati.


Rebecca Disini —SARA BLACK
Rebecca Disini —SARA BLACK


Rebecca Disini


Educated at Le Cordon Bleu Paris and London, and trained by celebrated chefs like Daniel Bertrand, Pascal Quere and Cedric Grolet, Reb is undeniably well versed and equipped when it comes to cakes and pastries.


Elegant and enticing, the entremets from her brand Ooh La La are what confectionery dreams are made of. And since she’s a legit super taster (a person with  strong taste sensation), coming up with the most awesome flavor combinations is a piece of cake (pun intended) for her.


You can try her cakes by calling Ooh La La at 09985570205.




Patrick Go


He stuffs his xiao long bao with foie gras, dehydrates ma lai gao and tops it with spicy tuna, and reinterprets Peking duck using ox tongue. For over a year now, Pat has been adding a dash of fun and frenzy to Chinese food. And we have his parents to thank for it.


“I draw inspiration mostly from childhood memories and the food that my mom usually prepares,” he says. “Some Chinese flavor profiles I get from different dishes from my dad’s side.”


This year, you can expect him to come up with more inspired and inspiring dishes, as he plays with chicken feet and duck hearts.


You can catch him at Black Sheep, UPRC 1 Building, Chino Roces Ave. Makati.


AJ Perez
AJ Reyes


AJ Reyes


If the name of his business is any indication of the kind of work he does, people are certainly in for a delicious ride.


AJ is the executive chef of Radical Culinary Inc., a business venture that takes pride in providing bespoke dining experiences through progressive and unique dishes, food presentations and service. Think Sisig Croquetas, cabbage-wrapped shrimp with aligue sauce, and Fried Garlic Risotto.


He says, “I am a person who’s really bored with repetitive things. I love playing around with the normal and changing it into something different.”


We can’t wait to see what else is in his bag of tricks.


You can catch him at Privatus Private Dining, 8 F. Legaspi St., Barangay Maybunga, Pasig.


Nicco Santos and Quenee Vilar —JILSON SECKLER TIU
Nicco Santos and Quenee Vilar —JILSON SECKLER TIU


Nicco Santos + Quenee Vilar


They have proven their worth with Your Local and one of 2016’s biggest hits, Hey Handsome. This year, the duo will  open three new concepts, and are bound to bring in greater excitement than ever. Two are Asian-inspired concepts, while the other will bring healthy eating to another level with optimized nutrition dishes featuring slow-cooked meats and wide variety of grains by local producers. Nicco and Quenee are about to change the game. Get ready.


You can catch them at Your Local, Esteban St., Legazpi Village, Makati; and Hey Handsome, Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.


Mark Tan
Mark Tan


Mark Tan

Allium in Legazpi Village, Makati, is sorely missed, but Mark’s latest venture, Hibana, somehow makes up for the absence. Hibana is where the chef and owner serves up his unique take on Japanese cuisine. While his Hokkaido Scallop and Snow Crab Mousse Tempura, Iberico Tonkatsu and Wagyu Curry Katsudon leave our mouths watering, his much anticipated tasting room Sutajio already has appetites perked up this early on.


You can catch him at Hibana, G/F Grand Midori Building, Bolanos St., Legazpi Village, Makati. —CONTRIBUTED

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