Chef Jessabel (Jess) Granada opened Nanam Eatery with her partner Andrew in March 2015. They started their venture at a four by four meter space at the night markets of Auckland selling "Taco Pao" (taco siopao) with pork cooked in humba sauce and chilli chicken filling. This stall was their humble beginning towards exploring Filipino cuisine, and since then the couple has been serving both quality interpretations of classic Filipino dishes and daring new ventures into the uncharted territories of its cuisine.
One of Jess’ delicious recipes - monkfish ‘binalot’ with candied walnuts and mesclun salad on sticky jasmine rice - will be featuring in an upcoming WOOP box as part of the new WOOP Guest Foodie Series, showcasing the fresh flavours of authentic Filipino cuisine! WOOP is a food box delivery service that lives and breathes the mantra of ‘slow food fast’ – it’s for people who want to eat incredible food, but don’t have the time to prpepare it. The team will go one step further to make things easy for you. They’ll find the freshest ingredients and prep, parboil, dice and slice – even make dressings, sauces and marinades from scratch – so that you don’t have to.
What is the future of cooking?
Ingredients! People are more interested in where food comes from. So I want to recognise those people who are involved in produce as they are the secret heroes of the next generation.
Do you have a food philosophy?
Do not cook if you don’t like to share. I believe that it is only in sharing we can truly appreciate the food on a plate. For me I never actually eat much of what I cook but I enjoy watching people enjoy what I made.
What’s the most important thing about cooking?
The most important thing in cooking is the question - why are you doing it? The answer to this question gives meaning to the end product of a cook. For me it is introducing Filipino inspired flavours, a story I want to inspire every dish I cook.
What do you think would encourage more people to cook healthily?
Health is an investment that a lot of people underestimate. To eat healthily you are not only helping yourself but you are also helping other people - local growers, farmers, the environment and most importantly the next generations to come.
What impact do you think recipe delivery services will have on people’s eating habits?
In this busy world you cannot blame people if they eat at home out of a can or a packet because of the ease it gives them, so I think having an access to easy cooking of good food would really be an ideal solution to the big problem of instant food diet.
What are some of your favourite ingredients to cook with?
Banana, as this has been a big part of my life, we have this everywhere back home and I know for sure that from roots to leaves I can use it for everyday cooking.
Tell us about your WOOP dish.
Binalot is quite dear to me as the smell and flavour of fish cooked in the banana leaf is nostalgic, it brings me back memories I spent with family and friends back home.
What’s going on in your life at the moment – any projects, passions or focuses?
Creating, just creating! Nanam is a place of exploration where our imagination comes to life, digging up memories that can be turned into dishes and sharing it with people who want to be a part of our journey.
What’s your pet peeve in the kitchen?
I hate wasting food. I had a time in life during my early days in cooking when people would laugh at me and ask why I use stalks of broccoli and trimmings of vegetables in some dishes - they thought I was mad. Coming from a farming family we cherish every part of the ingredients as it is important to make use of anything that is edible, and I will never change that habit of mine.
Favourite international cuisine?
If I were to have one favourite out of my hundreds of favourites, it would probably be Italian because simple food for me is harder to perfect and with Italian you have only 2 or 3 ingredients. You can experience contentment and that is the essence of food, for me less is more.
Thoughts on the phrase slow food fast?
Slow food fast sounds great. Enjoying more of eating is something people would really love especially in these busy times!
Check out WOOP at www.woop.co.nz, available in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Wellington.
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