PH-made knives, legendary chocolate cakes and balut pâté | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Knives by Nacionale Bladeworks

Here’s my roundup of recent finds:


Every cook needs a good knife, and I recently found one that’s proudly designed and handcrafted in the Philippines by Ryan David of Nacionale Bladeworks.

Nacionale was a dream David had some 15 years ago, when he was a cook and loving it, “despite making only P150 a day,” he said. His culinary journey wasn’t easy. In fact, by deciding to cook, David broke his mom’s heart. Reluctantly and in tears was how she agreed to send her son to culinary school.

David remembers his first knife set. Everyone had the same set and he wanted his to be different. As such, he had his engraved: RyanDavid311.

He felt more at ease with his second knife. It reflected his character and personality, plus it was meaningful. His grandfather gave him the cleaver, purchased in China.

With Chinese food being his cuisine of strength, David felt that the authenticity of his knife gave him an edge.

He jokingly said, “It gave me super powers! It was a powerful extension of my hand.”

Family duties called and David had to leave his first love behind to help with the family business.

Knives by Nacionale Bladeworks

Soon after joining the family enterprise, he established a business called The Perfect White Shirt. His venture did so well that he barely had time for anything else.

But once a cook, always a cook. In his words, “I couldn’t let it go. I was proud of that life. It was an honor to have experienced working in a professional kitchen.”

If he couldn’t be in the kitchen, he had to do something that was related to food, at least.

When he met Karen, now his wife, his passion for eating and preparing food was reignited. Together, they built a home and shared the same passion for the kitchen and kitchen gadgets. Lucky is he to have found a partner who supports all his hobbies and obsessions—from skateboards to vintage cast iron pans and knives.

Two of his hobbies, skateboards and knives, turned into lucrative businesses. The Davids have gone on to design knives with handles made from the skateboards they fabricate.

The couple also fashion kitchen tools for chefs.

I proudly used their tools to style the dishes for “Notes From My Kitchen 2,” my upcoming cookbook. And I was pleased. They were easy to use and so beautiful. Like his knives, the tools made plating hassle-free. (; @nacionalebladeworks on Instagram)

Iconic cake

There are messages you’re happy to receive, like the one from Tiny Guidotti of Cakes by Louise, especially when it reads: “We are the family that baked Cookie Monster Chocolate Cakes.”

The iconic cake of the ’70s is back and it’s exactly as I remember it to be. Dense yet soft, moist, gooey and chocolaty.

The famous Cookie Monster cake

Vicki Guidotti was one of the founders, owners and bakers of the Cookie Monster bakeshop that was established in 1977. Then, their legendary chocolate cakes were constant fixtures on practically everyone’s Sunday spread. The beloved chocolate cake is making a comeback.

Louise, Manoli and Tiny’s 13-year-old daughter, started to bake with her father and her grandmother Vicki during the lockdown. The young lady, under her lola’s supervision, has since perfected Vicki’s treasured recipes and now has a budding home business of her own that she calls Cakes by Louise. In her roster are the same old Banana Cream Pie and Fruit Cake from her lola’s bakeshop.

Indeed, there was nothing like it back then. Now, savor a blast from the past. (Tel. 0920-9098459, @cakes.bylouise on Instagram)

Balut pâté

When chef Redd Agustin sends me food from his kitchen, it is always something to look forward to. It is no secret that I am a big fan of his pupor chicharon and now his luxurious balut paté.

Silky, smooth, whipped light and sublime, it compares only to pâté de foie gras, in texture and mouthfeel. It is delicious and my voted personal best pâté of the year.

Balut pâté

Agustin learned to perfect his balut pâté from his mentor, the late chef Ed Quimson. It’s easy to make and the ingredients are not complicated: 16-day-old duck eggs, chicken liver, fresh thyme, cream and butter.

The secret is in how the liver is cooked and the brand of butter used.

“Like all dishes, kung ano ang mahal, ’yun ang masarap,” quipped Agustin.

This balut pâté is divine and worth every calorie! (Tel. 0917-4382133; @theporkproject on Instagram) INQ

Follow the author at @iamreggieaspiras on Instagram and Facebook;

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