A slew of punch drunk colors and psychedelic patterns easily identify the Chill Out Cooks in any of their locations. Apart from the weekend pop-ups, the homey kitchen found its niche at The Yard Underground at Pasig, just a stone’s throw away from the foodie neighborhood of Kapitolyo. In an industry that is constantly a head to head competition, the Chill Out Cooks relaxes the pace and offers a dining experience that is ultimately casual but also distinctively enticing.
Owned and helmed by Adi Hermann and Jarren Rodriguez, who had been friends since middle school in La Salle Greenhills, Chill Out Cooks revolves around the concept of comfort food at its most fundamental level of gratification – deep-fried satisfaction.
Only 26 years old, the duo already seems resolved in their entrepreneurial vision, with various branches and new concepts ready for execution this year. A culinary graduate and also the man behind the menu, Adi Hermann admits that he had truly loved food from such a young age, and was cooking as early as 12 years old. This passion for food has led him to his profession of choice, where he was able to hone his craft at the Utah branch of the three-Michelin star Jean-Georges and at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort. The training was brutal and draining but it was during those years that Adi tells us that he finally earned the title as a professional chef.
Jarren, on the other hand, has had a taste of independent entrepreneurship early on in college with a mobile bar he dubbed as ‘Chemical Reaction’, which still holds its ground today. With his background in bartending, Jarren also conceptualizes the drinks for Chill Out Cooks which predominantly fits with the theme: comfort. Adi admits that it was Jarren who initiated the vision towards the concept and design of the brand to exude the same laidback vibe you’d get at the beach, and sometimes from a stoner flick.
When you aren’t calorie-counting, Chill Out Cooks is probably the best place to ease back into that cheat day with its sinful selection of deep-fried goodness. Its flagship product, the deep-fried pizza, is unique in the sense that it is the first time a company has revolved mainly around this food concept. The idea then evolved into a possibility with the duo wondering, “Why not fry everything?”, and a full menu was soon conceived.
The extensive menu of deep-fried delectable starts with the quintessential Fried Pizza (Php 99), all made with their secret recipe tomato sauce, which comes in two variants, the classic Pepperoni made of cheddar and pepperoni, and Four Cheese made with cheddar, parmesan, cream cheese and mozzarella.
The Fried Carbonara (Php 199) is sinful to the core with a creamy carbonara sauce that is mostly composed of butter, browned to go with the fusilli, bacon, mushroom, cream and cheddar cheese.
Chill Out Cooks also offers portions for sharing (or alone). Munchies (Php 249) is a fast food lover’s dream on a plate, and includes a pepperoni pie, a four cheese pie and onion rings which, by the way, incorporates vanilla beans for a mild sweetness that goes with the crunch of each bite.
Along with their mélange savories, you are presented with a slew of deep-fried desserts you can sample. Anti-Depression (Php 229) is a medley of deep-fried Oreos, brownies, Nutella pizza topped with torched marshmallows and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
While the concept of deep-fried food may not appeal to everyone, Chill Out Cooks does have a target in mind, and it is mostly the similar market for comfort food – those looking for instant gratification in each bite. And its goal is not necessarily the aimed towards the unhealthy, but it does offer some much needed comfort at the present’s rigid standards for everything. Chill Out Cooks really does embody an easygoing lifestyle where it invites you to slow down and relax a little.
This article was first published on Explore Philippines Issue 15. Photography by Ian Francisco