MANILA -- Anton Amoncio juggles a lot of hats.
Since winning the Asian Food Channel’s "Food Hero" contest in 2016, the 30-year old chef has been busy counting milestones under his belt: two shows for the Asian Food Channel, culinary consultancies, numerous appearances on local television in cooking and morning shows, to even trying out acting in teleseryes.
We caught up with the young chef before his cooking demo for the TLC Festival last November 16 at Bonifacio Global City. In our interview, Amoncio candidly answers questions about his cooking, gives us an update to what he’s been up to, and shares his plans for the future.
Q: It’s been almost 3 years since you’ve won the AFC 'Food Hero' contest. Has anything changed in the way that you view cooking and food?
A: How I perceive food now is pretty much the same. I still maintain the same curiosity. I'm still the curious kid inside the kitchen, but right now, I'm a little bit more sophisticated. Winning 'Food Hero' has opened a lot of doors for me. Now I'm training under two Michelin-star chef, so it made me more complete as a culinarian, but I’m not stopping there, I still want to do more.
Q: What kind of chef or type of chef is Anton Amoncio right now?
A: Well, I am a bit more disciplined now. Back in the day I used to just go crazy when it comes to food, but now it's more refined. I’m more mature, not just as a person, but as a chef, as well. My techniques have been more polished. And I'm still learning, but I hope one day at a time, I’ll get to all my goals.
Q: Since you’ve been in the spotlight for a few years, what’s the most common misconception about you?
A: The most common misconception about me is I stopped cooking inside the kitchen, but I'm cooking more now. I don’t have a restaurant, but I’m doing consultancy work. Right now, I'm opening five restaurants in Batangas. It's an exciting concept too, playing around with different ideas and working with the awesome chefs in the Philippines.
Q: You won the 'Food Hero' tilt with a lamb kaldereta and once said your signature dishes were tinola and fried chicken sa gata. Have you added any new signature dishes to your repertoire?
A: I’m training under chef Jean-Francois [Piege]. He taught me a lot of French techniques that I have applied when I'm cooking Filipino food. I’m excited to showcase that [my new signature dishes] in the upcoming months because we are cooking up something really, really, really exciting in AFC. I can’t mention it yet, but watch out for it — on the 29th of November, they’re going to unveil it soon.
Q: You juggle a lot of hats, how do you do it?
A: Wow! I can't count how many hats are wearing right now. I just try to do my best at all times, and I try to not divide my attention. For example, if I’m doing a teleserye, I just study my lines well, talk to my co-actors and ask for direction. When I'm in the kitchen, I talk to my colleagues and make sure that the quality of the food that I bring out is top-notch. I make sure that when I open restaurants are made sure that it's still top-notch as well. So, when I do a particular role, I give 100%, and then if it’s time to take off that hat, put another hat on, and focus again. With that, I get to bring out the maximum output in everything.
Q: You’ve done a cooking show and a travel show. Do you prefer one or the other?
A: I like travel shows. 'Cruise the World' was my first travel show and I fell in love with it right off the bat. Because I'm very talkative, I love interacting with people. Being the only child, I don't really get to talk to a lot of people, but when I get a chance to talk to people like you or your anyone, I pretty much open up and we can just talk for hours.
Q: Any destination that you'd like to travel to for food?
A: Top of mind, I want to go to Spain. I want to go there. I want to go back to Mexico again because I was just there for a day and a half. It was for the cruise so I wasn't able to try all their food out, and I eat a lot like their rich flavors. I want to go to Jamaica!
Q: Besides the new show coming this year, what’s in store for you next year?
A: A lot. I can’t give up too many details, but let's say I might go to the side of writing stuff. I might be able to hopefully produce my own content as well.