The Road to Classic Negrense Cuisine

Sometimes, we find that the first path we choose leads us to a different road where we are meant to be.

This is what happened to Negrense Chef BJ Uy. After finishing his degree in Business Management from the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod, he naturally headed towards a career in hospitality by working for the family-owned Bacolod Business Inn Hotel in his hometown.

But after one stressful day, he found himself in the hotel kitchen. Here, he watched the chefs at work. He was in awe. Soon after, he would always end up at the kitchen where he would try his hand in cooking some dishes as well, as a way to relax.

After realizing that this was really his passion, he enrolled and finished the culinary arts program with honors from the International School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality management in Manila.

Now, he leads the team of his own restaurant East Bite, where one can take a gastronomic journey to eight different Asian cuisines without leaving Bacolod City.

But at a time when every chef is trying to stand out, what does he think of fusion creations?

“Sometimes too much infusing is confusion. I will never forget what my two mentors, Chef Norbert Gandler and Chef Mike Aubergine, a German and an Austrian, said: fusion is confusion. So for me, what I would like to do is modify our local…our Negrense…our local food.”

How then do you think can we push the Negrense cuisine to food enthusiasts’ top of mind?

“I found out that they have a lot of different dishes here in Negros that no one is serving. What I would like to do is learn from the different parts of Negros. What’s your specialty in Escalante? What’s your special dish? Don’t tell me seafood because there’s seafood here and there’s seafood also elsewhere. What did you use to cook a long time ago? Heirloom dishes, and then try to modify that. That would be beautiful. I think what we need to do is learn the fundamentals first, have the ingredients that still exist, and then we modify from there.”

How? Watch Chef BJ Uy’s full interview and his very own twist to the classic Negrense dish Linutik.

Text by: Flo Reyes
Videography by: Grilled Cheese Studios

“Negrense cuisine is what we grew up with, what we ate when we were small until now. It’s homegrown,” says Chef BJ Uy.

Chef BJ advocates taking traditional Negrense cuisine a notch higher, just like this Linutik with Malunggay Chimichurri Sauce, inspired by the classic squash, coconut milk, and shrimp soup.

He entered the hospitality business through the front doors of the family hotels, but Chef BJ naturally gravitated to the kitchen where he found kinship with creative hands.  



“Right now everyone wants plating, because you eat with your eyes then taste after. Chefs are becoming celebrities on TV and on-screen you can see how they plate beautifully.” 

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