Here’s an analogy to prove Kalel Demetrio’s worth: Chele Gonzalez, Jordy Navarra, Margarita Forés, and Amy Besa are to food as Demetrio is to beverage. All of them are earnestly looking for new, local ingredients to include in their repertoire and introduce to people. The only difference in Demetrio’s case is that he is in a league of his own.

He wears his national pride on his sleeve, and even makes concoctions out of it. He has recently discovered the serpentina plant in Laguna, which he uses for his own line of bitters. And the kalumata leaves in Bulacan, which has anise notes that he plans on infusing in his beverages. “The more I explore, the more our land unravels itself to me. I see our country’s geographical potential by studying other countries’ produce and what they supply globally. Taking into importance that we are located in one of the best equatorial spots in the world, we have the capacity to grow great produce. Given these, I dedicate my skills and passion to marrying the two.”

With the opening of his own Agimat, a foraging bar in Poblacion that highlights the produce of different provinces, and Bench Café in Bonifacio Global City, which uses 100 percent local coffee, Kalel Demetrio has finally found a home—two actually—to showcase all the items he has been discovering and playing with.

Originally published in F&B Report Vol. 14 No. 6