Burlap's Anthony Sinsay graduated from the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, and his first job out of school was as line cook at Nobu in Las Vegas. The chef relocated to Southern California in 2008, and was the exec chef at Old Town's Harney Sushi before joining Enlightened Hospitality Group's Burlap in March 2012. Sinsay's extensive knowledge of Filipino food led to the chef being featured in the San Diego episode of "Bizzare Foods America" with Andrew Zimmern.
What's your favorite thing on your menu right now and why?
There are a lot of things on my menu that I absolutely love. We go through days and weeks of research and development to perfect the dishes before they even make it on to the menu. My most personal dishes are the ones that are inspired from my heritage and upbringing like the sisig of crispy pork belly and shoulder and garlic- chili vinegar served with steamed Jasmine rice. I remember going to Tita's Kitchenette with my mom and everytime this dish hits the pass, the aroma always invokes nostalgic memories of my mother and the time we spent together.
Where do you eat when you're not working?
Carnitas' Snack Shack. I love anything that Chef Hanis Cavin does. He cooks from the soul and I am excited everytime we make the trip down there. My favorite thing to eat there is "ANYTHING".
I also love Farmhouse Cafe. I had a shrimp and seafood stew there that was probably one of the best things I have ever eaten. Chef Olivier is a true craftsman and I respect him immensely!
Anything that you're "over", in terms of played-out restaurant and food trends or ingredients?
Farm-to-table. As a chef, that's what we are supposed to do. We have a social and historical obligation to work with our local farmers and growers. I practice "farm to table" and I work with many local farms and growers to get the best products that I can find, and they are always given credit on my menus, but as a chef this is something that we should be doing anyways. This is how people have eaten for centuries. It's not a trend, it's a way of life.
Do you have a wish or request for the San Diego food scene or local diners?
Please stop ordering everything on the side and have the dish the way I intended it. I cook from passion and emotion; would you scribble all over a painting because you don't like the color? I am sharing something with you, so try to understand the many processes and the story that is behind each dish. From the cattle that was once roaming to the rancher that raised it to the farmer that planted the greens on your plate. They are all there for a specific reason so try it my way first; if you don't like it, I will gladly make you another.
What makes cooking in San Diego different than other cities you've worked in?
It's a much closer community and for the most part everyone knows everyone and we're all friends. We have a mutual respect for each other and support one another. It's like we're all neighbors; if I need something in a pinch, I know I can always ask my chef friends to borrow something 'til the next day and vice versa. We're not always in competition with one another, so we are more than a community. We're a family and we take care of our own.
· Burlap [Official Site]
· All Industry Dish Interviews on Eater [~ESD~]