By Junelie Anthony Velonta | April 13, 2021
Eating green limits one’s go-to dining places. Not all restaurants have options that cater to a plant-based diet, and some even have misconceptions about it. From fresh “vegetable” lumpia actually containing ground pork to the only purely vegetarian dish in a carenderia only being their soups, there is a gap not bridged when it comes to gastronomy in Dumaguete.
The Green Chef, a plant-based restaurant offering calorie-counted dishes that are “heavy in the gut, light in the calories,” had their soft-opening early this year to bridge this gap. Plant-based, vegan, and vegetarian diets are not trends anymore. Whether it is to reduce one’s carbon footprint or just to eat more healthily, many Dumagueteños are seeing the act of eating green in a new light.
But the owners, operators, and chefs of The Green Chef do not aim to stop there. Having started as a plant-based, calorie counted food subscription service, the people behind The Green Chef have had a pedigree of providing delicious and healthy food. Because of this, they can proudly say that they can cater to both the green crowd, while also not alienating the “meat-eaters.”
Located in Mango Avenue, The Green Chef isn’t smack dab in the middle of the city. It is close. But its location isn’t exactly a “stone’s throw away” from all the urban amenities and sights Dumaguete has to offer. Surprisingly, once you find yourself in the area, The Green Chef is not hard to find.
While not as spacious as more well-established dining places in Dumaguete, the establishment itself is cozy and modern. There is not a lot of inside seating to speak of, but what they do have is comfortable and intimate. Simple decors and plants of many kinds make the whole place almost lifelike and breathing. Most of the walls are still white and empty. However, the proprietors say artworks of local artists are expected to be hung and displayed both inside and outside the establishment in the near future.
What to Get
Typical vegetarian and vegan dishes are part and parcel of The Green Chef’s menu. Pasta, fruit drinks, and salads are there. However, The Green Chef prides itself in serving food that everyone would find tasty. “Crossovers” inspired by meat dishes are also served, from the typical Mungbean Burger to the surprising like the Vegan Paklay and Sisig. However, one must not dine at The Green Chef expecting flavors that are “meat-like.” The dishes are wonderful but they do not taste like meat, nor do they pretend to.
The menu is still quite thin at the moment. The Green Chef offers just a few items on their menu, but the few they do offer are done well. Weekly specials are also announced on their Facebook page and are served on specific days of the week for a limited run. Those dishes that find success are then added to the menu, albeit still unlisted. Currently, some of their specials which are “secretly” part of the menu are their Vegan Sisig and Puttanesca. More are expected to follow.
More than Just Eating Green
With advocacy and ministry being the driving force behind The Green Chef, more than just good food and green, healthy eating could be had while dining there. Well paid employees and fresh, local produce ensure that whatever is served on the table is healthy for the customer, the conscience, and the environment. Because of these, together with their food and their service, The Green Chef deserves to have a spot on Dumaguete’s gastronomic map.