Contact Information

Cebu Holdings, Inc.
20/F Ayala Center Cebu Tower
Bohol Street, Cebu Business Park
Cebu City, Cebu 6000
Tel: (63 32) 888 3700

Straight, simple, stellar

Saturday, September 3, 2016

When one attempts at drawing a straight line with a pen on a piece of paper, it takes immense focus to keep that line flawlessly accurate. When it comes to food, Jason Atherton, the Michelin-starred chef at the helm of the newly opened The Pig and Palm in Cebu, is a straight shooter.

“Simplicity with complication,” the chef explained how he would describe his style.

“To produce really simple food, it’s not really simple. Some people don’t clean fish well; here it takes an entire process,” he said. He went on sharing how the local clams served at The Pig and Palm are washed for an entire day, this, among many other processes done during food preparation.

The British chef does not cut corners; works focused, directing all the other staff in the kitchen like a maestro encouraging out the creativity from a band of jazz musicians, and then telling them to keep it simple—to create that perfect piece of progressive pop rock instead that would soon be served on a plate. Generally speaking, these are the food recipes one can expect from this modern bistro, a taste that’s accessible, familiar, but with an undeniable trace of genius, quality and consistency that only a true artist would strive achieving every single time.

Atherton, who has been in the business for 28 years now, started pursuing his love for food when he was 16 by working in several restaurants in London. One place led to another, until he found himself working for the top chefs in the industry who have earned their Michelin stars as well. It was during this phase in his life when he met his beautiful wife, Irha.

It was in 2011 when Chef Jason started his first restaurant. Soon enough, the Athertons’ critically acclaimed restaurant group, The Social Company, bloomed where it would set up a new restaurant. Under the group, it holds three Michelin stars and its reach spans London, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney... and now Cebu.

The Pig and Palm is the group’s 16th brand overall and is the company’s sole venture in the Philippines. Much to the delight of Cebuano food aficionados, a high-caliber dining place seemed to have found its way to the Queen City from out of nowhere.

Well, the secret to all the surprise is love. Chef Jason’s wife Irha is a Cebuana.

“My family has been in and out of Cebu for 11 years now actually,” he shared.

“It has always been Irha’s dream to bring some of the success of our restaurant group, The Social Company, back to her hometown of Cebu. As my wife and co-director of the company, it gives me no greater joy than to open a Social destination here as my love letter to her.”

The Pig and Palm was created in collaboration with business partners, Cebu-based property developers Chris and Carla McKowen and architect Lyndon Neri, with the aim of bringing great food for locals in an informal, contemporary environment. The Pig and Palm is also known for its innovative cocktail bar, blending traditional Filipino fruits and flavors with British cocktail styles.

“We’re not trying to come up here as superior,” Chef Jason shared about how the modern bistro stands with the rest of the established food places in the metropolis. “We just want to do our job well. We want people to know we serve good food and to come back for a good time… Good food shouldn’t be just for special occasions. Food is an inclusive thing.”

Last, one good thing about Atherton is his affinity for using local ingredients wherever a restaurant of his is set up.

“This makes the food affordable. We support the local farmers and industry, and cooking with local ingredients is always interesting for chefs because we get to see new items,” he said.

The Pig and Palm is located on the ground floor of MSY Tower, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City. It is open 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. (SUN STAR CEBU)