Cover American Chef Anthony Bourdain in the Liberdade area of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Bourdain hosts the TV Show "No Reservations" for the Travel Channel in the US and is the Chef-at-Large for Brasserie Les Halles in New York City. (Photo by Paulo Fridman/Corbis via Getty Images)

Anthony Bourdain once said that sisig is "perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole". Now, the man man who introduced Bourdain to such beloved foods speaks out

Chef Claude Tayag is often known for his and his wife's multi-awarded restaurant, Bale Dutung. Yet the Kapampangan native is also a known multi-hyphenate and gourmand. Author, painter, and restaurateur, chef Tayag reveals that he was the first to have introduced Anthony Bourdain to sisig and lechon. Having been described by Bourdain as an "iconoclast", Tayag reminisces on his experience with the legendary traveller in a recently concluded talk hosted by the Department of Tourism.

 "He knew so much, but he didn't push [his knowledge]. He just went along. He let me talk, he just listened and absorbed," Chef Tayag recalls. Bourdain, who's had his fair share of experience in Philippine gastronomy, has been known to adore sisig. He is among the handful of international travellers who've spotlighted the esoteric delights of our seven thousand islands, affirming it in his own way by being sincerely interested in what we had to offer. 

Read also: Why Filipino Cuisine Is One Of The Richest Food Cultures In The World

"We were eating papaitan in a goat shop (kambingan)," chef Tayag recalls. "I described [papaitan] as a sour soup made of the offals of the goat, plus the bile. On camera, [Bourdain's] reaction was: 'My god Claude, by your description alone I'm scared to try it.'" Bourdain had admitted that he has not had great experiences with bile in other countries.

But after Bourdain had taken a spoonful, he had declared: "This is really good! I like that."

"[When the camera and] lights [went] out," Chef Tayag continues, "[Bourdain] took the bowl and took [a huge slurp]. That's when I realised, he's a real person. In Filipino, magkatotoo." 

Chef Tayag's description of Bourdain as an authentic human being matches up with the legacy that the dear chef had left behind. Reading his travel essays, or watching reruns of his shows online will reveal an honest look at Bourdain's curious yet defiant view of the world. There was no pretension when it came to Bourdain's adventures—whether in a Michelin starred restaurant on in a humble kambingan north of Manila. All he wanted at the end of the day it seemed was good food. 

Read also: Philippine Cuisine: 9 Kinds Of Longganisa—Which One Is Your Favourite?


© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.