Chef Noel Mauricio of Tsuke-men: Cooking different cuisines is like speaking different languages
If you love Japanese food, we're certain that you're go-to at The Grid Food Market is Stall #4 or Tsuke-men. Aside from excellent tsukemen, ramen, and soba, they also offer pretty mean curry rice dishes.
The man to thank for this scrumptious Japanese fare is Chef Noel Mauricio. Read our interview with the chef to learn how he handles his multiple restaurants (aside from Tsuke-men, he also heads the kitchen at Hanamaruken and Le Petit Soufflé), how he started cooking, and his fave Japanese dish.
The Grid Food Market (TGFM): What’s a Japanese dish that you think is underrated?
Chef Noel Mauricio (NM): Abura Soba and mazesoba
TGFM: Aside from Tsuke-men, you also work under other Tasteless concepts. What’s one challenge you face working with different, varied cuisines and menus?
NM: Cooking different cuisines is like speaking different languages. With each language one speaks, the speaker's personality changes as well. The same goes for the different personalities the different cuisines bring out. The mindset is also totally different depending on the business model of a particular brand—if it's a stall or restaurant, franchised or home grown, single or multiple establishment.
TGFM: What’s your favorite thing about it?
NM: Aside from the challenge [that comes with] learning [about a new concept], I get to know more and more about myself as a cook and ultimately as a person with the challenges that come with it. Anything worth doing ought to be challenging at some level.
TGFM: How did you start cooking?
NM: I've always loved food as a kid. I'd always read through cookbooks—or look at the pictures rather—way before i cooked my first meal. I've always found cooking to be interesting.
TGFM: What’s your advice for anyone who wants to start a culinary career?
NM: Be ready to grind it out.