Shake Shack Joins Hands with Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery, The Only Filipino Entry at Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023

Photo by Kieran Punay

Shake Shack Philippines’ first chef collaboration is with Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery, Asia’s 50 2023 Best Restaurant in the Philippines and 42nd in Asia, in a menu that celebrates intersectionality in commensality. Available for one day only on November 11, Shake Shack and Toyo Eatery

Restaurateur Danny Meyer started Shake Shack in 2001 as a hot dog stand–not a burger joint–to support the Public Art Fund’s “Art in the Park” event at Madison Square Park. The dogs were prepared in his Eleven Madison Park restaurant, a stellar mainstay on every lauded food list in the world, and they were crafted with the same sensibilities of fine dining: the best real and most premium ingredients, period. Despite now being one of the most recognizable and beloved burgers in the world, that commitment hasn’t changed.

Mark Rosati, who has been culinary director of Shake Shack since its dog days at Madison Square Park, told Vogue Philippines that with Shake Shack, “we’re thinking about the most bare minimum menu item we’re creating. So it didn’t start off as ‘the Shackburger,’ it started off as ‘can we make a great hamburger, [thinking about] just bun and meat?’” The Shake Shack process is to break down every basic ingredient and find, just as one would in fine dining, real premium ingredients.

Jordy Navarra’s Shack Shack black t-shirt and bucket hat.
Photo by Kieran Punay

“Layering up the flavors using great ingredients is so paramount,” emphasizes Rosati. “But then the fun of this is taking all that off. And starting again with just the basics like a chicken and a bun. And then saying, Chef Jordy, what would you do?”

As a nod to its fine dining roots, Shake Shack has collaborated with some of the most influential chefs in the world, including Danny Yip of The Chairman in Hong Kong, Zaiyu Hasegawa of Den in Tokyo, Kang Mingoo of Mingles in Seoul, and Dominique Ansel in New York. The latest on its roster–and the first for Shake Shack Philippines–is Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery, Asia’s 50 2023 Best Restaurant in the Philippines and 42nd in Asia.

Jordy Navarra had trained in the kitchens of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in London and Alvin Leung’s Bo Innovation in Hong Kong, and the deeply layered flavours of his training immediately reflected in Toyo Eatery’s menu. Known locally as Toyo, the Makati restaurant changed the Manila dining scene in 2016.

Mark Rosati, Jordy Navarra, and Anton Huang inside Shack Shack Philippines.
Photo by Kieran Punay

Wherein Manila pre-Toyo focused on casual dining fare and Western sensibilities, Navarra and Barangay Toyo wholeheartedly embraced Filipino culture and communities. The vision was to serve great food, and to do it the Filipino way. Without a stiff white cloth in sight, Toyo Eatery even recently opened up a 6PM dinner seating that was purely kamayan–to eat with one’s hands, no utensils, in a communal, family style setting, on banana leaves.

It’s a style of eating that is virtually unseen in Western etiquette–but it’s an interesting intersection of commensality for Filipino and American cultures, and specifically the Toyo Eatery and Shake Shack collaboration, that the American burger and fries combo is usually prepared to be eaten hand-held. 

Kamayan is a gathering using your hands, but it’s also just enjoying the mixing and matching of everything you’re eating, and I feel like you can go about burger and fries the same way,” Navarra shares of the Filipino dining habits. “I know people that will put the fries in the burger, [or] dip fries and the ice cream.”

With layered flavors that reflect Shake Shack’s sensibilities, Navarra’s own creative interpretations, and the premium ingredients that define the food at both establishments, the limited-time salo-salo menu will be served November 11 from 9 AM until it sells out, only at Shake Shack Central Square BGC. 

Chick ‘n Cheek BBQ

Shack Shack x Toyo Eatery menu dish collaboration.
Photo by Kieran Punay

A Shake Shack fan himself, Navarra found it easy to translate the brand’s burger and fries into a chicken sandwich that wove in Toyo Eatery’s DNA. The Chick ‘n Cheek BBQ is Shake Shack’s crispy chicken thigh hand breaded in Shake Shack and Panaderya Toyo sourdough batter, with Toyo Eatery pork jowl (developed from a farm in Lipa, Batangas that specializes in black pigs that are pasture-raised, and antibiotic and hormone-free) and BBQ sauce, further topped with a pickle medley of atsarang papaya, red onions, burong mangga, cucumber, and aruy-uy sourced from partner organic farmers who practice natural farming.

Inasal Fries

Shack Shack x Toyo Eatery inasal fries.
Photo by Kieran Punay

Inspired by Bacolod’s chicken inasal dish, Shake Shack’s crinkle-cut fries dressed in Toyo Eatery’s inasal mayonnaise made in-house from scratch, and dusted off with a very generous serving of crispy garlic chips. Served with fresh calamansi and a side of vinegar chili dip, this is creamy and mildly tart, with a garlicky kick, and was pinpointed as a favorite by Navarra and Anton Huang, President of SSI Group Inc, which brought Shake Shack to Philippine shores. Huang expounds, “Chef Jordy’s desire and work to uphold the Filipino culture have not only placed the Filipino cuisine on the global map but also highlight the continuous progression in our local flavors and in the palate of the Filipinos.”

Rosella at Lambanog Lemonade

Shack-made lemonade with Toyo Eatery’s rosella syrup (created with rosella sourced from La Paz, Abra), spiked with tagay (shot)portions of lambanog (Filipino rice wine, this one directly from a maker in lambanog country Candelaria, Quezon). Keeping with their family friendly themes at both Toyo and Shake Shack, Navarra and Rosati laugh that it’s something kids can look forward to down the road.

Tsokolate at Tostadong Bigas Concrete

Shack x Toyo Eatery Tsokolate at Tostadong Bigas Concrete.
Photo by Kieran Punay

This frozen chocolate custard is blended with Toyo Eatery’s classic toasted rice pudding made with local organic black rice from Capas, Tarlac; candied Palawan cashews; and candied cacao nibs from a chocolate company that creates single origin, tree-to-bar products, using premium and locally grown cacao. It’s Rosati’s own must-try for the collaboration, highlighting its layered salty and sweet textures. “[It] was a really fun item we worked on. Normally when we create a concrete, we use vanilla custard because it’s the most simple of our custards, and that lets all the ingredients shine through. This is one of the first ones where chocolate custard. […] We don’t do chocolate concretes that often. But again, these ingredients work so well.”

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