Meet Chef Dino Dizon. Davao’s Crocodile Chef.
Chef Dino's mom, Ma. Martha, and their family's resident cook, Tita Ariang, makes masterpiece dishes and it is no wonder why he has the same knack, even at an early age, to be able to come up with dishes that deserve nothing but compliments.
After high school, Chef Dino went to the Center for Culinary Arts in Manila to hone his craft and onwards to the Culinary Academy in San Francisco to harness his skills.
He has been an apprentice, a cook, a supervisor/sous chef in various establishments in the "City by the Bay" and is currently a corporate chef consultant at Crocodile Park-Riverwalk, Maxima Resorts and Sweet Spot Ice Cream Café at the Riverfront Corporate City as well as a Chef Consultant for the University of Mindanao in Davao City.
Which begs the question: why the interest in crocodile dishes?
Chef Dino explains that “compared to most other meats, crocodile meat is low in fat, low in calories and high in protein. In particular, it is low in saturated fat and high in mono unsaturated fat. Crocodile meat is a source of Niacin and Vitamin B12.”
According to him, there’s a wide variety of dishes that one can cook with crocodile meat- "I have made braised crocodile paws, crunchy croc wings, crispy crocodile pata, braised crocodile shank, drunken lechon crocodile, crocodile gumbo, crocodile sausages, fresh crocodile pasta, crocodile ice cream (!) and so much more to come."
Asked what he considers as THE best crocodile dish? Chef Dino opines that "it depends on a person’s mood. For me, the fresh crocodile pasta always hits the spot. It goes well with any preferred pasta sauce. It is the creaminess of the pasta from the crocodile egg that pleases my palate. Finishing it off with a nice creamy crocodile ice cream completes it."
Go easy on the croc meat, though. The flesh from this cold-blooded reptile is considered an aphrodisiac due to the "heat" that one feels after eating it.
This writer had crocodile ribs with crocodile fried rice, fresh crocodile pasta and crocodile ice cream (!). Yummy!
A serving of crocodile dish ranges from Php300-500 good for 2-3 persons.
Chef Dino may be a crocodile chef but he dreams one day of having his own eco-friendly restaurant for his little girl and partner in life that would take advantage of the local produce and put Davao in the country's culinary map.