Meeting Chef Gene Gonzales of Cafe Ysabel

Living in a country where it's warm...or hot 85% of the time makes one accustomed to it leading to two very opposite things. One, you're so used to the oven toaster climate and a slight drop of temperature and some drizzle will already require additional layer of clothing lest you want to catch a flu; and two, because you rarely feel cold in the Philippines, a cool, rainy afternoon is a bliss that makes you hold on to your bed as long as you can. (amen?) I'm no different, I'm late the whole week! When it's cold and wet, it's just so hard to get up in the morning, it's almost painful.

God must have seen me lazy. Last Wednesday, while heaven pours in the greater Metro, I was assigned to do a solo mission - to interview Mr. Gene Gonzales, a renowned Filipino chef who has represented the Philippines to numerous culinary events in the world. You must have seen him in several endorsements, but the most recent I can think of is for Purefoods corned beef.

A food lover and cook myself, I was stoked to do the mission and went to Cafe Ysabel armed with lots of curiosity and appetite for some good coffee to match the cold weather. I'm not to talk about the interview itself, since that will be covered by the feature I'm preparing for Father's day on the 19th (welcome home, dad!). To put it simply, Chef Gene is an epitome of passion and patriotism. He quit his job, followed his love for culinary, worked hard and succeeded in putting up what is now known as one of the top 100 must-visit restaurants, and all the while promoting the wonders of Filipino cuisine. To give back and continue his legacy, he also mentored more than 700 students and continues to offer delicious meals and unique dining experience to the Filipinos. I was so inspired,  I had to get a leaflet of his school - Center for Asian Culinary Studies - which offers short and long term courses, which starts at 20 hours!

With Chef Gene. Damn, I look stiff in here. Hehe.

Facade photo from Cafe Ysabel website

Old but very nice lamps

Capuccino con panna. Perfect for stormy weather.
It's so good that I don't think I'm not getting any coffee from a joint soon because it will surely fail to compare.

Lovely rainy day outside.

Too bad I didn't have the chance to dine since I came past lunch, but the coffee and cassava cake are just perfect for afternoon treat. After the interview, I walked out in the rain more inspired to follow my passion, and a day wiser from a good conversation. Thanks, Chef Gene!

PS: If you like classy, traditional dates/proposals/weddings, Cafe Ysabel is a a must-see! =)
 From the Nook,