Jul 12, 2007

The kitchen-savvy Housemate

“NOTHING short of fulfilling” was how Kian Kazemi (full name: Kian Reza Tingson Kazemi) described his whole experience as a Housemate inside the Pinoy Big Brother House.

This 21-year-old half-Persian hunk not only thrilled the Pinoy Big Brother Season 2 aficionados with his seductive eyes, good looks, to-die-for physique and boundless optimism in life: Kian also wowed everyone with his passion for cooking!

Cooking, in Kian Kazemi Dictionary, is simply defined as “an art.” “It [cooking] is an art because you have to be creative, [and] you have to have passion in what you’re doing, so that people will get to taste the many splendors of the different dishes you use,” he says.

“I’ve been cooking since I was young. [Back then,] I used to tell my mom to teach me how to cook. I love to cook because I love to eat—I have a good taste for good food!” His cookery fondness also became his driving force to pursue a hotel, restaurant and institution management degree at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. He graduated in October of last year.

Filipino by heart

Kian’s specialties include Chelo Kebab Kobideh, charbroiled ground beef with fresh grilled tomato and rice; Grilled Lamb Chops; and Chelo Morg, chicken breast fillet with fresh grilled tomato and rice. These three dishes are actually included in Persia Grill’s Kebab Meals, served with the succulent eggplant and yoghourt dip.

He experiments in the kitchen every now and then. “That’s how I get to discover new dishes. If you don’t try on new things, you will not transcend… I also read cookbooks to check on what’s new, then incorporate my ideas with what I discovered.”

Though he has a foreign blood, he still has the appreciation for Filipino foods.

“I crave plates for adobo and inihaws. I also hunger for tilapia, bangus and kare-kare!” He believes that losing his food traditions would be like losing a part of his Filipino identity.

Meanwhile, he finds French cuisine challenging, something that he wants to master in the future. “Food from France is really fantastic. It’s one of the world’s most refined and elegant styles in cooking. A lot of food connoisseurs started from there… they’ve so many dishes and choices: They’re food is priceless!”

His idol chef, by the way, is Wolfgang Johann Puck, an Austrian-American celebrity cook that we get to see on the culinary game show, Iron Chef America. “He [Puck] is very enthusiastic [in the kitchen].”

Hands-on restaurateur

Situated at the Valero Car Park 2, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, in Makati City, Persia Grill (0917-604-8245; 0906-513-2137) is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day.

I must say that dining in at this restaurant is like eating at the dining room of the Kazemis. Why? Because what they serve here are all the recipes of their family!

“Majority of our ingredients [especially the herbs and spices] comes from Iran, since most of them are either hard to find or can’t be found here. “We have a supplier there… then our grandmother and uncle send [what we need] here. Our food is really authentic, very delightful and babalik-balikan mo,” he enthuses.


Prices of food here are inexpensive, too. Pita bread only costs P12 while leche flan and Maiz con Yelo are at P35 and P50. Persia Grill has business meals that range from P95 to P120. “If I were in the shoes of the working-class citizens, I’d always have a budget, so I want to eat something that’s reasonable because I want my money’s worth,” he explains.

Persia Grill was actually a graduation gift-cum-start-up-your-life kit given to him by his parents. His father, Ali Reza Kazemi, designed the restaurant’s interior. It was opened on April 15—a day after his first eviction at “Kuya’s House.” “I prepare some of the menus and [even] personally serve it to our customers. Since I’m just new to managing a business, my mom (Charito Tingson Kazemi) is [still] the ‘big boss’ here,” he says with a smile.

Kian spends most of his time at Persia Grill when he’s showbiz-free. “I get to meet my fans here, as well as a lot of wonderful people. I get to know them better because they come back. I’m so touched when people come here and really wait for me to arrive. Food [indeed] brings people [and family] together!”
Giovanni Paolo J. Yazon
Manila Standard Today

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