Chefs Chele Gonzalez and Carlos Villaflor create an at-home gourmand experience that showcases sophisticated flavors made with a deeper purpose.
Chef Chele Gonzalez has always been clear with his philosophy of sourcing local ingredients through sustainable means, this has been a consistent principle underlying all his culinary endeavors. Gallery by Chele is known to grow many of its own produce and many ingredients are sourced directly from farms with sustainable and environmentally conscious practices. This moral principle takes its fullest form in Deli by Chele—a new source of sustainable produce and products that take this green philosophy and mix it with the finest local ingredients and artisanal techniques that can only be described as signature Chele.
On the inception of this new concept, Chele shares that, “Over the years we have been immersed in the potential of what can be done with local produce. These discoveries have inspired us to be more environmentally aware and to strive for more sustainable practices.” The chef continues, “Understanding how much food is related to greater global issues, we believe going local is one of the ways to move toward a better future. Going local is not only our passion and playground but also our advocacy.”
I was fortunate enough to have received some of their offerings and was guided through the story of each item by both Chefs Chele and Carlos Villaflor. “In creating any of our products, we start by searching for high quality, sustainable and organic produce,” explains Chef Carlos, co-executive chef of Deli by Chele. “Next is the painstaking process of recipe development. It is an involved exercise in trial and error, mixing and matching until we get the perfectly balanced note.”
And develop they did. I was delighted and surprised by many of their offerings which happily fed me over the days that followed. Here are some highlights that should be on top of your must-try list.
Mango Rustic Bread & Mango and Basil Jam
Made with 60-year old Masa madre, their Mango Rustic Bread is layered with flavors from traditional baking. It’s pebbled with a mix of dried mangoes and cashews for texture and sweetness. The bread toasted as is already makes for a sweet morning snack but add a smear of their Mango & Basil Jam and that fruity flavor is elevated with an added herbaceous lift from the basil.
New York Style Brisket Pastrami & Pickled Shallots
Bolzico Beef Brisket gets the Chele treatment with a peppery and lean pastrami that’s tender and juicy. The pastrami goes best with some slices of their pickled shallots for a crunchy vinegar-y cut and served with some mustard on toasted bread—Mango Rustic Bread, of course.
Burnt Bibingka Cheesecake
This was the dish that genuinely surprised me after my first bite. Upon opening the box, the Chika presents itself as a straightforward bibingka. Bright yellow, wrapped in banana leaves, with a scent of sugar and salted egg. Then once you take your first bite you get that dense and creamy filling of a basque cheesecake. Rich and uniquely Filipino, Chef Carlos’s decadent creation is a blending of techniques and textures from the Basque country and expertly marrying it with his heritage.