By Kaye Estoista Koo
A television show that combines one’s love for food and the sea—it sounds like someone’s dream job and Chef JP Anglo is riding out the wave for all its worth.
He started living his dream with the first season of Hungry with Chef JP on CNN Philippines and as season 2 opens, he is just cruising along. At the media launch held in Chef JP’s Filipino restaurant Sarsa in Rockwell Center, he promised that Season 2 is even more interesting.
“In Season 2, I am healthier, so the stuff I cook is what I eat,” he says, sharing that he is currently on a fish diet. “We went to new places and learned more, as all had to be surf spots, except for Bacolod, of course,” Chef JP hails from the fair island of Bacolod and looked giddy with happiness to have been able to include his hometown for Season 2. But whatever the subject, what is common is still the surf element. “But I wanted to include Bacolod, because that’s where I grew up,” he shares. “Bacolod is my hometown, I have grown full-circle.”
Tuna with banana and mango kilawin is an excellent way to start the meal
Roasted kalabasa and chicharon with salted egg is a sinfully-healthy dish
Kangkong shrimp soup is a flavorful and comforting dish
An updated take on pinangat pork and seafood
Grilled lapu-lapu with loads of garlic, Chef JP’s favorite
What also makes Season 2 different is the advent of new shows. Chef JP shares, “We get inspirations from everywhere and everyone did their homework. I watched a lot of Chef’s Table, The Munchies, and read a few cook books to refresh me.”
Compared to Season 1, he says that their plating has improved. Whereas Season 1 mostly showed boodle fights, Season 2’s food presentation was a little more refined.
Chef JP eyes glaze with the memory of having visited Milo Naval’s Hotel Siama in Sorsogon. “It was so beautiful and inspiring, and each dish created was suited to the place.”
He adds, “Our flavors were more interesting, there was more sophistication. Everyone stepped up!”
Chef JP says we can also expect better cinematography and better storytelling, aided by drone shots to boot.
How about the surfing? Season 1 prominently featured this.
He explains “Not much surfing though. Because there is a weather forecast, you need to go with it, and taping schedules were already set.”
Like Season 1, they would go to a surf camp in the selected city.
“We talk to them, surf with them, and because they shared their waves with us, we will cook for and with them. We go to the market together, so in the water I am learning something from them but in the kitchen, I am the boss,” Chef JP says.
The six featured cities include: Bacolod, Real in Quezon, Ilocos, Gubat in Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Daet in Camarines Norte.
“It is very personal and has two things I really love: surfing and cooking,” he smiles. When I am surfing, cooking is effortless, it’s cheesy as it sounds, magical and inspiring. I am close to the water, it’s my source of energy, source of happiness.”
He hopes that viewers will appreciate the many interesting people that touched their lives as they were filming. He adds, “We touched theirs too from the food that we cooked for them.
They taught us so many new things. We experienced things we would never experience.”
Interesting stories abound from Season 2, but if Chef JP could pick his favorite, learning-wise it would have to be in Real, Quezon.
He shares, “There was this lady who made suman and she uses 10 ingredients. She has been making it every single day for the past decade, she is a master of that, she makes it to perfection, every day, it’s precise.”
He likes her product and discipline to how the Japanese would make their tempura, sashimi, or katsu, and how that is all they do all their life.
He appreciates the suman lady. “Here I saw someone with dedication, discipline, and passion, and I was wowed, she is amazing,” he shares. “I wish we had more of this.”
Chef JP enthuses, “Imagine if you give her a better kitchen, if you expose her to newer things, our suman could be in New York!”
He adds, “I hope that she was able to get something from us, because we got a lot from her.”
Hungry with Chef JP, while showcasing surf spots and featuring interesting stories, is ultimately about the story of good food.
“The show is about making us realize it can be simple, it’s a never-ending journey, there is always something new, room for learning and experiencing new things,” he says.
Likening the breaking of misconceptions to what he did with Sarsa, Chef JP concludes, “Nearly everyone thought Ilonggo cooking is all about inasal, batchoy, and kansi, but we showed through Sarsa there is so much more.”
The dishes for this season are: chicken barbecue whole Thai sambal, tuna with banana and mango kilawin, kangkong shrimp soup, grilled maya-maya with eggplant salsa and chili-garlic sauce, nilasing na hipon, tinumok, roasted kalabasa and chicharon with salted egg, pinangat pork and seafood, fresh and fried danggit, grilled lapu-lapu, gata lechon manok, and banana flambé with coco sugar glaze.
Hungry with Chef JP airs Saturday nights on CNN Philippines at 7:30 p.m.
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