The Artist Chef Experience


So how was the artist chef experience? I can describe it as romantic, delicious and heavy.

For those people who are adventurous and likes different kind of dining experience, you should try Joan Manalang who brands herself as the Artist Chef. She is an art director for a local advertising company and she still finds time to paint. She loves to cook and concoct different dishes which became the menu line up for her Artist Chef business. She has been cooking since her childhood days. She will only get better over time after going into formal culinary studies in the future.

The Artist Chef is located in a studio condo unit in Makati. It is quite small, but cozy place. If you are the claustrophobic type, I don’t suggest that you try this because you might be uneasy throughout the entire experience. That is one of the reason why you won’t be finding Aidan in any of the pictures. This set-up is romantic one in a sense that this is an exclusive date with your own personal chef for the night. The motif is all white so you would have white roses (by the way, the I heart you was shaped by my wife), white table, white cutlery, and white plates. You can talk to Joan beforehand if you would want a different setup or you have a personal vision on how the place should look like.

Beforehand, Joan will provide you a list of meals she offers and from there you would choose the dishes you would like to have. Or maybe you can request a dish you would like to be served. I’m sure Joan would be able to do something about it. The meals we had were generous and deliciously home cooked. She made sure that the food is cooked once you finish the dish so expect a slight delay but the idea here is to just enjoy each other’s company while you wait for the food to be served. The kitchen is separated only by a roman shade so you can peek how the food is being prepared. Don’t worry about Joan eavesdropping on your conversation because she will be busy cooking your food. Also, you will here a romantic jazz music playing to add to the clutter sounds of the dishes and sizzling sound of the food being cooked.

At some point, it would be inevitable that you’ll find yourself asking Joan a lot of questions about her art, her passions, and of course, about her food discoveries. You will be able to get to know her better through this experience and she definitely loves meeting people. She is just starting out with this business and we are the third couple that she hosted. She has a lovely, warm and down-to-earth personality.

Just to be transparent and objective about the entire experience, I felt that the place is cramped. Don’t be surprise to find a computer, a TV, and a sofa bed as part of the ambiance. It would be a lot better if there was a better condo venue or maybe a roof top setting with live violin serenading the couple. Since it is a condo setting and living in a condo myself, there were friendly creatures walking around so say hi when you see them. Lastly, most of the food although delicious, were heavy. She cooks most of them with butter which as you all know makes the food flavorful BUT you would feel 2 lbs heavier after finishing the entire meal.

Overall, it was a quite unique experience for P1,500 for two persons (only). My wife felt that it was on the high side, but I think it is worth it for all her effort. It could be better justified if there are more healthy food options in the menu πŸ™‚ No butter cooking please.

Joan warmly greets you as she welcomes you in Artist Chef located at Star Centrum condo in Makati. If you notice, she still needs to complete embroidering her apron πŸ™‚

This is the setting — Candlelight dinner with white as the motif for the dinner setting.

The Art of Joan Manalang. She loves to paint these women of fantasy like this mermaid.

Check out her online sites:

This is the Jazz Cappuccino CD that serves as the background music for your experience. I guess you can bring your own CD if you have a different preference.

The Artist Chef Menu

Here are the menu choices if you decide to have an exclusive dinner in the Artist chef:

>> Artist Chef Menu

Veggie Clam Chowder with Ciabatta Bread. Delicious which reminds us of the Clam Chowder in Soup Kitchen.

Mango and Shrimp Medley (salad). There is something in the sauce that makes this very good. What we like about Joan is that when we asked her about her recipe she gladly shared it with us. I also noticed that the presentation can be improved.

Hot and Spicy Wansoy Squid. I loved this dish. The squid was perfectly cooked and the chili peppers tasted well with the wansoy. My wife didn’t like wansoy at all, so I should have chosen a different menu item.

Chicken Satay with Bernaise Peanut Sauce and Ham and Mild Jabanero Fried Rice. I like the fried rice while the chicken satay is decent. My wife says that is just OK because she is not fond of “dry” dishes. The herbed chicken satay was cooked well retaining the right flavor because of the overnight marination done.

Btw, at this point, after serving the Malt and Green Tea Float, we were starting to get full. The float was definitely heavy with ice cream and cream in it. We liked the float but it was too much for us. It would have been better if there are healthier and lighter drinks that accompany the meal instead.

Fresh Strawberries on Vanilla Almond Ice Cream and Choco-Batirol Fondue.
This actually looks very good and I would give it a high score on presentation. Too bad the strawberries don’t taste as sweet as it looked. The barbecue strawberries were served with a chocolate dip and ice cream for an ultimate heavy dessert experience. Fondue set would be more lovelier =)

Overall, we liked it and thanks to Joan Manalang for the lovely evening!! We definitely had a nice time chatting with you.

The Artish Chef
Unit 331 Star Centrum Condo, Sen. Gil Puyat St. cor
Malugay Ext. St. Brgy. Bel-Air, Makati City
Tel# +63917 5373078


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54 thoughts on “The Artist Chef Experience

  1. That’s very sweet Anton. I’m sure your wife found it even more so since it wasn’t Valentine’s. And no Aidan to hog the photos! lol
    How was the food?

  2. looks great and intimate. how much did it cost you? looks like kayo lang talaga ng wife mo ang pinagluto. how was the food??? did it pass your expectations? may time limit ba yan? =)

  3. hey anton, can i have more info on this?
    How much did it cost you for the meal? How was the food? I hope to read your review on this.

  4. awwww anton! this is super sweet of you πŸ™‚ please write it more details – contact person, rates etc.. so the rest of us can experience it with our significant others as well.

  5. this is by far, the most unappealing place you’ve featured anton. i understand that most chefs now open their doors to the public and cook their specialty with only word of mouth to be used as advertising. this can be seen with the success of chef laudico of urdaneta who was already used to so many proposals being done in his place. so when i saw the menu you posted first. i thought it looked interesting. when i saw the pictures, i wouldn’t bring a date there in a million years for the ff reasons:
    1. the chef who greeted you looked so unprofessional in her pambahay outfit. couldn’t she wear a chef uniform? all the chefs i know who cater usually do. susuot na nga ng apron, di pa tapos. shows lack of effort or respect to paying customers. i don’t care how warm she is.
    2. the candelight setting simply looked like something i could do in my own house. as an artist chef, i expected more creativity. where’s the centerpiece? the candle looks like the candle used for brown out.
    3. the chicken satay and fried rice looked unappealing. for 1,500, i expect a little more presentation and not the ulam and rice look you see in fastfood.
    “Don’t be surprise to find a computer, a TV, and a sofa bed as part of the ambiance.”
    4. overall, it looks like she’s playing “house house” what could ruin your own date than someone else’s clutter.
    5. she’s cooking and you can hear the sizzling sound while you’re there? nuff’ said. cusinera at its best.
    – i think ill just stay home and do my own version minus the clutter and lousy ambience, rent a dvd and order pizza and keep the rest of my 1,500.

  6. Hi Christina,
    thanks for the honest opinion. I like it and in the same way I’m also honest about my reviews. I will not disagree with most of your points. For me, I’m always in search for any type of adventure and either fine dining, or hole-in-the-wall type of establishments. The same is true for “chefs for hire” and I just want to try most of them because I’m interested more on a personalized type of service.
    One could argue that given the experience, 1,500 would be an expensive proposition. I had an interesting discussion with my wife about it after we paid 1,500 πŸ™‚
    I’m sure people will hear about this through word of mouth. At least people will be more informed about it and decide for themselves πŸ™‚
    Thanks again for the honest reactions.

  7. I guess Christina you’re not the target market?
    you can’t even buy a dvd so I bet u can’t afford to spend 1,500 bucks for something different.I pretty much find the experience so personalized and private. I guess that’s the value of the cost aside from the food that she serves.

  8. I get to try Joan’s just this week.
    It was pretty good based from my experience. My only comment is the soup. It was too heavy for us.
    But all in all, it was really good and I thank Joan for such a wonderful night.

  9. I was able to try this last Saturday and a lot have improved as per Anton’s description, i.e. the table candle, roses, table, chairs, etc. My boyfriend and I were her last customers for this year. Overall, I enjoyed the experience.
    Except for the pay parking area that was closed for the holidays, but that is a different story.

  10. You just have to be very honest with your opinions. Joan takes them very seriously and she makes sure that she improves on everything. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to try it out again but this time with a different set. πŸ™‚

  11. hey georgina,
    are you related to the artiste chef? coz i was just stating my cosntructive criticms.
    meanwhile you attack my financial status. let me clear it up.
    when i wrote ill rent a dvd is simply an expression like when you don’t want to pay for the movie and you say “i’ll rent the video instead.” so i spruced it up and made it current and changed video to dvd. an analogy in saying i’d rather stay home than spend my money. wow. i cant believe im explaining this to you.
    yup, you’re right. im not the target market for artist chef. its too tacky. i’d rather go to this: (compare ms. artiste chef to this)

  12. My boyfriend and I were the first customers this year. In addition to what Viky had said, the candlelight setting really improved. I liked the idea, experience and the food. I too recommend the artist chef for those who are willing to have a unforgettable personalized romantic dining experience at a reasonable price.

  13. We were able to try Artist’s Chef’s service and it was an amazing experience, the place was cozy/romantic and the food were great ,the place were covered with petals and white cloth everything were arrange in a very tasteful manner, we really didnt care about the TVs or Dvds or even the comp (we actually barely noticed them), those were all compensated when Ms. Joan started serving the food…YUM YUM, it was a wonderful experience hehe kakaiba sya, thanks Anton for sharing this glad to came across your blog. Cheers

  14. Hi there Anton and to all your readers!
    First of all I would like to thank you for this blog because from here I gained a lot of customers and learned a lot from them. I would like to announce here that I made a blog because of the customers who dined. I want to share their experience, my cooking concoction, food styling and art.
    Please do check out:
    joan πŸ™‚

  15. wonderful site to know much about philpines artistic talent as well as their intrest on there proffession and very informative best wishes ajay

  16. The food was really great and heavy and I have no doubt about it because I have read the feedback of the other people who previously dined at Artist Chef. But, I have a couple of points that I would like to raise:
    1. The dinner was supposed to start at 6 P.M. but she asked me if we can move it at 6:30 P.M. My boyfriend and I said yes, since we don’t have any commitments on that day. Then, after a couple of minutes, she texted me again and asked me if we can move it at 6:45 P.M because she needs to go to Dangwa to buy the roses and hear mass at Glorietta. Omg! This really pissed me off but still I’d like to make this dinner so special. I let it pass and thought the food would pay off for her late and not so polite attitude.
    2. My boyfriend and I arrived at the place at exactly 6:45 P.M but then she asked us to wait outside Star Centrum building for 10 minutes. What in the world are you thinking Joan?!? I confirmed it twice and it was moved twice with very short notice. Pinoy Time sucks!!! If I did not take the initiative of confirming it, she would not bother to text me plus the fact she even asked me to text her complete set of menu that I want from the soup until dessert. Omg!
    3. When we got inside the room, it was kinda’ dark so every time I wanted to take pictures, my boyfriend would turn on the lights just to make sure I can see what is it that we are about to eat.
    4. Not friendly enough. Joan does not know how to start a conversation with her guests. She could probably share stuffs about her artworks, her job, or just ask us about anything. She would just smile and asked us, “How’s the food? Then pick up the plates, go straight to the kitchen and prepare the next meal.
    5. Joan continuously took pictures of us while my boyfriend and I were talking and I was still expecting for her to start a conversation. Unfortunately, based on my not so high expectations, she almost flunked.
    Overall score:
    2 STARS out of 5.

  17. Oh my???
    I was one of the artist chef customers.
    I really doubt kung totoo ito. Just dined recently. She is extremely nice, courteous and sweet. Actually a friend of mine who dined months ago recommended her to me. We both enjoyed her being friendly. Joan shared me her sories and the other customers who dined. She even invited me and my boyfriend to attend her future art exhibit and she promised me to text me. I’m a big fan of her especially the idea of her intimate dining experience and her cooking skills. At may free photo session pa while dining! Please post my photos, artist chef joan.

  18. Hi Mye-Mye! It’s okay if you have doubts about my comments and I am glad you had a nice time with Joan. Unfortunately, we really had a bad experience and I just want to share what really happened to me and my boyfriend.

  19. oh something might have happened to joan if that’s so.. cause most of the time she’s really pleasant and nice. she has this bubbly personality that makes dining there really an experience.

  20. read her blog marvin. i read that there’s a couple who gave her tips, and she also told us about it… pero sabi nya di daw sya tumatanggap pero yung iba pinipilit. my fiance and i find her bubbly and full of stories. i know our photos will be posted soon. thaanks anton for this post—joan’s dinner is really unique and worth it. cute yung place at yung foodie winner.

  21. ….people should give her a break….entrepreneurships her way is not bad… considering she even has the courage to start something….and on her own….that’s bravery!….applause to her personnal ideas of dining….NOW….her food entrepreneurship idea is GOOD for people who wants as ‘starter’ this type of personnal ‘private’ dining experiences….which is in a way very romantic….a close touchy sensitive enviroment….coz of her home used & her personally attending to ‘one on one’ customers relations….i like that myself….NOW what i would ‘really’ want & will appreciate….is a ‘much better’ presentable cozy home atmoshere like in a terrace veranda or in a garden rich in colorful flowering shady green trees-plants where i can hear some birds humming water fountain splashings butterflies flying or wind breezez….if lucky dining under the stars lol!….also it is a MUST for me that she wears a
    proper OFFICIAL chef white cotton or linen uniform as soon as she greets us….also she needs to improvised find other ways of presenting her food plates….light green CRISPY seaweeds or bamboo leaves like vegetables and some purple or orange color super thin sliced stems can break any food plate monotony….a low background of an old imelda papin mozart or josh groban love song like MINSAN or PAPAANO….can break any dates tensions lol!…..they may not want to leave your place anymore….baka sa susunod pati beddings like a breakfast inn ay expected din nila sa iyo in the future lol!….actually this i mentioned is also part of my future concept for my own personnal tree cable garden restaurant but above thousands of feet above sea level called HOMES of MY FIRST LOVE restaurant….i wish lol!….good luck sa iyong napakagandang personalized business idea….o.k. beautiful caring talented creative fun filled smiling ever filipinos….do not stop….keep experimenting in entrepreneurships-in life….all filipinas should read this article of OUR AWESOME PLANET…..very informative & helpful….

  22. ….also i wish some filipino official cultural-heritage group{board of committees}to award NEW excellence in filipinos highly inventive creative imaginative talents sa mga bagong CONCEPTS-BUSINESS STRATEGIES OR SET UPS NG MGA BAGONG entrepreneurships MULA SA high ends-medium ends-small ends-just starting beginners ends like….LIME 88 restaurants although they served beer to drinks….what i would like is to acknowledge YUNG IDEAS NG MGA chefs of ‘lime 88’ DOON SA new creative ideas-new ways ng pag re-inventing nila ng LOCAL filipino foods into an imaginative new dimensions of local filipino food preparations….ginawa nilang may class yung pagkaing pang araw araw at pang international ang dating ng new concept nila….wala na at hindi na mahihiya na i served internationally ang filipino local foods sa mga high end places kasi ….it looks so good enticing na presentable pa at mukhang napakasarap talaga….i prefer yung bake shells nila…i love them & i ate them here sa america every week end if possible lol!….thank you naman so much din if si miss joan manalang ay will be also recognized for her bravery with her new CHEF artist ‘CONDO’ personalized dining concept….miss manalang paki bili na lang next time ng official chef cook uniform na white kasi one day baka pati ako yung next customer mo din lol!….so we can exchange more ideas at business expansion mo with MORE new angles at twists here & there{if you wish only}lol!…. good luck….

  23. This Artist Chef came a long way Anton. You paved the way for her. She’s on TV, Magazines and different blogs. Do you have her paintings?

  24. Dear Anton,
    Thank you so much for this write up. It’s been three and half years since then. Since you posted the link of your favorite home dinners, I got lots of queries from people again. And they all said that they read it from OAP. I don’t know how to begin to tell them the present scenario of the Artist Chef and how it went a long way.
    I’d be forever grateful if you would just update this post or just give them the link to my blogsite:
    Thank you so much and regards to Rache!

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