Designer Puey Quiñones now serves good food in a chic ambiance

PUEY’S Penthouse can sit up to 25 people for private lunches and dinners (Alanah Torralba)

THE designer ditches his skirts in favor of a cook’s uniform (Alanah Torraba)

LOOK who’s cooking now! It’s none other than controversial fashion designer Puey Quiñones, who turned the first level of his rooftop pad at Bel-Air Place in

SALTED egg salad (Alanah Torralba)

Makati early this year into a dining venue for private parties.

Simply dubbed as Puey’s Penthouse, Quiñones’ latest venture is located at the corner of P. Burgos and Durban Streets. Thanks to its glass walls and a garden verandah, the sixth-story venue, which can accommodate up to 25 people for lunch and dinner, provides guests with a sweeping view of old Makati. Call 0916-776-3098.

“I can cater to as few as five people,” said Quiñones in a mix of Filipino and English. “But they have to make reservations at least a week in advance because I personally do the marketing and cooking. For big groups, I require at least a 50-percent down payment.”

Three sets

Quiñones, a native of Samar, offers three set menus to choose from: Pinoy set; Continental set; and Samar set.

Our hosts chose the Samar set, which included crispy dilis, bulalo soup, salted egg salad with fresh lettuce and four kinds of vinegar, Samar-style laing, adobo with truffle and coconut milk sans soy sauce, and pork humba. Cooked with sugar and tablea or pure, old-fashioned chocolate bar, the latter dish is based on a recipe handed down by Quiñones’ grandmother.

“The crispy dilis, which I serve as an appetizer, is a personal favorite,” said Quiñones. “You can only find that variety in Samar. I used to have it almost everyday with fried rice and eggs for breakfast.”

ADOBO with coconut milk and truffle oil sans soy sauce (Alanah Torraba)

SHRIMP cocktail

Unknown to many, Quiñones, 32, despite his reputation as a party animal in Manila, loves to cook even as a youngster growing up in Samar. Apart from sporting cropped hair these days, he has also ditched his gender-bending skirts in favor of a white chef’s uniform without the toque.

To supplement his homegrown knowledge, he’s currently taking up culinary arts as a scholar at the Global City Innovative College in Taguig.

No more skirts

“I’m done with wearing skirts,” Quiñones said with a wink. “In fact, I don’t go out at night to parties anymore.”

There was a time, not too long ago, when the flamboyant designer did the party scene almost every night. After encountering a speed bump in his career sometime last year, he slowed down, withdrew from the social scene and retreated to Samar for a month.

“I was all set to start life anew in the States, but I changed my mind. I was deep in debt, and I didn’t want people to say that I was running away from my obligations,” he said.

(For a full version of this story, including the controversy Quiñones found himself in and how he dusted himself off and eventually reinvented himself, please read the November 8 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Lifestyle section or log on at starting tomorrow.)

OFFICERS of PSBank, led by its president, Pascual Garcia III (third from left), hosts of the media appreciation lunch for journalists (Alanah Torralba)

LOLA’S Humba (Alanah Torralba)

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