Gallery Vask, "anthropological" art and food

In a bid dedicated to diners who are not satisfied with what they see on the dish, Juan Luis González moved from Spain to the Philippines, to create -alongside the architect Juan Carlo- a project to explore its disciplines and at the same time, its passions. The Gallery Vask restaurant opened its doors almost three years ago but it has spent the time laying its foundations in exchange.

In its interest in culture, history and local tradition, it is a centre for research on indigenous ingredients: it aims to use local produce to contribute to its future. González claims that 90% of the raw material used in the restaurant is Filipino. From fermented Dauin cocoa beans, tabon tabon from Mindanao, native bananas, black coffee cherries, rice from the mountain range or bamboo leaves from Pampanga.

It also operates as an art gallery where national and international artists exhibit. The interest is not simply to decorate, it is to integrate visual references within an "anthropological" discourse.

It collaborates with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and maintains "Kulinarya" a series for knowledge exchange with international chefs, in which Andoni Luis Aduriz, Elena Arzak, Oscar Calleja and Aaron Isip have participated.

González does not forget where he came from and he takes advantage of it by taking into account the influence of Spanish culture in his new country of residence. He knocked on the door of the Archive of the Indies in the Philippines to investigate the origin of the influences of other cultures on local food, such as Malaysia, or even in incorporating American products. The cook wondered what would be of Asian cuisine without chilli. Then, based on these questions, the Spanish chef works on recipes that aim to reflect and rescue a great cultural wealth.