By Alexis Yap
THEY’VE been around for quite a while and they’ve consistently brought us upscale, great quality food from Mexican, Vietnamese, and American. Personally, I’ve always been such a huge fan of the Abaca Group as their commitment to the Cebuano market is evident in the passion they put in their products and their people.
One perfect example is the testimony Chef Patrick Corpuz who joined the team three years back. He moved to Cebu to cook in the kitchens of the Abaca Group. Today, with the added responsibilities entrusted to him by the company, he is actively looking at condos in the city where he can indefinitely move into and eventually settle down — an uncommon move for most immigrants from the nation’s capital, considering the relatively laid back environment and lifestyle here in Cebu.
While they were making my Shaved Ham Bakery Benedict and my Strawberry-Banana-Watermelon Pure Fruit Smoothie, the chef tells me the unique and very humane philosophy the company has instilled in him, one that values relationships and trust.
A good example he pointed out was the arrangement they have with one of their vegetable suppliers, a local farmer from up in the hills of Nivel. Chef Patrick says they allow him the liberty to grow whatever he wishes to plant on his farm. This way, he gets to produce the best of what he sowed. So this is what the Abaca Group buys from them — local produce at their very best.
As opposed to the concept of giving their suppliers a list of the restaurant’s requirements that would inevitably cause unnecessary stress and pressure to the farmers from constantly trying to meet their client’s orders in terms of volume and deadline. The result, they speculate, would almost always be disappointing.
This is the very reason, the chef points out, their menu does not specify which particular greens are in their salads because they use whatever their farmers supply them with — quite an uncommon practice especially in the local food and beverage industry’s scenario.
And so far, the results have been so good, as evidently seen on my delicious plate of a traditional Eggs Benny with a side of Potato Hash, some fresh grilled asparagus, and a side salad made by ingredients sourced from our local farmers. Incredible.
It may be coincidence but it is becoming clearer and clearer that the Abaca Group’s philosophy is obviously stated in their name — it’s about going back to the basic’s, the ABC’s of food and keeping it fresh and real.
And how beautiful to see them slowly grow as part of our rapidly evolving community, positively affecting, not only its market but the very people they work with.
Chef Pat, welcome to Cebu – your new home.