He left Spain 11 years ago to deepen his culinary education and immerse himself in flavours of the globe. Now, chef Chele Gonzalez proudly pays homage to his roots. As the chef-partner of Gallery by Chele, he eagerly and anxiously waited for things to return to normal during the pandemic which truly placed the F&B industry in a pinch. After several years of not seeing family or setting foot on home turf, Gonzalez decided it was time to take a much-needed break.
“From summer to winter, I revisited my village in the North, in Cantabria, Spain. I was able to reunite with my family, my land, my heritage, and what I have known for most of my life as comfort food,” he says. “My mamá is now 89 years old, nearly 90. I don’t know if I will ever have the opportunity to spend this much time with her again. She was the woman who inspired my love of food. I made sure to enjoy every moment,” Gonzalez adds.
See also: Where to Order Tacos in Metro Manila
Refreshed, reinvigorated and inspired, he arrived in the Philippines bursting with ideas from his soul-soothing gastronomic home visit. Named Re-Encounters, Gallery by Chele’s new multi-course tasting menu tells a descriptive narrative of his upbringing and a renewed perspective on the flavours of his youth. Gonzalez explained how he tasted some of his childhood favourites with wide-eyed wonder and saw them with a new appreciation for their origins and techniques now that he had experienced so much more of the world.
“Surprisingly, my perspective of that cuisine has completely changed. Now, I feel a distinct difference, a renewed interest and a fresh point of view,” Gonzalez mentions. “It was interesting how much I missed Asian food. And how excited I was to rediscover each and every special dish from that part of the world in a different light.”