Meet the 8 recipients of Tatler Dining’s Special Awards for 2022, including Restaurateur of the Year, Chef of the Year, and Best New Restaurant
Every year, Tatler Dining spotlights the achievements, talent and finesse from certain people and establishments in the industry. These eight awards were voted on by our Tatler Dining panel which is comprised of industry leaders and esteemed foodies. After months of deliberation and vetting, the final award winners were whittled down by our editorial team and we couldn’t be happier with our final eight winners.
Read on to find out who has won: Restaurateur of the Year; Chef of the Year; Best New Restaurant; Local Champion; Impact Award; Rising Star; Best Service; and Best Interior Design.
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Restaurateur of the Year: Ana Lorenzana de Ocampo
As co-founder and CEO of The Wildflour Group, Ana de Ocampo does not shy away from a challenge but instead stares it straight in the face–with optimism, class and curiosity. During the pandemic, the group has grown to tremendous new heights by establishing new spin-off brands, embracing e-commerce, and even opened their largest location to date. What was once your charming neighbourhood café and bakery has become an F&B empire that keeps customers craving for yet another bite. While successfully maintaining the brand’s much-admired cosy ambience and lip-smacking quality, each new location and development has widened their reach and brought their darn good comfort food to a larger demographic.
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Chef of the Year: Miko Calo
To truly grasp flavours and masterfully conduct a symphony of ingredients, or for that matter, coax out bold expressions from just a few elements is a feat that is meant to be celebrated. Chef Miko Calo of Metronome is a woman who does not settle for less than excellence. She lives in the nuances of her craft, constantly finessing her every move until the menu, and every plate meets her highest of standards. Not a woman to rush, chef Calo takes her time to indulge in the beauty of cuisine, and bask in the hectic nature of her craft. Trained in classic French techniques under the mentorship of the legendary chef Joël Robuchon, this gourmand is a force to be reckoned with.
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Best New Restaurant: Txoko Asador
Located in the quaint streets of the Legazpi village locale is an asador bursting with flavours so delightful, one can’t help but feel as if they are in Donostia. This establishment spearheaded by restaurateurs Carlo Calma Lorenzana, Miguel Vecin, Tinchu Gonzalez, Magsy Concepcion, Randy Libre, and Bobby Tenchavez proudly opened its doors on March 15, 2020, a mere day or two before restaurants were told to cease operations due to the pandemic. Despite major setbacks, these seasoned industry veterans charged forward armed with a deep-rooted passion for food and sheer culinary talent, both of which has fueled Txoko’s continued success.
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Local Champion: Jordy Navarra
Tatler Dining’s Local Champion award celebrates a chef who has helped to elevate, promote and celebrate all that the Philippines has to offer. This year, the award goes to Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery.
A meal at Toyo Eatery is never just a meal. It is at once a history lesson, a cultural excursion through our abundant archipelago, and an invitation to engage in the dialogue that pervades chef Jordy Navarra’s restless mind. Their approach to modernising Filipino cuisine was not immediately comprehended nor appreciated, but such is the story of trailblazers like himself. Unshaken by a hesitant market, and empowered by his love for food and country, Navarra continued to realise his vision–one that would later earn the restaurant global acclaim. Today, the chef is highly regarded as an expert in Filipino gastronomy and culinary cultures, but his unquenchable thirst for knowledge remains.
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Impact Award: Gallery by Chele
Our Impact Award recognises an establishment that has made an indelible mark on the country through its innovations and culinary creations. Whether it’s through his bold, flavourful dishes or his penchant for spinning the DJ decks, chef Chele Gonzalez has proved that he is not of a shy breed. This drive has emboldened the team at Gallery by Chele with courage, faith, and determination during a time when these were sorely needed, but hard to find. On top of pivoting their existing dishes for delivery, the kitchen also introduced take-out gastronomic feasts. Amidst the mayhem, they also launched Deli by Chele, a sustainability-focused online delicatessen with their signature knack for the whimsical and imaginative. A sense of normalcy may creep back into the scene, but these innovations are here to stay– indeed, Gallery by Chele illustrates that fortune continues to favour the bold.
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To say this French-Filipino talent marches to the beat of his own drum would be an understatement. Chef Stephan Duhesme’s restaurant Metiz is etymologically and philosophically inspired by his heritage, reminiscent of the concept mestizo – an identity that is unequivocally Filipino, though perhaps in a way less familiar. He dons the executive chef and co-founder titles at one of the metro’s most talked-about destinations, where he explores the vast possibilities of fermentation. Embark on a head-spinning journey with every picturesque dish across his ever-changing six-course menu, as Duhesme disputes the boundaries of Filipino cuisine. This chef approaches every situation as an opportunity to inspire a sense of pride, curiosity, and an exclaimed “Eureka!” moment through damn good food.
7 / 8
Best Service: Blackbird at The Nielson Tower
The allure of the dine-in experience comes with the desire to feel pampered. To be seated at a table with crisp white linens, elegant stemware, dim lighting, and soothing music all while being catered to by attentive yet non-intrusive servers is all that we ask for after a long day at work. This is a task not achieved by most but is one that Blackbird accomplishes effortlessly. To say that the devil in the details could not be more true, and is a sentiment that chef Colin Mackay takes to heart in each one of his endeavours. From decor, ambience, to table-side manner, etiquette, and menu knowledge, the team at Blackbird takes pride in their ability to foster an ambience that simply, keeps us coming back for more.
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Best Interior Design: Metronome
In this high-ceilinged expanse, guests are welcomed into a world of class with its marble-top bar, encircled by teal stools that encourage early-comers and post-meal lingerers to scan through their selection of top-shelf tipples. From the golden lights that dangle from above to the illuminated mirrors that line the dining room, the space glows with a sophistication that draws your eyes through the textured white walls, streaked indigo panels, and velvety green booths. Exuding French flair, these chic elements are harmoniously married with familiar touches of fawn wood and solihiya weaves. Designed by Noel Bernardo, the restaurant beams an intoxicating aura that sets the mood for the Metronome experience helmed by chef Miko Calo: meticulously refined, not a note out of tune, nor a beat out of rhythm.
Source: The Tatler Dining Guide is Co-Presented by HSBC. Supported by Santa Ana Gin.