The Chef Espoir awardee puts forward his culinary principle of freshness and Le Cordon Bleu-polished expertise to his new online venture.
The idea for Gastronômade Manila came to Aaron Isip out his yearning for travel. Before the pandemic, the classically trained chef rarely cooked at home. Now, through the artisanal sauces and DIY dishes offered through his digital platform, his food takes his customers on a journey.
To keep creative juices flowing over the lockdown, Isip spent the time in his kitchen testing recipes. He considers the work he spent in his kitchen during this time to be an upside of the past year.
What was borne out of that need to stoke inspiration was his “Gastronômade,” which is a portmanteau of “gastronomic nomad,” and the whole premise of his menu.
“I was the only Filipino who’s ever gotten such an award by such a well-respected guide. It was just the stuff of dreams,” he recalls. Four years later, Dix-Huit, the restaurant in Paris where he was chef de cuisine, was awarded Le Figaro’s best restaurants.
Through Gastronômade Manila, Isip hopes for his customers to realize cooking quality meals at home is quite doable—even without an awarded chef being physically present there.
The bottled original sauces, the chef explains, is meant to take you on a journey of tastes. For instance, its Yuzu Meuniére Sauce for seafood draws from Kyoto and Cancale’s flavors. The Sobrasada Sauce, meanwhile, is a fusion of ingredients from Bacolod and Barcelona.
“I focused on a sauce for meat, another for fish and seafood, and a versatile third that can go with almost anything,” Isip explains. “But as long as you have a creative lightbulb moment— you can use the sauces any way you’d like. The possibilities are endless.”
The chef he chose the gourmet kits that go with each sauce by recalling past meals he loved, flavor combinations he enjoys, and dishes he has served and cooked previously.
One such dish is the Pluma Iberico a la plancha. It is a signature creation of Isip, and also part of Gastronômade Manila’s menu. It includes his Sobrasada sauce with blistered Spanish and Asian peppers, cherry tomatoes marbled potatoes as sides.
In 2016, the chef went on vacation in El Nido, prompting his decision to leave his Parisian base and move back to the Philippines.
That trip helped form a vision for Isip, which is also his next goal after his current digital venture. “I saw the potential of El Nido and how it drew a lot of global tourists,” he says. “The thought of living the island life became a dream I wanted to realize.”
That restaurant will also include some dishes from Gastronômade Manila, and will be led by the same culinary principle he had working in Paris.
” I will focus more on local ingredients from Palawan and change my menu every day according to the seasons and what’s available at the moment,” Isip explains. “I had the bounty and quality of fresh French produce back in Paris, and it was logical to change my menu every day. I will continue to work with that in mind.”
To order and for more information on Gastronômade Manila, visit their Instagram.