Smile Magazine – A Holiday Feast

A big surprise waited for me as I stepped up to Amy Besa’s ancestral home for this shoot. Smile Magazine asked me to photograph a special menu Amy Besa and her team at Purple Yam Malate came up with for the feast of all holiday feasts. And I was going to see it all happen before my eyes!

If you’ve ever flipped through her book Memories of Philippine Kitchens you’ll know how passionate Amy is about Filipino food. She wants to preserve traditional methods and at the same time encourage a progressive kitchen. She inspires her sous chefs to be creative and to look around their environment for ingredients.

Fresh kamias:photography by jar concengco

Rellenong Bangus (milkfish) about to be roasted:photography by jar concengco

The many ingredients for the “Pancit Cavite”:photography by jar concengco

Two types of honey. Mindoro Honey (the one on the left) is harvested by the Mangyan tribe in Mindoro which had a liquor aftertaste. The Calamansi Honey is by a bee that pollinates only on the calamansi tree and brought in by one of Amy Besa’s sous chefs. It tasted like candy with a citrus aftertaste. photography by jar concengco

Their caramel chicken process starts with the chicken roasting on top of sugar 9its fumes infusing the chicken when it caramelizes):

photography by jar concengco

It is covered for 45 minutes to maximize the caramel infusion:photography by jar concengco

45 minutes later, bam!

photography by jar concengco

The bibingka getting one final torch inside the salamander broiler:photography by jar concengco

The kitchen at Purple Yam Malate. This was Amy Besa’s ancestral home. Here is Noah Villaluz (Chef de Partie of Purple Yam Malate) at work:photography by jar concengco

Smile is the in-flight magazine of Cebu Pacific. And this is their latest issue. Look! I’m in the contributor’s page:


Here is the spread from Smile Magazine on Amy Besa’s idea of a holiday feast that was styled by Tata Mapa and written by JJ Yulophotography by jar concengco photography by jar concengco photography by jar concengco photography by jar concengco photography by jar concengco photography by jar concengco photography by jar concengco photography by jar concengco photography by jar concengco

An outtake from our shoot was Purple Yam Malate’s take on the Filipino dessert Halo-Halo. Theirs has slivers of pastillas, pinipig from Baguio, Singkamas boiled in pandan syrup, and other non-traditional but as exciting ingredients.Smile_Magazine_Purple_Yam_jar_concengco_21


And the team that made this shoot possible (shout out to Tara as well!) Thank you!



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One Response to “Smile Magazine – A Holiday Feast”
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  1. […] When People Asia asked me to photograph Amy Besa of Purple Yam Malate, I smiled to myself. I knew it was going to be another insightful shoot with creative and delicious dishes like when I shot her menu for a holiday feast for Smile Magazine. […]

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