You might ask yourself if the world needs another deli, and you’d be well within your rights. But it would do you well to hear out Chef Chele Gonzalez’s pitch for his exclusively online Deli by Chele. It is a promise spelled out in a note that comes with his boxes of goods: “In your hands are carefully crafted products from responsibly sourced ingredients and local produce. We have put much love in reimagining and innovating timeless artisanal techniques to bring flavors from around the world that are good both for you and our environment.”
It might sound just like some hollow jumble of words to those not familiar with the Spanish chef and his work, but sustainability has been a reality in his Gallery By Chele and it’s research and development arm, Stvdio Lab. With Deli by Chele, the goal is to offer the deli market international flavors with the best local ingredients. For example, there’s his Mango and Cashew Rustic Bread, his version of a country sourdough bread but instead of raisins and hazelnut, he uses Philippine mangoes and kasuy from Palawan. (Trivia: Before the deli, Chele ordinarly bakes this for himself three to five times a week.)
There are nearly 70 products in the deli menu and these include a delicious Duck Mortadella (with duck from Laguna), a Guanciale (local organic pork jowl that will elevate any carbonara), and a Tuna Roe Bottarga (the shavings of which you can put as garnish on said carbonara). There are pastramis and assorted charcuterie, honeycured ham and sausages, kombuchas and various artisanal food preserves. The bottled Mussels in Sea Curry is best paired with bread, and the Pickled Sayote in Pineapple is a good siding for meals.
“Before the pandemic we would joke that we should open a small deli with all the products we are developing at Stvdio Lab,” says Gonzalez. “The pandemic gave us the time and reason to re-examine this idea seriously. We realized that we could create an online concept innovating artisanal techniques, bringing flavors from here and around the world to customers’ homes. We realized that we had something very special to share.”
Research and development are key to this new chapter in the business, and this require time and effort. “In creating any of our products, we start by searching for high quality, sustainable and organic produce” explains Carlos Villaflor, Chele's co- executive chef. “Next is the painstaking process of recipe development. It is an involved exercise in trial and error, mixing and matching until we get the perfectly balanced note.”
Another important aspect of the Deli by Chele production is food hygiene. Because no artificial preservatives are used, the guys see to it that with every process the products undergo, everything is meticulously clean. Food safety protocols in terms of sanitation, pasteurization and sterilization are essential. This is necessary for them to keep the advocacy of sustainability going.
“Over the years we have been immersed in the potential of what can be done with local produce,” says Gonzalez. “These discoveries have inspired us to be more environmentally aware and to strive for more sustainable practices. Understanding how much food is related to greater global issues, we believe going local is one of the ways to move toward a better future.”
[All Deli by Chele orders are processed via www.delibychele.com. Payments can be made by debit and credit cards. For bulk orders, corporate partnerships and give aways, contact email@example.com or call 63.917.160.2382.]