Connect with us

Editors' Picks

Cebu’s Celebrated Chefs Put a Twist on Our Beloved Ube

Some of Cebu’s celebrated chefs showcase their take on the humble purple yam and elevate it to its highest potential.

If you’re often on social media, you’ve probably seen this vibrant purple root vegetable making its rounds across different platforms. Ube, also known as purple yam, hails from the Philippines and is predominantly found in Filipino desserts such as ube halaya and halo-halo.

The purple yam is definitely a staple at Filipino potlucks. Most of us will instantly recognize the taste of ube, and non-natives will associate the taste as an amalgamation of pistachio, vanilla and coconut. Despite the comparison, ube has a unique flavor that has helped create its own identity in the midst of all the outrageous food trends floating around on the internet.

Dubbed the “new matcha,” ube is gaining stateside attention for its striking color and earthy flavor—you don’t really need a technically refined palate to be able to enjoy it. Now, with the marriage of western influences to its eastern roots, ube is used as a base for artisanal gelato, combined with other ingredients in cakes, as icing on doughnuts, or even in savory pasta dishes.

Ube is fast becoming a versatile ingredient, experimented with in innovative ways that stray far from traditional Filipino cuisine. One simple ingredient, many ways to make use of it. Some of Cebu’s celebrated chefs showcase their take on the humble purple yam and elevate it to its highest potential.


Marco Polo Plaza Cebu

Chef William gives off a meticulous aura when he prepares what he needs for his ube recipe. He continuously hones his expertise through his experience working in many countries in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the USA. He divulges that he continues to learn as he travels, and shares his knowledge with other people. He had previously worked with a Filipina pastry chef named Ceding before, claiming that she makes the best ube pastries he’s ever tasted—his recipe is an adaptation of hers, with a bit of personalization in the final design.

Ube macapuno torte

On the outside, the torte looks extravagant as it’s topped with various kinds of chocolate—swirls, chips, shavings, you name it—their colors contrasting with the vibrant purple of the cake. Chef William works quickly to build the garnish, seeing as the cake doesn’t do well in warm temperatures. On the inside are rich layers of mousse that melt the moment they touch your tongue. What’s more interesting to note is that every time Chef William creates the ube-macapuno torte, it always looks completely different.



Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu

Having been a pastry chef for six years now, Chef Marvin is no stranger to the vibrant purple yam. His inclination is to create modern trends of cakes and varieties of flavor combinations, infusing art and creativity in every piece of work. His tenure as a pastry chef shines through as he easily whips up not one, but seven different ube recipes. He definitely doesn’t let his experience go to waste, also imparting his knowledge to others as an instructor at one of the well-known culinary schools in Cebu.

Maja ube

The Mövenpick property in Mactan is well-known for its maja ube, which is popular among locals and tourists alike. The earthy sweetness of the ube is perfect when combined with the rich coconut cream. Toasted coconut tops the ube maja, adding depth to the texture with its crunch.

Halohalo cake

One of the ways to enjoy ube is by having it in halo-halo. Now imagine the key ingredients in this beloved Filipino treat, but in a cake! The recipe has layers of ube cake, macapuno and leche flan. It’s garnished with a flower made out of white chocolate and makes for an aesthetically-pleasing treat, on top of being a pleasing and familiar combination of flavors.



Circa 1900

Steve Shrimski had become an executive chef at just 23, and has since spent the next 30 years working throughout Australia and beyond. He shares that he likes taking on challenges, and that he always thinks of how to create dishes that are healthy just as they are tasty. In fact, he admits he’s excited to work with ube—ube is an antioxidant that offers immunity-boosting and cancer-fighting properties. After all, Chef Steve believes that a creative chef should be able to produce something no one else has tried or succeeded at.

Ube and malunggay puff pastry volau-vent

This recipe calls for fresh ube that’s been poached, dehydrated then ground into a fine powder. Vol-au-vent, or a small hollow case of puff pastry, is taken out of its traditional box and modernized by adding ground ube and malunggay. This creates a major twist, making it healthy. Keeping with the modern Filipino style, it’s filled with adobo-flavored foie gras parfait, which is light and fluffy. It’s garnished with balsamic-caramelized onions to offset the adobo’s acidic flavor.

Ube ravioli with cocodobo

Another dish of traditional Filipino flavors with European influences, this incorporates ube into the ravioli dough, giving it a vibrant purple color. It’s filled with coco-dobo (coconut-adobo sauce), crispy shredded Circa lechon, and garnished with crispy lechon skin on alugbati and poached ube discs.




As he’s married to a Filipina, Chef Geoffrey has a fair amount of encounters with Filipino food. Having met her in Dubai, they came to Cebu for a vacation and saw the opportunity to open their own restaurant. He shares that his wife is the one who gave him the idea for his recipe—it’s the first time he’s tried cooking it outside the traditional way, and he’s so pleased with the outcome that he plans on putting it in L’Artisan’s next menu.

Ube and corn cheesecake meringue

With its layers of decadent ube and creamy corn, Chef Geoffrey’s cheesecake shows the immense thought put into it. A coating of crushed macadamia nuts surrounds the cheesecake. and delicate puffs of toasted meringue top it off. It’s garnished with a candied lemon and a single blue pea flower, which is edible and adds a bright pop of color.



Soho Park

Warm and always smiling, Chef Rob excitedly talks about the ube dish he’s prepared for us. The recently opened Soho Park is his first venture into the dining scene in Cebu. Starting out in the industry as a dishwasher when he was 15, he has spent the past 17 years working his way up and eventually calling Cebu his home. He shares that not having ube on their menu wasn’t an option—in fact, the dish he presented is based on one that’s already on their menu, and even pairs it with a matching ube drink.

Ube waffle with confit duck leg and foie gras

It may not be a typical Filipino pairing, but Chef Rob’s recipe is based on the popular chicken and waffle dish in the West. He’s incorporated ube into the waffles, giving it vivid color and a subtle flavor that sets it apart from the typical waffle. Its sweetness complements the saltiness of the duck leg so well, making it a marriage of sweet and savory flavors. The pairing is topped with a fried egg, corn puree and corn-fed foie gras, which adds a hint of luxury. On the side, there’s a choice of using either maple butter or mashed avocado to round out the dish.

Ube and white chocolate mocha latte

Soho Park’s barista Red Tuico whips up this creamy latte that’s straight off the menu. The sweetness of the use is elevated by the addition of white chocolate, and can be served hot or iced.

Originally published in the Zee Lifestyle October 2017 edition.

Editors' Picks

A GREEN CHRISTMAS: Eco-friendly Holiday Gift Ideas

Seriously, who wants a blue Christmas? Go green when gift-giving with our curated list of sustainable gift items that are perfect for your loved-ones AND the environment as well.

It’s Christmas Deer Knot Wrap from LUSH (Php 495)
For the practical yet fashionable mom, this reusable organic cotton Knot Wrap from Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics is ideal. With an endeeringly bright and nostalgic design, this can be used to wrap gifts or add a touch of festive charm to any outfit.

Lush has introduced Knot Wraps 10 years ago, in 2009, as an alternative reusable packaging. This Christmas, Knot-Swap, a new scheme will launch in all Lush shops. Freshen up your Knot Wrap game without wasting a stitch. Swap in your pre-loved wrap and get 50% off a Lush design of the same size. The Knot Wraps for Christmas 2019 are made from either Organic Cotton or Recycled waste bottles. Waste not, want knot! For more information, please visit www.lush.com.ph

Abaca Pillowcase in Green from ANTHILL (Php 849)
This Abaca Pillow Case from Anthill Fabric Gallery is fabulous for the meticulous aunt and can enliven any room. It is made of Abaca pinanggabol (handloomed natural textile) from the Daraghuyan Tribe in Dalwangan, Bukidnon. The handloom process creates a slightly looser weave that leaves a comfortable texture and softness that deepens over time. The Abaca pillowcase is available in 5 colors.

Bag of Treats from ECHOSTORE (Php 629)
Filled with Theo & Philo Artisan Chocolates and variations of Malagos Dark Chocolate, this “bag of treats” from ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle is the ultimate present for the kids and the kids-at-heart!

Bamboo Tumbler from ECO HUB CEBU (Php 720)
A nice fit for the on-the-go dad or the adventurous brother, this double-walled insulated tumbler keeps any beverage hot or cold for up to 8 hours. You can have it customized and engrave a name on the body or the lid at an additional fee of Php 50 per piece.
Order via Facebook: Eco Hub Cebu

Gifts of Comfort and Joy from HUMAN HEART NATURE (Php 509)
Give the gift of natural goodness to grandma with this set from Human Heart Nature which includes Lavender Oil and balm with Rose Bouquet Hand & Foot Salve for her relaxing and pampering needs!

Glass Skin Glow Set from ELLANA MINERAL COSMETICS (Php 1,148)
Now available in a special bundle, this best-selling item from Ellana Mineral Cosmetics is an essential addition to your girlfriend’s purse! It’s skin care and a setting spray in one, which contains rose and Mandarin orange extracts.

Lazy Boy Dry Shampoo from PARALUMAN (Php 130-160)
Perfect for the vain boyfriend, this dry shampoo from Paraluman is lightweight. It contains cocoa, patchouli and seaweed to volumize, add shine, heal, reduce oiliness and dryness, and promote hair growth. It also comes with a sleek black aluminum tub that you can reuse over and over!

All products featured on zee.ph are independently selected by our editors. 

Continue Reading

Editors' Picks

Siosai Tempura Restaurant

Serving a variety of set tempura meals, they’ve got the culinary technique down to a T, especially with their Japanese head chef, Kojiro Shimamura, at the helm. 

Siosai Tempura Restaurant is the newest tempura place in town.

Named after the sound of the waves, Siosai Tempura Restaurant has the culinary technique down to a T, especially with their Japanese head chef, Kojiro Shimamura, at the helm. 

You can find your usual tempura fare, like shrimp, here, but you’d be surprised just how many kinds of tempura are on their menu, from vegetables to other kinds of meat like chicken or pork. 

Their desserts are also served tempura-style, like the ice cream and the cinnamon apples. 

Opens Mondays through Sundays, 11AM to 11PM.
Bonifacio District, 6000 F. Cabahug St, Cebu City, Cebu

Continue Reading

Editors' Picks

Palmer’s Body Butter

Palmer’s Body Butter’s thick consistency deeply moisturizes the skin and is a good way to naturally lighten cellulite and stretch marks.  It improves the skins’ elasticity while repairing damaged tissues at the same time – making it a great investment.

Palmer’s Body Butter’s thick consistency deeply moisturizes the skin and is a good way to naturally lighten cellulite and stretch marks.  It improves the skins’ elasticity while repairing damaged tissues at the same time – making it a great investment.

This unique formula melts into skin, creating a protective moisture barrier that locks in moisture. From normal to dry to eczema prone skin, this emollient rich solid effectively heals and softens, leaving skin smooth, supple and beautiful. Ideal for deep moisturization, including overnight treatments.

Continue Reading