Food & Beverage

Jordy Navarra

Photo Regine David

For championing FIlipino food in one of Asia’s best restaurants


Toyo Eatery and Panaderya Toyo head chef and owner Jordy Navarra shows how it is to be a fine example of cooking what you love with what’s available in your locale. Since it wasn’t his professional aspiration to become a chef, he entered the culinary scene quite late, spending many years training abroad. He spent some time in the kitchens of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in London and Alvin Leung’s Bo Innovation in Hong Kong. While his time in the United Kingdom was fun and creative, Navarra found himself missing the most important thing in a Filipino meal: rice. Being in Asia made him feel better, but it pushed him to come back home.

Since opening in 2016, Toyo Eatery has consistently placed among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and put Navarra on the One To Watch list from the Miele Guide. His masterful approach to local flavours is one thing, but it’s his playful plating and presentation that really make the dining experience at his restaurant. Filipino food is truly a simple fare, but Navarra has aimed to elevate it without betraying its essence. He applies this same philosophy with the bakery, Panaderya Toyo, which he intentionally spells with a “y” to sound less Spanish and root it into the Filipino culture.

These small but important details are what make Navarra’s brand of Filipino food, and people love it. The success of his restaurants continues to move Filipino cuisine into the future and honour the rich historical past it represents in the dishes, ingredients and story.

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Did you know?

Jordy Navarra’s wife, May, is the general manager of his restaurant concepts. He jokingly calls her his boss, but also takes pride in the insight and strategy that her background in finance brings into the business. Her shift from the corporate world to the F&B scene is no small feat and Navarra makes sure to celebrate that.

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