On the Table: Chef David Pardo de Ayala of Restaurant Verbena

By franco on 31 March, 2007

Moving to Manila in 1997, Chef David Pardo de Ayala, a native Colombian, opened the famous Soleil and worked as the executive chef of Aqua at the Enterprise Center. Currently, Chef David is the Corporate Chef of the Discovery Group which includes Verbena at the Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay.
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Who in your life has influenced your cooking the most?

It’s hard to choose one single person as the most significant influence, because I made it a point to be exposed to the cooking of as many leading chefs as I could during my formative years. I would probably mention Chefs David Bouley and Rikkard Jacobson in NYC as those who made a major impact on my future cuisine.
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Which book has had the biggest impact?

Two books: Simply French: The Cuisine of Joel Robuchon by Patricia Wells and White Heat by Marco Pierre White.
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What was your first job in the food business?

The staff cafeteria in the Bogata Royal Hotel. When I was an apprentice, I had to scrub down the walk-in chiller the first day. I cut my finger badly within the first 10 minutes.

What is the inspiration behind Verbena’s menu?

The harvest of Tagaytay, the rhythm of the seasons and my professional evolution
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What is your favorite item on Verbena’s menu?

The grilled corn and crabmeat ravioli

Which restaurant meal (foreign or local) do you remember the most?

Lunch at Lespinasse, in the St. Regis Hotel in NYC. It was back in 1996 or 1997. The interiors, food and service were of such caliber that it was borderline depressing. “I’ll never cook like this” was all I could think of as we were leaving. The technique and precision of the kitchen were just incredible.
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Besides your own place, what’s your favorite restaurant in Manila?

Hossein’s Persian Kebab
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What junk food do you love?

I love Oreo cookies with milk.

Is there a food you just can’t seem to enjoy?

I’m not a big fan of okra.
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Just between us, what are your future plans?

A month-long trip to Barcelona, a baby and a new restaurant at Discovery Ortigas
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Restaurant Verbena
Discovery Country Suites
300 Calamba Road, San Jose, Tagaytay City

4120 Philippines

Telephone: (63 46) 413.4567
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Website: www.

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Post a comment
  • APRIL 9, 2007 9:26 PM

    Anonymous said...

    I loved aqua at the enterprise. Have not been back in a while. Is it still there?

  • APRIL 11, 2007 3:29 AM

    wysgal said...

    Aqua has been gone for a few years now.

  • APRIL 13, 2007 7:34 AM

    Anonymous said...

    Just came from Discovery Shores in Boracay. Beautiful. I loved the food especially the lobster sashimi.