Alessandra de Rossi and Sam Milby Took Culinary Classes to Prepare for ‘Replacing Chef Chico’
Nov 24, 2023   •   Kyzia Maramara
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Nov 24, 2023   •   Kyzia Maramara
Romance and rivalry stir in the kitchen as Netflix serves its first Filipino-produced series, Replacing Chef Chico. With a stellar cast of industry veterans Alessandra de Rossi (Kita Kita), Piolo Pascual (My Amanda), and Sam Milby (A Family Affair), and creators Direk Dan Villegas and Direk Antoinette Jadaone (Exes Baggage and Always Be My Maybe), it’s safe to say this series is one of the most-anticipated of the season.
Offering a glimpse into the high-stakes and competitive culinary world, the series’ trailer introduces viewers to the main characters whose lives become intertwined at Hain, a fictional up-and-coming fine dining restaurant that specializes in customizing each dish to mirror their diners’ unique life stories. But things take an unexpected turn when the titular character Chef Chico (Milby) gets into an accident, leaving him in a coma. The fate of Hain is suddenly left in the hands of his sous chef Chef Ella (de Rossi) and a newly hired consultant Raymond (Pascual), who has more than just the restaurant on his mind.
Talking to the media during a press conference held last Nov 23, the cast and creators of Replacing Chef Chico revealed interesting behind-the-scenes moments and more.
De Rossi and Milby shared their journey of transforming into Chef Ella and Chef Chico respectively, revealing they had to undergo a one-week culinary training.
“Masaya yung one week culinary training namin ni Sam. Talagang confident na confident kami pagdating sa set,” said de Rossi.
Milby even added that on the last day of their training, they had to do a simulation as a sort of rite of passage. His critics? None other than the show’s creators, Villegas and Jadaone. Milby shared that although it was a tough activity, “they did their best.”
But did they enjoy being chefs on screen? De Rossi said that her role as a sous chef opened her eyes to the profession’s difficulties. “Seriously stressful [ang pagiging chef],” she says. “Ako, sure na ako, ayoko imaging chef.”
“We’ve got a lot of respect for chefs [now],” Milby added.
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Showrunner Jadaone shared that her inspiration for Replacing Chef Chico came from her love for food-related shows. Asked about how they prepared for the show, Jadaone said they conducted many interviews with chefs and kitchen personnel to ensure they were offering an authentic viewing experience.
“We interviewed a lot of chefs and we had to go to kitchens […] para makita kung gaano talaga ka stressful yung kitchens,” she said. “For every episode, depending on the guest, we would interview a real person. For example, merong episode na may person na may Alzheimer’s, we interviewed a doctor and someone who has Alzheimer’s.”
The creators even interviewed chefs from Toyo Eatery, a contemporary Filipino restaurant in Makati with a menu offering inventive takes on classic Filipino dishes.
“We know how important it is for chefs in real life to see na authentic yung show. Yes, it’s fictional, pero it must be based on real life. We were very diligent in doing our research,” she adds.
Villegas, for his part, said that watching countless hours of cooking videos on YouTube and researching the responsibilities and function of the kitchen staff was the necessary prep he did before filming the show.
Like any other series out there, Replacing Chef Chico also has its challenges. For Pascual, it’s navigating through the small kitchen space. “It was so small and we were a lot. Direk Dan was doing a lot of shots, different angles,” he said.
De Rossi seconded his sentiments, saying that filming for hours in such a small setting was new for her. She also added that wearing the special chef shoes was a different experience.
Perhaps the most relatable answer of all came from Milby. His most challenging experience? “Not eating the props,” says Milby, laughing. “Ang daming masasarap na pagkain lagi eh!”
If you want to know which dishes he’s referring to, you’ll just have to watch Replacing Chef Chico on Netflix, streaming now.
Kyzia spends most of her time capturing the world around her through photos, paragraphs, and playlists. She is constantly on the hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and a great paperback thriller to pair with it.
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