Foodie central | Inquirer Entertainment

Foodie central

/ 09:18 PM November 12, 2011

ROB and Sunshine Pengson designed the kitchen, down to the hanging rack for pots and pans.

Too many cooks didn’t spoil this one.

It’s not surprising that the kitchen seems to be the fulcrum of the sleek and stylish suburban home – its main architects are two celebrity chefs.
The kitchen could rival those of the country’s top restaurants. It was built to the specifications of TV host and chef Rob Pengson and his wife, fellow culinary expert and model, Sunshine Puey-Pengson. It boasts the latest gadgets in culinary technology, befitting the degustation concept.


“Stuff for molecular gastronomy,” Rob explained. “We have foamers, food processors, molders, ice-cream makers – even mixers, weighing devices …”


There’s a regular La Germania stove, an Electrolux ref and Smeg induction cooktops, too. Some of the items are from their old restos. “Cooking is more enjoyable if you have complete equipment,” Rob said.

The Pengsons are behind the Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy and the resto du jour, The Goose Station at Bonifacio Global City. Rob, who hosted QTV’s “Chef to Go,” now anchors with Love Añover  the long-running, five-minute cooking show, “Del Monte Kitchenomics,” aired on GMA News TV four days a week.

In spite of the high-tech gadgets, Rob often whips up simple and practical dishes at home, specifically, tortang talong and adobo – just like in the show.

BRASSWARE and fish tiles from Turkey

“I prepare our meals for the entire week; we just reheat when needed,” he said. A favorite these days is pochero made with tomato sauce and lots of vegetables “because I’m trying to lose weight. Also, we want our son to grow up liking fruits and veggies.”

Sunshine, who’s nursing their firstborn son, 3-month-old Santiago, spends more time at home these days. “I can do R&D (research and development) here since our home kitchen is as well-equipped as the one in the restaurant,” she said.

“We built a customized hanging rack for our pots and pans,” chef Rob noted. “It cost only P2,000 and was based on our own design.”


When they got married three years ago, most of their friends gifted them with kitchenware – not knowing that the couple had accumulated lots of pots and pans through the years.

“The kitchen features lots of storage spaces for our cooking implements,” Rob said. “My wife is very organized; I’m more of the artist, who’s into creative clutter.”

They wanted the kitchen spic-and-span, said Rob. “Just black and white with touches of red. The red filing cabinet hides the trash bin.”

P ACCENTS for the Puey-Pengson household; red oven mits add color.

To add a burst of color, they installed nine painted tiles from Spain on a wall by the stove. “The tiles with fish design are from Turkey,” Sunshine said.

The Pengsons built their home in a serene subdivision south of Manila, away from the hustle and bustle of urban living.

“I grew up in the Katipunan area [in Quezon City]; my wife, in Alabang,” Rob explained. “After we got married in 2008, we looked for a quiet place with lots of greenery. It’s so polluted in the city na [already].”

The south is the best place to raise a family, he said. “Everything is within reach. There are good schools, top hospitals, malls, restaurants and grocery stores in the area.”

OLD AND NEW: Exotic tiles from Spain are matched with state-of-the-art kitchen appliances.

And there’s a legislated plastics ban. “The entire Muntinlupa, even fast-food chains and convenience stores, has stopped using plastic bags. It’s great for the environment. Our area no longer gets flooded in the rainy season.”

It also helps that the city encourages healthy living, with lots of open spaces for sports and other recreational activities. “I’m into triathlon, Frisbee and football,” Rob said. “I hope to introduce my son to sports someday.”

He is a member of the International Football Club, a multi-national team based in the south. “We’re like the United Nations, with teammates from Germany, Korea, United Kingdom, Mexico and the Philippines,” he said.

The den, Rob’s comfort zone, is decorated with football memorabilia. He often holes up there to watch football tournaments on TV or play computer games. “I play sporty games; my wife is into Call of Duty,” he said.

TRIO of vintage Asian photographs

Most of the decorative pieces in the den are from local malls: crabs from SM, silver pumpkins from Uniwide. The squash is a souvenir from Vietnam.

Another cherished memento is a framed photograph of Fort Santiago. “Rob proposed to me in Intramuros in 2007,” Sunshine recounted.

While the den features a washroom that is decidedly masculine in décor, Sunshine spruced up the washroom at the foyer with a distinctly feminine touch, said Rob.

The Pengsons took full charge of the interiors with the help of a friend who’s a professional designer. “Sunshine did 75 percent; I took care of the remaining 25 percent,” said Rob. They also turned to his mom Cristina, an interior decorator.

Some of the furniture pieces came from their old apartment, while others were gifts from their parents and relatives. “The old bauls (wooden chests) are from our grandparents. The polka-dot chair came from my grandfather,” he said. “We just had it reupholstered. The antique fans are from Sunshine’s mom.”

The koi fish painting in the living room is by Ramon Diaz, while the fruit and flower still life is by Isabel Diaz.

SPIC-and-span kitchen is a work station for two.

“We didn’t want our home to be too modern,” Rob explained the design theme. “We didn’t want it to look like a hotel. More than anything, we wanted our home to exude a cool, cozy, colorful ambience.”

They didn’t put up too many walls, either, to make the public spaces look more breezy and bright. “Our home reflects our personality,” said Sunshine. “There’s a mix of old and new –with a lot of pieces inherited from our parents.”

There’s a strong Asian touch, with lots of browns, beiges and other earth colors. For a Pinoy twist, they laid out an abaca rug in the living room. They got a dao wood dining table, which seats eight, from a store in Makati. A perfect match is the hardwood buffet table.

LAMP from Australia and framed family photos

Displayed in the dining area are various framed menus from their favorite restaurants all over the world. The lone Filipino resto on their list is Antonio’s of Tagaytay. “Some of the menus are from San Dominico in Italy, Iggy’s in Singapore, Pierre Gagnaire in France, Martin Berasategui in Spain. We had our honeymoon in Modena, Italy.” Sunshine also displayed vintage menus from Paris, France, where she studied culinary arts at the Ritz.

They made sure to build a lanai and spacious garden with lots of trees and shrubs. “We’re both outdoorsy, and we want to give our son plenty of space to run around in.”

Rob sometimes practices a few drills with his team in the garden. “We train twice a week. We usually have football games over the weekend.”

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Photos by Rodel Rotoni

TAGS: Entertainment, Family, Food, Home Body, Kitchen

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