Filipino chef named Brixton Kitchen’s ‘Next Top Chef’

Chef Budgie Montoya brings home the bacon during the latest Brixton Kitchen competition. Photo courtesy of Sarap London

London — The Filipino chef behind London’s phenomenal pop-up Sarap London bagged the top prize in the first Brixton Kitchen competition aimed at finding the 2the next big talent in food.”  Chef Ferdinand “Budgie” Montoya bested other finalists last 04 April with his innovative take on Filipino cuisine. Montoya competed under the Experienced Chefs category, which pitted him against some of the UK’s most seasoned chefs.

Montoya won a six-month residency in Brixton Village this summer, giving him the opportunity to bring Filipino cuisine in one of the UK’s culinary capitals.  A panel composed of Brixton Village director Alistair Maddox, Great British Menu winner Chef James Cochran, Chef Jackson Boxer, and pastry chef Clair Ptak judged the final round of the competition.

“I think tradition should always be respected but never a restriction. In order for Filipino cuisine to move forward we need to not only look at our culinary traditions but to inject our own personal experiences,” said Montoya.  “I don’t need to convince Filipinos that our cuisine is delicious, the challenge is convincing the rest of the world without compromising on the authenticity of our flavours.”

Montoya is well-known in the UK for his innovative takes on traditional Filipino cuisine. His specialties such as Lechon London and pork bbq skewers have gained a steady following regardless of the location of his residency. Currently, Montoya’s Sarap is cooking at Sun & 13 Cantons in Soho. He was also the first Filipino to participate in Meatopia, the UK’s biggest meat festival.

“Chef Budgie’s victory is a stride forward in making Filipino cuisine known in the UK,” said Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo.  “His six-month residency at the bustling Brixton Kitchen is a great opportunity to share with the UK and the world the richness of our culinary heritage.” (PH Embassy in London)

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