MANILA, Philippines - Sau del Rosario is one of the country's most well-loved chefs, and he is certainly aware of it.
Known for his lean frame and great-tasting dishes, Del Rosario has been named by online magazine Spot.ph as Manila's 9th cutest chef.
"I think I'm very likeable," he said when asked to describe himself.
His perkiness is hard to miss, cracking jokes that poke fun at himself and his cooking. Don't underestimate this chef, however -- Del Rosario has been trained at the Culinary Institute of America and has worked in 2 great seafood restaurants in France.
This chef from Angeles City in Pampanga also had his share of endorsements and television shows, as well as stints at top Manila hotels Edsa Shangri-La and New World (now Renaissance Hotel), and dining hotspots Museum Cafe and Chelsea.
Currently, he whips up organic dishes at the 1-year-old Le Bistro Vert in Makati City.
"I grew up with a household that is always cooking healthy. People think organic food is only for rich people like me (laughs). But it's for everybody," he said.
Despite his extensive knowledge in food and cooking, Del Rosario finds joy in simple dishes such as fish lugaw (Filipino congee), poached fish, street food and adobo.
Here are his answers to questions from abs-cbnNEWS.com:
Describe yourself as a foodie.
I'm a curious eater. But I'm still careful when it comes to eating, it takes a while for me to try something new.
Give me 5 things that I'll always see in your fridge or your kitchen.
Olive oil, yogurt, parmesan cheese, organic tomatoes and herbs.
What's one thing that you can eat every day for the rest of your life?
Lugaw, fish lugaw prepared for me at home. There, I only do minimal cooking.
What's the most outrageous thing you've ever eaten?
Snake, in China. It was fried and it tasted like fish, but I have a phobia with snakes. My friends only told me it was snake after I ate it.
What's one thing you'll never, ever eat?
I don't like slimy things. And all those moving things, like worms. I've always wanted to join those reality contests on TV, but I can't because I can't eat those things.
You've long been an organic food advocate. Do you still eat junk food once in a while?
I seldom eat junk food. But I do like to eat street food.
What's your signature dish?
Simple poached fish with lemon. Before I used salmon, but here in the Bistro I use cream dory since we only cook with locally sourced organic ingredients.
Describe yourself using food. If you were an ingredient, what would you be?
Adobo, because I have different personalities. It's comfort food for everyone, for people with different tastes. Garlicky, spicy, whatever. I think I'm very likeable.
E-mail the author at karen_flores[@]abs-cbn.com. Visit her food blog at http://asliceofkeix.blogspot.com.