Only 21 years old, Don Baldosano explores the “possibilities of Filipino food” through a 16-course tasting menu he serves at home in Parañaque.
“Linamnam” is a Filipino word that translates to “deliciousness”. It’s also what 21-year-old Don Baldosano has decided to name his home-based private kitchen, where he aspires “to achieve umami in every dish”. He believes that umami is “not [a] fifth taste, but something you work to get to”.
The young chef is well-versed, purposeful — and he’s become a staunch new voice in Filipino cuisine. “Filipino food is complex in flavor,” he says, lamenting that the cuisine isn’t given the same amount of reverence as, say, French. “When we look at Filipino food, we don’t look at it as something grand but something that nourishes us. But French people look at their food gloriously; they celebrate it. Food to them isn’t about quantity but quality.”
This — elevating appreciation for the range, richness and subtleties of Filipino cuisine — is what he’s trying to do at his 12-seat kitchen. He serves modern iterations of Filipino classics, such as pinakbet, sinigang and sisig; dehydrates the humble santan flower into edible garnishes; and painstakingly dry ages a range of meats and seafood. “I want to make a difference and change the way we look at Filipino food,” he declares. “It has to be celebrated.”
Linamnam is located at 31 Greenvale 2, Marcelo Green Village, Parañaque; or call +63 917 573 0246 (by reservation only). The 16-course tasting menu is priced at Php1,700; cocktail pairing is an additional Php500.
Don’s Take On Familiar Flavors
- Hilaw na Sisig. “On top of the rice cracker is sisig made from Bukidnon wagyu — kind of like our take on sisig and rice — topped with dehydrated santan and balsamina flowers.”
- Tiyula Express. “This is a hybrid of two dishes: tiyula itum and Bicol Express. The sauce is made from coconut with ginamos (the Visayan version of bagoong or fermented shrimp) and coconut milk. It’s topped with milkfish belly, kangkong stems and santan flower.”
- Monggo and Foie Gras. “This is a comfort dish that combines high-end and lowend ingredients: monggo (mung beans), navy beans and lentils cooked in butter and served with foie gras, squash, mustard stems.”
- Maja Blanca. “It’s essentially a crème brûlée of maja custard (coconut pudding) topped with lightly torched Mindanao sugar, and finished with blue pea leaves.”
This story first appeared in the January 2020 issue of Smile magazine.