About Chef Danny

Danny de la Cuesta’s creative and artistic career spans three decades of prolific output in design, training and consultancy. He graduated in the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication majoring in Broadcast Communications. He pursued his Second degree in Business Management with concentration in Fashion Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York University, USA. He has been designing fashion since the late 70’s, with rich local and international exposures through retail, export and fashion shows. In 1994, he opted to broaden his horizon by extending his artistic calling by means of embarking into a career in Culinary Design. He became the first National Champion of the San Miguel Culinary Cookfest which paved him to pursue a Diploma in Culinary Arts at the Le Cordon Bleu Escole di Cuisine, London Campus, England under the tutelage of Chef Michel Boucheret. He was the past Editor in Chief of Cook Magazine and an active member of The Creative Media Professionals Guild of the Asia and the Pacific.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


1) http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=837124&publicationSubCategoryId=87

2) http://food.silkenhut.com/comida-ilocandia-bringing-ilocano-food-to-metro-manila-at-attractive-prices/

3) http://angtakawko.blogspot.com/2012/08/bringing-ilocano-food-to-metro-manila.html

4) http://www.bubblyfluffy.com/2012/08/comida-x-spaoay-bringing-ilocano-food.html#.UDbShtAjE80

5) http://www.tablesurfer.com/2012/08/bringing-ilocano-food-to-metro-manila-at-attractive-prices/

6) http://oureatdates.blogspot.com/2012/08/bringing-ilocano-food-to-metro-manila.html

7) http://yaniconquistadora.blogspot.com/2012/09/comida-ilocandia-slow-cooked-flavors.html

8) http://markpogi0121.blogspot.com/2012/09/ilocandia-treats-at-comida-ilocandia.html

9) https://foursquare.com/v/comida-ilocandia/501947b7e4b08659767c1ae5

10) http://www.metrodeal.com/deals/Metro_Manila/Comida-Ilocandia/229613116

11) http://mommysmaglife.blogspot.com/2012/10/comida-ilocandia-and-spaoay.html

12) http://www.manilenyamom.info/2012/09/good-food-at-comida-ilocandia.html

13) http://www.tsinoyfoodies.com/2012/10/comida-ilocandia-budget-friendly.html

14) http://www.pinoybudget.com/save-50-off-comida-ilocandia/

15) http://kwentototo.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-comida-ilocandia-spaoay-experience.html

16) http://www.yousaytoo.com/good-food-at-comida-ilocandia/4212094

17) http://dealicioso.com.ph/tag/comida-ilocandia-philippines/

18) http://eatworkandblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/comida-villas-and-spaoay-ilocano-food.html

19) http://sayitnessie.com/2012/09/25/comida-ilocandia/

20) http://www.philstar.com/travel-and-tourism/2012/08/12/837333/bringing-ilocano-food-delicacies-metro-manila-affordable-prices

21) http://www.blog-ph.com/2012/11/comida-ilocandia-and-spaoay-hidden-gems.html

22) http://looloo.com/r/12qh

23) http://www.tablesurfer.com/2012/08/bringing-ilocano-food-to-metro-manila-at-attractive-prices/#more-1275

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Comida Ilocandia's Heritage Dishes

1) Bagnet in Ilocos Sur or Chicharon in Ilocos Norte is the Ilocano version of the lechon kawali—pork slabs are boiled in a saline solution, air dried, then twice fried until they are crunchy and golden. In the early days of my childhood, my grandparents cooked bagnet that were stored in burnay- stoneware jars. The jar was loaded to the rim with the pork oil that solidified into lard as its temperature lowered. The lard was used to re-fry the pork before serving or for flavoring vegetable dishes such as the pinakbet, the tang for for the miki soup or to perk up the garlic-fried rice. Lately, it has become a prohibitive condiment for those over thirty.

Ilocano Adobo
2) The Adobo Ilocos is dry compared to any regional cooking versions. The adobo marinade is used profusely in making Longanisa, Dinuguan-(stewed pork blood pudding) and Higado. These recipes differ according to meat cuts and added ingredients when cooking. The use of generous amounts of vinegar and garlic preserves the food for longer periods. It is impossible not to find these food items in every Ilocano household, which is practically served for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Tinuno on a stick
3) The Tinuno roast pork in Ilocos are cooked in slabs. Marinated in a pungent- garlicky flavored marinade, they are smoked and grilled in high fire for a very short period. The chunks of grilled meat are sliced in bite-sizes then served with the house signature dipping sauce made of vinegar, fish bagoong, ginger and birds eye peppers.  

Ilocos Longanisa
4) The Longanisas are coarsely ground pork mixed with lots of back fat and adobo marinade. The Ilocos Norte version is known to be juicier and more fatal than the ones in Vigan because they contain more fat. These longanisa versions fall on the salty- garlicky side. It is a bit spicier and vinegar-flavored with a hint of paprika and oregano. The best way to cook longanisa is to blanch the sausage in liquid then drip dry. Gently prick each link and let it cook in its own oil under low heat until it turns into golden brown. Expect an appetite-building aroma while these longanisas are cooked.

5) The Higado is the Spanish word for liver. This dish is made with pig’s meat & sweetbread- soaked in brine before slicing to reduce the slimy taste. Higado is a sweet stew made possible by the juices of the roasted red bell peppers, onions and garlic that gives flavor to the sauce then seasoned with Ilocos vinegar and fish paste that builds the savory taste. Preparing the pork liver is the secret in this dish as common mistakes of many Ilocano home cooks. When not properly set up the liver ends tough when cooked.

Cooking these stewed dishes in Ilocos is a ritual for all home cooks. It takes them three days to prepare and cook these heritage fares before they are dished up. However, when served on the table, the meal instantly becomes a feast.

Today these heritage dishes are available in Chef's Danny's Comida Ilocandia for dine in or for bulk orders.

Delivery is on us! 994 7596 / 709 9041 or 09189256603 for reservations. 

Crispy Dinuguan

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bringing Ilocano Food to Metro Manila at Attractive Prices

Chef Danny de la Cuesta poses in front of the Comida Ilocandia, the newest restaurant along Timog Avenue. Serving genuine traditional Ilocano bagnet, crispy dinuguan, higado, Vigan longganisa, and tinuno,  Comida Ilocandia is definitely the place for your cravings.  

The doors of Comida Ilocandia opened during storm Gener’s entry last Saturday (July 30) but foodies, business associates, and close friends of fashion Designer turned Chef Danny de la Cuesta and his four partners were undaunted and pushed through with the occasion.

This is because Chef Danny and his partners believed that their mission of bringing Ilocano food and delicacies into Metro Manila is far more important than the weather so they could satisfy those who are hooked to the rich taste of slow- cooked traditional Ilocano meals and even first- timers who eventually get hitched to this gastronomic experience.

Though one can find, here and there, genuine Ilocano bagnet or pinakbet, there is no consistency in the supply, price and quality of these food items. However, at Comida, anybody can order Bagnet, Adobo Seco, Crispy Dinuguan, Tinuno (barbecued ribs) and Higado, in-house or to go dishes for one or in bulk.

 Crispy Adobo Seco

 Crispy Dinuguan


 Longanisa Laoag

Chef Danny, a gracious host explains to diners the nuances of Ilocano dishes. Bagnet from Ilocos Sur are Chinese-inspired in the way lechon macao while in Ilocos Norte, bagnet comes of Mexican influence and is called chicharones.

Bagnet in Vigan or Chicharon in Laoag

To make these dishes more affordable at P98 per microwaveable box, Chef Danny made sure to prepare and serve value meal sizes also (consisting of any of these meat dishes plus rice and Ilocano- pickled vegetables).

At Comida, there are also traditional Ilocano specialty drinks like Champola- guava or guyabana coolers, and Horchata- rice milk, along with innovations on rice coffee (dark roast) or rice tea (lighter roast) brews.

“Since we started last Saturday we have been selling Bagnet and our bottled pickled vegetables (inartem) so fast, our commissary is hard-pressed catching up with the orders,” Chef Danny said.

A true-blue marketer, Chef Danny explains to his guests what makes his Ilocano cuisine a cut above the rest, is because it is cooked based on universal cooking & tastiness standards. For one, we prepare our meats in slabs after brining, marinating and braising them a day at a time. There is no rush to cooking the meats. At all times, our Adobo are cooked slowly in very low fire for more than eight hours until they are very tender. After that we rest them for a day or two. Constantly, we use natural flavors of sukang Iloko, molasses, lots of garlic, peppercorns, laurel, oregano, pimiento and others.”

“Since adobo are cooked in slabs, we only slice and refry a small portion per meal then we freeze the rest. Only sufficient slices are served per meal. The longer the meat is kept, the better it tastes,” Chef Danny explained.

The process of cooking bagnet slabs is also as tedious as the adobo and so with the Higado and the crispy dinuguan. “We do not resort to short cuts,” Chef Danny added.

"Ilocanos", he gags, prepare their meat in slabs because during every meal, each family member partakes a considerable slice of the meat while the bigger slab is displayed on the table for the members to visually feast while chewing the rice on the plates. This way the meat lasts for other meals, and this traditional joke is very true in Ilocos Norte, Chef Danny chuckles.

Why the meat is made to last long is because of the frequent and prolonged visits of storms in the Ilocos region, making life very hard and families are forced to make their food last until after the storms, he explained.

De la Cuesta, who spent 44 years in fashion designing and selling his brand of ready to wear clothes and made to order gowns before extending into business development and culinary arts, partnered with childhood friends, classmates and associates such that each investor is responsible for a specific aspect of the business. Chef Danny takes control areas on Conceptual & Product Planning, Business & Market Development.

His venture from fashion designing (where he had 72 employees under him) to cookery was upon the advice of his doctor after a heart attack in the United States. He joined a national competition of San Miguel. A short culinary course in Le Cordon Bleu in London that came part of the prize extended to nine months of learning more skills. Upon returning from London, he was consulted for food brands mostly for recipe development, cooking demos and mentoring.

Then he ventured into business development with brands that are now very commercially viable. 

Ilocano cuisine right in the heart of the Metro

Celebrated Celebrity Chef Danny de la Cuesta brings another innovation combining authentic Ilocano heritage cuisine when he recently launched the “Comida Ilocandia” a thematic Ilocano bistro.

Chef Danny provides his guests with facilities for dining famous Ilocano slow cooked recipes. He engineered his Bagnet, Adobo Seco, Crispy Dinuguan, Tinuno and Higado to meet universal cooking & palatability standards. 

Comida Ilocandia is open daily from lunch to dinner ready to bring more and new dishes to food lovers. Located along Timog Avenue in Quezon City.