Sisterfields: From Tagaytay farm to fork
Julie Cabatit-Alegre (The Philippine Star) - September 23, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Farm to table” is a popular catchphrase we often hear these days in the food industry. It suggests the shortest distance that fresh produce is made to travel from the field to our dinner plate. Farm-to-table restaurants usually buy their ingredients locally, directly from the farmers. An ideal situation would be where the farm and the restaurant are both owned and operated by the same people.

Such is the case of Sisterfields, the newest destination restaurant that espouses the farm-to-table concept. It will soon be opened in Tagaytay by The Cravings Group, led by its founder, Annie Guerrero, who is well-known for her green advocacy.

“Sisterfields stays true to my mom’s advocacy and her passion for farming,” says Badjie Trinidad, CEO of the Cravings Group. “For Sisterfields, we will grow most of the restaurant’s requirements.”

They have a 2.2-hectare farm in Tagaytay, plus another four hectares available.

“Our three-hectare farm in Antipolo can supply all of our salad requirements,” Badjie says, “but the idea is to bring the farm nearer to the restaurant.”

Aside from the vegetable farm, they also have some livestock. Tagaytay is a good source of beef, as well as fish from Taal Lake such as maliputo and tawilis.

“Sisterfields will follow three important tenets,” Badjie explains. “First, ‘From Farm to Fork’ means only organic produce of fruits and vegetables from Tagaytay will be served. Second, ‘From Pasture to Plate’ means the best of Tagaytay meat and seafood will be creatively used to present new dishes. And third, ‘From Crop to Cup’ means only the best coffee from Di Bella will be savored by diners.”

New York-based Filipino personal chef Noel de la Rama was in Manila specifically to conceptualize and develop the special menu for Sisterfields, which he said will be characterized by flavors familiar to the Filipino palate such as sweet, salty, and spicy.

“The smell of fresh garlic and the saltiness of the tuyo and tinapa come to mind,” he says, such as is found in his tinapa spring rolls with sweet chili sauce. The mango, kamias, pako and jicama salad is drizzled with bagoong Balayan vinaigrette, while crispy tawilis are served with kaffir lime aioli.

The flatbread pizza has longganisa and kesong puti. Other interesting items on the menu are the tapa empanadas as well as the Cerveza Negra-braised boneless beef short ribs with garlic mashed potato. There’s familiar comfort food such as southern fried chicken with pan gravy as well as brined double-cut pork chops.

The homemade ice cream comes in a variety of flavors such as Barako, Ube Macapuno, and Pineapple Tarragon, all making good use of crops abundant in Tagaytay.

Tarragon happens to be chef Noel’s favorite herb. “It’s the most underutilized herb,” he says. “It has a hint of mint and anise, which goes well with seafood and chicken. It’s very refreshing and takes the dish to a different level.”

He has a salad dressing he calls Green Goddess dressing that has a sour-cream base with anchovies, chives, parsley, and tarragon.

Chef Noel admits that not all the ingredients can be sourced exclusively from Tagaytay. “The goat cheese and milk we can get from Tagaytay, as well as the beef for the bulalo, which is an all-time favorite, but the burger and brisket we may get from New Zealand or Bukidnon,” he says. “Our first priority is still the guests and we’d like to serve only the best quality.”

Also part of the Sisterfields menu are some of the all-time favorites that the former C2 Restaurant of the Cravings Group in Tagaytay was known for, such as kare-kare, bulalo, and the bibingka soufflé. There will also be an Epicurious Express and patisserie section by the restaurant entrance for freshly baked bread with flavors such as banana and pineapple, again taking advantage of fruits abundant in the area, as well as other grab-and-go items for the convenience of residents at the Summit Ridge hotel, where the restaurant is located.

“Tagaytay is bustling with many restaurants,” Badjie observes. “People are always looking for something new to discover and they tend to hop from place to place. I think Sisterfields will be a good complement to what others have to offer.”





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