Davao’s young and determined chef Darence Patrick Co was smiling from ear to ear during the busy and stressful holiday season of 2019. The talented and truly hardworking master of the kitchens of Fat Cow and Asian Cow who has become Davao City’s celebrity chef, or is it chef to the celebrities, has every reason to smile or even laugh. He persists to please Davao’s respected gourmands and foodies. The 24-year-old chef (born in Davao City on December 6, 1995) has that steely assertion of faith in himself being a typical millennial of his generation. And his latest accomplishment is landing both Fat Cow and Asian Cow on the list of Philippine Tatler’s T. Dining Guide as Best Restaurants in the country for 2020.
Philippine Tatler is one glossy magazine that focuses on the country’s perfumed high society’s lifestyle—arts, fashion and culture, haute cuisine, among many others. It is also the gourmands’ and and foodies’ definitive guide to the country’s ever changing culinary landscape from the best restaurants and bars to interesting insights from respected chefs and cooks, both local and alien. Every year, Philippine Tatler’s T. Dining Guide comes up with its “Best Restaurants Guide” which has made a strong impact and mark on the Philippines’ culinary scene.
It was last Thursday when chef Patrick, whom we get to call each other “toto” owing to copious Ilonggo blood flowing in our throbbing veins, finally invited for lunch over at his Asian Cow resto. It was for the much awaited but very much delayed celebrations of his Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Prosperous New Year, Kung Hei Fat Choi plus, of course, his latest recognition from Philippine Tatler all in one meal (for economical reasons maybe). Joining us for chef Patrick’s modern Korean/Taiwanese-inspired lunch treat were Paolo and Janet Tancontian whose children, Sydney and Chino, are UST college scholars who contributed medals to the Philippines’ winnings in the recent 30th Southeast Asian Games.
“I am still unbelieving that both my restaurants, Fat Cow and Asian Cow, are now on Philippine Tatler’s T. Dining Guide list as Best Restaurants for 2020. At 24 years of age and an undergraduate, I wouldn’t have thought of achieving this recognition. When I started these restaurants four years ago, I was just so eager and hopeful that these would be successful business ventures that would provide good food to hungry diners and at the same time, provide income-earning jobs to people in our community,” so expressed the emotional chef Patrick while adding, “I wouldn’t have accomplished this without the much valued support from my family, my mommy dearest (she who cried when toto Patrick dropped out of college to pursue a culinary course instead in chef Gene Gonzalez’s culinary school), my dear friends, and our highly valued clients who have been patronizing us for the past years. To our restaurant crews who have been continuously working so hard in creating and cooking dishes for our much appreciated diners; and who maintain the restaurants for these to be clean and ready every single day, I am truly super grateful.”
“This recognition is for Davao City and I am truly hopeful that our beloved city’s dining scene will only get better. I am a proud Davaoeño of this Duterte-led country. As a chef, walking into Fat Cow and Asian Cow is a daily reminder that it is not only my responsibility to feed the hungry; but I am also given the power to start meaningful relationships with every moment spent with my diners through the good food I passionately and painstakingly prepare for them to feast on. The Philippine Tatler awards will only make us strive to do better than our best. After almost four years in the food industry of Davao City, it is times like this which remind us that all the labour done in the kitchen in all those four glorious years was never a waste of a single time.”
After chef Patrick’s dramatic expressions of gratitude and narrative on his recent Best Restaurant awards for his two babies, Fat Cow and Asian Cow, the Tancontians and I got so hungry after listening oh so seriously to him. We feasted immediately on chef Patrick’s specially prepared culinary “bribery” for the day. What struck me is how varied chef Patrick’s culinary offerings truly are; and they are impressive in flavor, texture and presentation as the guy is always inspired by his culinary experiences especially in Asian countries which he visits regularly to update himself. What chef Patrick served us that day were genuinely distinct in flavors of Korean and Taiwanese cuisines. It is chef Patrick’s signature culinary expressionism in style as he explained, “I balance the old school with the brand new. Taken together, they add up to the kind of food that, for me, will never loose its appeal; and served in a place that one would always be in a mood to return to. I am hoping that Davao becomes one of the top foodies’ destination in the country; and maybe globally.”
It wasn’t too long ago, it seems, when Davao was known as the Ihaw-ihaw Republic. Indeed, Davao has gone a long way from the smokey eateries of Colasas BBQ and Luz Kinilaw Place to the present savvy interior designed restos of the City like Fat Cow and Asian Cow. Congratulations Fat Cow and Asian Cow by chef Darence Patrick Co.
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