At home with Glenn Tabudlo

Glenn is head chef at the famous Woolwich Pier Hotel, which has received the coveted 3 Schooner Award (the highest rating for pub food) in the SMH Good Pub Guide for two years running. 

What made you decide to become a chef?
I was raised in a family of cooks so I was always surrounded by food and the creation of it. I became very interested in cooking at a young age, learning a lot from my family, and I consider it to be part of my culture and heritage as a Filipino. I first worked as a chef professionally on a cruise ship and it was from there that I gained experience with making western food.

What’s your signature dish?
I don’t really have a signature dish; I enjoy far too many different types of food to specialise like that. My restaurant though is quite famous for its pot pies and burgers, as well as the weekly market fish. I myself am quite a fan of the pork belly that we serve.

What ingredients do you always have in your kitchen?
Herbs in general are always essential. They are an absolute must for making a great meal. I personally always like to have thyme, cardamon pods, truffle oil and star anise for flavouring. I also always have olive oil, that is essential for most meals, and I really enjoy using cooking wines in dishes.

Who do you consider to be the greatest chef?
I think that would be Auguste Escoffier for the way he modernised the culinary arts. He made being a chef a respected profession and he revolutionised the way that restaurant kitchens operate.

If you could invite anyone over for dinner, who would it be?
Well I would love to cook a meal for Escoffier, although I would be incredibly nervous to impress him. I would also like to have Heston Blumenthal over for dinner. As a molecular gastronomist, I feel he has really advanced cooking in a visible way.


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Twice cooked pork belly with braised kale and apple crisps

Slow braised Pork Belly
2kg pork belly boneless and skinless, 8 cloves garlic minced, 2 onions sliced, 3 star anise, 3 tbsp chardonnay vinegar, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp white peppercorns, 2 tbsp cardamom pods, 6 bay leaves, 1.5L water, 50g salt.

In a roasting pan rub salt, vinegar and garlic over the pork. Add all ingredients except the sugar. Rub sugar on skin side of the pork. Add water to the pan. Cover with baking paper and aluminium foil. Cook in the oven for 3.5 hours at 150°C.

Pork Belly Sauce
2L veal stock (reduced to ½), 100ml chardonnay vinegar, 6 star anise, ¼ cup caster sugar, 2 tbsp cardamom pods, ½ bunch thyme, 3 cloves garlic crushed, 5 bay leaves, handful of white peppercorn.

Combine all ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce until sauce consistency. Strain and set aside.

Braised Kale
1 bunch kale cut, ½ pc red onion sliced, 100g smoked speck cut into small cubes, 250ml white wine, 75ml chardonnay vinegar, 10 prunes cut finely, 75g butter, 5 cloves garlic.

Brown speck in a little bit of oil. Add butter and garlic until brown then add onions and cook until softened. Deglaze with wine and vinegar then add prunes. Cook for further 2 minutes in medium to low heat. Add kale and cook until wilted in low heat. Season to taste.

To assemble dish
Deep fry some red apple slices until golden brown and drain in paper towels. Meanwhile, heat up olive oil in a fry pan and brown pork belly. Remove from the pan and set aside. Spoon braised kale in the centre of the plate. Place the pork belly on top of the braised kale. Pour the sauce and garnish with the apple crisps and chopped chives.

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