Bistro Candon opened in March 15, 2000 within the Four Brothers Wholesale and Retail Center commercial property, which the family of Chef Nic also owns, at Bagani Campo, Candon City, Ilocos Sur. Yet before Bistro Candon came into fruition, Chef Nic has been serving lip-smacking fare especially cakes and desserts in his NR Cakes, Pastries, and Restaurant, since 1994.
NR Cakes, then located by the public market at the heart of the Poblacion, showcased the upshots of Chef Nic’s first love: baking. Given the chance, Chef Nic will tell engaging tales, flowing all the way back from the late-70s to the 90s, of how he started baking a la modern-day Junior Master Chef when he was in Grade 3, how he moved his beginner’s ovens and tools to their home garage to simulate a little man’s solo bakeshop, and how he would make and break muffins, chiffons, cookies, and sell them to their own employees and passersby. Sooner after perfecting the recipes and baking techniques on his own, his loaf breads and cakes and roll cakes and many assorted baked goods became consistent items in their grocery shelves. Truly, culinary instinct flows in the veins as his own parents and aunt are all gastronomes in their own little ways. Later in the late-90s, NR begun serving the basic rice toppings, then a small range of a la carte.
Bistro Candon, meanwhile, started by offering what would then usually appeal to the traditional “probinsyano” clientele: the likes of hamburgers, siopao, potato chips, pancit, fresh lumpia, mami, fried chicken. Chef Nic, himself a proud probinsyano, despite his European and American education and training, believed that his foundational menu should be attuned to the taste buds of the times. But as good word about good food spread, then without the convenience of social media and massive advertisements, Chef Nic made the leap to introduce a more diversified menu that would later give the restaurant’s identity that it has today, to include baby back ribs, gourmet pizzas, pitas, wraps, boneless bangus, Norwegian salmon, shrimps, and both gourmet and genuine Ilocano cuisine, even the exclusive U.S. Angus rib eye, plus a feast of desserts to choose from: luxurious tiramisu, ultra-fine brazo de Mercedes, the premium chocolate cake, moist carrot cake, fruitcake, crème brulee, and even the traditional Ilocano desserts dudol and canotillo revived to their former glory.
The flourishing resto and catering services eventually became the top choice for guaranteed excellent food and services for any occasion. With Chef Nic’s passion and dedication reaching fellow professional chefs and restaurateurs in Manila, he was invited to be guest chef at the Hotel Intercontinental during the summer of 2009. With Chef Nic’s first-rate reputation reaching the highest officials of the province, Bistro Candon catered for the most splendid wedding celebration known in the modern history of Ilocos Sur: the wedding reception for the union of the Governor’s and the Vice Governor’s children. What followed next – book writing on Ilocano cuisine, guesting and interviews for TV, special features on the dailies and food magazines, consultancy to some culinary schools, more home-based, Manila-based, and overseas-based clients choosing us for their weddings or for just a small yet exquisite degustacion gathering – all now form part of the inspiration to continue pursuing our vision to proudly be the best locally-owned provider of top-quality food and services in Candon and the Ilocos.