Axe You X Chef Nicco Santos

Chef Nicco Santos teaches his students how to innovate traditional dishes.JPG

Chef Nicco Santos of Your Local and Hey Handsome mentored the next generation of young chefs on how to innovate on traditions. During the masterclass last March 17, Chef Nicco Santos imparted his knowledge on modernizing classic dishes, as he demonstrated his take on beef rendang. “In Singapore, I learned from home cooks. In the same way that we have countless versions of adobo, they have the same for the well-loved beef rendang,” he explained.

Deconstructed Beef Rendang by Chef Nicco Santos.JPG

Chef Nicco used key ingredients like chili, coconut and kaffir lime to create his own version of the Singaporean classic and challenged the young chefs to use the same ingredients to innovate a traditional dish of their choice.

After 90 pressure-filled minutes, the aspiring chefs presented their dishes for judgement. While Chef Nicco commented that each student showed something unique, he had to give it to the one whose version was the most innovative and inspired. After a long deliberation, he announced Kit Gerona as the winner.

A manually deboned chicken was the star of this dish.JPG

“His concept and dish, his own version of Chicken Binakol, was bold and fiery, just like the fragrance that brought us all here today,” said Chef Nicco Santos. “I loved his dish so much, I wish I came up with it myself! I’m excited to see what we’ll be cooking up together.”

The winner of the Axe You Masterclass with Chef Nicco Santos, Kit Gerona.JPG

“I’m shocked,” Kit said, immediately after the class. “I just made a dish that’s close to my heart, nothing fancy, just something that I like to make for my family. Getting to work with Chef Nicco is really a dream come true for me.”

Kit will begin his paid internship at Your Local and Hey Handsome, and will then go on to help Chef Nicco’s team in preparation for the much anticipated Madrid Fusion in September.

Stay hungry,


Nathaniel Uy


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