CHEF Gene Gonzalez, easily one of the country’s most accomplished chefs, recently launched two exciting cookbooks—Modern Philippine Confections: Tropical Island Flavors and Treats; and Breads, Cakes, Pastries and More—in the new location of his restaurant, Café Ysabel, along M. Paterno St. in San Juan.
Authored by Chef Gene, Modern Philippine Confections is a collection of 60 recipes representing Chef Gene’s interpretations of favorite international confections. These include French macarons, chocolates and marshmallows. Chef Gene gave them tropical island flavors, ube (purple yam), langka (jackfruit), calamansi and sampaguita.
The other book, Breads, Cakes, Pastries and More, is a collection of recipes by the late Efren Bunquin. Most of the recipes in the book came from Bunquin’s Golden Treasury of Baking, which was first published in 1963. The others were sourced from research work done by Chef Gene on Bunquin. Chef Gene got interested in Bunquin four years ago when he met Raymond Bunquin, Efren Bunquin’s son, in an event he attended. They got to talk, the younger Bunquin told him about his late father’s cookbook and promised to send him a copy. When Chef Gene finally received the copy, he flipped through its pages right away, and what he found was a treasure trove of precious recipes that he thought should be shared. So, he talked to his publisher, Anvil Publishing, and asked if it would print the cookbook if he kitchen-tested the recipes and wrote annotations on each. He got an affirmative answer and started kitchen-testing some 400 recipes with Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS) students. He wrote annotations on each kitchen-tested recipe and put them together in a cookbook which became Breads, Cakes, Pastries and More. Recipes include Especial Pan De Sal de Baliwag, Beautiful Babka and Crispy-Crusty Pan De Sal.
Samples of recipes from both books were prepared by Café Ysabel and CACS students for the book launch, so guests had their fill for their afternoon snacks.
Both books are published by Anvil Publishing and are available at National Bookstore and Powerbooks branches at Php195 for Modern Philippine Confections and Php525 for Breads, Cakes, Pastries, and More.