Inside the kitchen of the award-winning chef behind Antonio's Tagaytay.
A striking marble island greets guests entering Chef Tony Boy’s new kitchen. You can imagine it’s stood witness to many hearty feasts, with the home’s resident master chef being an effervescent host. He shares that many of his friends regularly get to enjoy flavorful dishes that pay homage to his roots, and that are testament to his ever-evolving creativity. “My grandparents were responsible for honing my affinity to good food,” he shares. “But my constant travels expose me to different flavors that also influence my art."
Unlike other restaurateurs who started their careers when they were young, Chef Tony Boy began his at the age of 33 when he took up culinary arts in Australia. Fueled by his appetite for perfection, he soon reaped the rewards of his labor. In 2015, Antonio’s Tagaytay debuted on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants —the first time the country ever made the list. Of course he was happy to have made culinary history, but he was quick to dismiss the idea that the success was his alone. He says having the right team and the right equipment accounted greatly for his accomplishments. “It is important to partner with people who believe in the same things, and who exemplify the same values that you have. The same thing also applies with the appliances that you use,” he continues.
In his own kitchen, a row of Sub-Zero refrigeration units stand proud, with its classic stainless steel doors that are hard to miss. Coupled with these are his Wolf cooking appliances, with an imposing professional look that sets the tone to the space.
In more ways than one, Chef Tony Boy identifies with Sub-Zero and Wolf. They are all dedicated to quality service, and they put a high premium for precision performance. “With quality equipment, you have less room for errors—and this is important if you want to be the best,” he shares.
Despite his long list of accolades, people are surprised that Chef Tony Boy is not a fan of the elaborate. He is naturally drawn to the beauty of simplicity. “It is very easy to fall for the notion of complexity in cooking. However, you need to just focus on two main things—the freshness of your ingredients and the quality of your cooking equipment,” he continues.
Freshness is something Sub-Zero refrigeration takes to heart with its innovations in the field of preservation. Its exclusive dual refrigeration system creates individual cooling environments for the refrigerator and freezer. Food stored in the ref, like produce and cheeses, need cool, moist air to stay fresh; while the freezer section keeps its environment frigid and dry to keep frozen meats longer.
Also in his kitchen are enviable Wolf cooking appliances that feature the most advanced technologies in the market. His rangetop's gas burners not only promises powerful high heat that gives steaks restaurant-quality sears, it can also come down to a low steady flame that's so delicate, it can melt chocolates straight on the pan without burning. He even has the new convection steam oven, that infuses the power of heat and steam—so he can cook a 17-pound turkey for just an hour, when it would take a regular oven three to four. It's the most powerful set of equipment that's worthy of a place in this top chef's home.
With many dining concepts sprouting like mushrooms, it is important to give a holistic experience to customers in order to stay ahead. “It was also the same consideration that I had in choosing my own kitchen components—a holistic experience. And Focus Global was with me throughout the entire process. The aftersales is simply amazing!” he furthers.
For Chef Tony Boy, perfection is never an end-goal. His journey is a continuous pursuit of true excellence. The industry has time and again agreed that there is no one out there quite like Tony Boy Escalante, and while there may be many ingredients to his success, one thing is starkly apparent when you step into his kitchen—the best always work with the best.