It’s not every day that you see showbiz powerhouses Alessandra De Rossi, Piolo Pascual, and Sam Milby share the same screen together, but when they do, you can trust that it’s going to be one gripping show.
Netflix’s first Filipino-produced original, Replacing Chef Chico, is proof of that. The new romantic drama revolves around a promising fine-dining restaurant that aspires to create dishes inspired by the unique life stories of its diners.
In a press conference, the lead stars expressed their excitement about starring in Netflix's first Filipino-produced series, helmed by co-directors and showrunner Antoinette Jadaone and Dan Villegas.
Alessandra is thankful to be chosen as the lead actress in a show that celebrates Filipino culture and its rich culinary heritage.
“First time ko na magbida. Sabi ko, Netflix lang pala ang makaka-gets sa akin. I am so international,” she said. “Parang I found my home talaga and I hope the feeling is mutual.”
Sam emphasized that it’s a “huge honor” for him to be a part of the historic show.
“It’s the first Filipino-produced Netflix series, but on top of that, it's something to be super proud of. They wrote an amazing story and that's why I'm so excited because we get to showcase not only our Filipino cuisine, but there's so much part [of it] in the story,” Milby said.
Piolo highlighted that Replacing Chef Chico is “contagious” and fans would “really feel our culture, our dishes.”
“And working with these actors and the brains behind it, masarap ‘yung experience so I hope it will resonate with the audience as well when they watch it,” the local star added.
Much like their fictional counterparts, the lead stars all hope to master something special in the kitchen to serve that special person in their lives.
For Sam, who is set to marry Miss Universe 2018 titleholder Catriona Gray, it would be the classic Filipino soup that’s famous for its sour and savory taste.
“Since it’s for someone who I love, ‘yung favorite ng fiancée ko ay sinigang, so I would like to learn even though I’m not a huge, huge fan ng sinigang, I would learn it para sa kanya,” he said.
Piolo said that the food he would like to master for the person he loves is chicken adobo, sharing, “Especially when you’re abroad, parang you crave that.”
Alessandra meanwhile wanted to further improve on making callos, which is a Spanish dish made of heart stew slow-cooked in tomato sauce and spices, noting, “Once ko lang [siya] ginawa, pero kailangan kong ulitin. Nagtagumpay ako doon.”
@philstarlife Check out the celebrities who showed support for #Netflix's new series #ReplacingChefChico, starring #AlessandraDeRossi, #SamMilby, and #PioloPascual. #PhilSTARLife #entertainmentnewsph @netflixph ♬ original sound - philstarlife
Spotlighting Filipino cuisine
While the Philippines boasts an extensive selection of unique and heavenly dishes, there are few projects that attempt to highlight these. This is why the directors have set out to have our local cuisine at the forefront in Replacing Chef Chico.
When asked what they want viewers to take away from the show, Direk Tonet emphasized the significance of sharing meals with loved ones.
“I think ‘yung Filipino food, lalo siyang sumasarap kasi kinakain natin siya with the people we love, at ‘yun ‘yung lalabas in every episode of Replacing Chef Chico,” she said.
“We featured the Filipino cuisine laing, adobo, kare-kare, pero in every episode, merong story na kumbaga hindi ka lang audience, pero kasama ka sa hapag-kainan ng mga guest sa restaurant,” she added.
Dan hopes that the series will also make Filipinos appreciate the “world-class” quality of our dishes and promote them internationally.
“Pwede nating ipagmayabang, pwede nating ipagmalaki ang Filipino cuisine. It’s high time na ma-recognize siya, hindi lang dito sa ating bansa, pati sa labas,” he said.
Replacing Chef Chico tells the story of how its titular character Chico (Sam) gets into an accident and is left in a coma. The fate of the restaurant now falls on the shoulders of his sous chef Ella (Alessandra), a development that isn’t immediately welcomed by the other cooks in the kitchen.
But Ella receives help from a newly hired consultant Raymond (Piolo), who has more than just the restaurant on his mind.
Replacing Chef Chico will premiere on Netflix on Nov. 24.