Celebrities are said to have a new favorite hangout in town, and it’s owned by the group of Junior Master Chef judge Fernando Aracama, TV host-eventologist Tim Yap, and their business partners.
No, it’s not a new “it” club like those they successfully put up all over Manila and on Boracay Island in recent years.
This one is a restaurant called Aracama Filipino Cuisine, located at The Fort in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, right where the old Embassy and Encore clubs used to be.
Compared to their previous businesses, this one is clearly quieter, more relaxed, perhaps even more substantial in menu.
Asked why they decided to put up a restaurant and not a club this time around, Chef Fern tells PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), in an interview on June 25: “Naikot na namin ang negosyo sa Manila pero wala pa kami talagang restaurant na natitigilan.
“We’ve always been going for the after-dark people, the late-night folks. And now, I think, as we’re gracefully going through our lives—me as I’m getting older and my partners are getting married—parang lahat kami nagse-settle down na in a way.
“So, parang ngayon na lumalabas talaga sa concept namin iyong need to have a base for families na ulit.
“We always yearned for that, e, to have a family restaurant, but we’ve always just ended up being more successful club makers. We just ended up being more successful during the dark.
“So now, ito na. This is our time to literally shine in the light talaga. Our name and life are everything in light na.
“Dito, we actually feel bare. We actually feel naked here, kasi talagang naiisa-isa ka dito, napupuntirya ka na. Unlike sa clubs na, ‘Ano ba’ng sine-serve mo do’n? Alak? Iinom ka lang.’ Dito hindi.
“Now, the concept of finding beauty and believing in Filipino cuisine as the ‘it’ cuisine in this country is the challenge.”
FILIPINO FOOD IS THE STAR. It’s been a longtime dream of Chef Fern to see Filipino food at par with international fares, like French or Japanese cuisine.
But to get there, he had to find the answer to these questions: “Ano nga ba ang problema sa Filipino food? Bakit nga ba hindi sikat?”
It was in 2007 when Chef Fern said he had an epiphany. At the time, he had joined the National Culinary Team to compete in the Hong Kong International Culinary Competition.
“For eleven years, nawala ang Philippines sa competitive stage, but when we went back in 2007, we immediately won a gold medal in one of the most difficult competitions!” he said, pertaining to the Gourmet Team Challenge, where each team was asked to cook 25 dishes in 24 hours.