The Philippines is a country ripe with local produce and livestock, thanks to its favorable climate and abundant natural resources. Yet despite the obvious and vast potential for agriculture in the country, the industry has been declining over the years. In fact, reports show that only 25.96% of Filipino workers are employed in the industry, with farming being the second poorest work force in the country.
But a number of chefs and restaurateurs are looking to do their part in ending this relentless cycle by making us think twice on how we eat and engage with our food–from where the ingredients are sourced to who’s growing it and how it’s prepared.
The farm-to-table movement is one that champions the well-being of local farmers by working directly with them to cultivate fresh ingredients and create appetizing dishes. The movement proves that we don’t have to look much further than our own backyards to find good quality, sustainable food.
In this blog, we round up 5 restaurants around the Metro that are committed to preparing food with a conscience.
White Plains, Quezon City
Comfort food never tasted so good and felt so, well, healthy. Think slow-cooked, braised bacon to tender, boneless beef ribs. But more than creating recipes that satisfy the soul, Earth Kitchen was born out of the desire to support and showcase the produce of small farmers, fishermen and indigenous communities. Its ingredients are sustainably sourced from the Got Heart Farms in Tarlac and its partner communities all around the Philippines–from grass fed beef hailed from Batangas to organic fruits and vegetables brought in from Tarlac. Everything else that isn’t sourced locally is naturally made from scratch, from pasta to ice cream.
Chino Roces, Makati
Tucked along a corner street in San Antonio, this 2-story cafe is a quiet refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. Outfitted with rustic decor and art adorned walls, Satinka Naturals is modest, cozy and above all, inviting. While it first debuted as a modern day apothecary selling natural solutions for skincare and homecare, it has since expanded and added a dine-in cafe which serves vegan-friendly dishes made with ingredients fresh from the Cordilleran region.
Chino Roces, Makati
While Toyo Eatery wasn’t initially supposed to be a farm-to-table restaurant, owner Jordy Navarra decided that the best way to get quality ingredients was to go back to the basics. The award winning restaurant, which is known for its fusion of contemporary dining and traditional cooking techniques, takes the movement one step further by working hand-in-hand with farmers to produce untapped crops specially for Toyo. The result? Distinct flavors that stand out and take an inventive spin on Filipino food that go beyond the tried and true recipes our cuisine is so known for.
Esteban St., Makati
Dubbed as one of the Best Restaurants in the World by Conde Nast Traveler, Your Local is your best bet for Southeast Asian cuisine. Yet what sets Chef Nicco Santos’ beef rendang or laksa fettucini apart from other fusion restaurants are the ingredients and advocacy behind it. Santos capitalizes on the farm-to-table model by sourcing the best homegrown ingredients, allowing him and his team to create tasteful renditions of traditional Malaysian, Singaporean, and Indonesian recipes with a western flair. He does this with the aim of bridging the gap between the farmer and the diner by supporting what the farmers grow.
Rockwell Drive, Makati
Considered to be one of the pioneers of farm-to-table dining in the city, Chef Margarita Fores’ Grace Park remains as one of the more popular, go-to restaurants when it comes to sustainable eating. Fores believes in the philosophy of working with clean ingredients that are sustainably grown to attain the best quality. And with years of working with local farmers up her sleeve, she knows just where to go for the perfect ingredients to complement her dishes. Although Grace Park primarily serves Italian cuisine, its dishes are made with local ingredients that are cultivated from the different regions of the Philippines. Don’t miss out on their Chicken Scaloppine and Dry Sinigang sa Miso!
Want to learn more about the farm-to-table movement? Get insight from the farmers themselves at the GK Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan. Book a private tour today.