Beef Mechado Recipe by
Executive Chef Vanessa Floro

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Feature Chef

Executive Chef Vanessa Floro is a Filipino-American culinary professional who integrates sustainable food sourcing into her recipes, reflecting a growing trend among the local chefs who are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their cooking practices and understand how Executive Chef Floro incorporates sustainability into her recipes. She’s a seasoned culinary artist whose passion for sustainable food sourcing is as rich and deep as the flavors she infuses into her Filipino cuisine. With a commitment to environmental stewardship and a deep respect for her cultural heritage, Chef Floro has become a beacon of innovation in the local culinary industry. Her dishes are not just meals; they are stories told through the language of food, where each ingredient is carefully selected for its quality, ethical sourcing, and ability to bring out the true essence of Filipino flavors.

Chef Vanessa Floro's Beef Mechado Recipe on FarmConnect. Agritech Startup Philippines

Today, we are delighted to share one of Executive Chef Floro’s beloved recipes, a classic Filipino dish known as Beef Mechado. This dish is a testament to her artistic cooking methods, blending traditional techniques with a modern twist to create a symphony of taste that dances on the palate. Mechado, originally influenced by Spanish cuisine, has been embraced and transformed within Filipino kitchens to become a staple comfort food, loved for its hearty and savory qualities.

The Beef Mechado recipe we’re about to explore is not just a set of instructions; it’s an invitation to embark on a culinary journey. As you prepare this dish, imagine the vibrant markets of the Philippines, where Chef Floro selects the freshest local produce, and the sizzle of the beef as it marinates in a melody of soy sauce and calamansi—a citrus fruit that adds a unique tropical tang to the dish.

Let’s dive into the recipe that showcases Executive Chef Floro’s dedication to sustainable and artistic cooking:


  • 1 kg Beef Tenderloin cut into cubes
  • 250 g Carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 250 g Potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 pieces Bay Leaves
  • 150 ml Soy Sauce
  • 100 ml Calamansi juice
  • 250 g Tomato Paste
  • 100 g Brown Sugar
  • 250 g Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 100 g Garlic, minced
  • 350 ml Soybean Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 50 g Parsley or Fresh Onion Leeks, finely chopped for garnish
Beef Mechado Recipe by Executive Chef Vanessa on FarmConnect. Agritech Startup Philippines

Cooking Instructions

  1. Begin by marinating the beef cubes. In a large bowl, combine water, soy sauce, a generous pinch of salt and pepper, calamansi juice, and 50 ml of soybean oil. Whisk these ingredients together until well blended. Add the beef cubes to the marinade, ensuring each piece is well-coated. Cover and let the beef marinate for 2–3 hours in the refrigerator, allowing the flavors to penetrate deeply.
  2. Once the beef is marinated, heat the remaining soybean oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped red onions and minced garlic, bay leaves sautéing them until they become translucent and fragrant. This is where the artistry begins, as the base flavors set the stage for the dish.
  3. Add the marinated beef to the pot, reserving the marinade for later. Sear the beef on all sides until it develops a rich, caramelized crust. This technique not only enhances the flavor but also locks in the juices of the meat.
  4. Pour in the reserved marinade and enough water to fill the pot halfway. Stir in the tomato paste and brown sugar, blending them into the liquid to create a harmonious sauce. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let the beef cook slowly for about 1 hour, or until it becomes tender and the sauce thickens.
  5. While the beef is simmering, fry the carrot and potato chunks in a separate pan with some soybean oil until they are golden and slightly crispy. This not only adds texture but also a delightful contrast to the tender beef.
  6. Once the beef is tender, add the fried carrots and potatoes to the pot, stirring gently to combine them with the sauce. Continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  7. To serve, ladle the Beef Mechado into a serving dish and garnish with freshly chopped fresh onion leeks or parsley. The vibrant green of the parsley or fresh onion leeks not only adds a pop of color but also a fresh, herbal note to the dish.

Executive Chef Vanessa Floro, incorporates these practices into her recipes by choosing ingredients that are locally sourced, in season, and have a lower environmental impact. She might also design her menus to include a higher proportion of plant-based dishes, ensure that her kitchen minimizes waste, and engage with suppliers who prioritize sustainable farming practices. Additionally, she could be involved in training her staff and engaging with the community to promote the importance of sustainable eating.

Sustainable food sourcing involves several key practices:
  1. Local and Seasonal Ingredient Sourcing: Chefs like Floro may prioritize ingredients that are local and in season, reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation and supporting local economies. FarmConnect, for example, sources ingredients from independent local suppliers around Benguet Highlands, creating menus that celebrate seasonality and champion local businesses.
  2. Plant-Based Menus: Increasing the proportion of plant-based dishes is another strategy for sustainability. Research has shown that plant-based foods can significantly reduce emissions and conserve resources[2]. By offering menus that are predominantly plant-based, chefs can advocate for a diet that is more environmentally friendly.
  3. Minimizing Food Waste: Sustainable chefs often focus on minimizing food waste by creatively using food scraps, instituting recycling and composting programs, and donating unused food[2]. This approach not only reduces the environmental impact but also contributes to food security.
  4. Training and Education: Providing training for culinary teams on the benefits of healthy, sustainable diets and the environmental impacts of food choices is crucial. This education can extend to front-of-house staff, who can then effectively communicate the value of sustainable dishes to customers.
  5. Recipe Development: Developing recipes that are culturally relevant and appealing while also being sustainable can be a challenge. Chefs may engage with culinary teams from diverse backgrounds to create recipes that meet these criteria.
  6. Sustainable Procurement: Setting targets for recipe uptake and procurement that align with sustainability goals is part of a broader strategy to ensure that the ingredients used are sourced responsibly.
  7. Advocacy and Community Engagement: Chefs can become advocates for change within the food system, hosting workshops and programs to educate the public about sustainable eating.
    Energy Efficiency and Independence: Pushing for restaurants to exercise energy efficiency, such as using dishwashers that use less water and cooking with electricity rather than gas, can also be part of a chef’s sustainable practice.
Nutritional Label for Beef Mechado (Based on Beef and Stew Meat, 250g serving):

Calories: Approximately 720–757 calories 

  • Total Fat: 48.85g – 50.35g (Saturated Fat: 19.328g – 19.801g)
  • Cholesterol: 218mg – 232mg
  • Sodium: 955mg – 960mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 0g (Dietary Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 0g)
  • Protein: 65.82g – 71g
  • Vitamin D: Not specified
  • Calcium: 25mg – 30mg
  • Iron: 6.62mg – 7.25mg
  • Potassium: 610mg – 788mg
  • Vitamin A: 0mcg
  • Vitamin C: 0mg

This nutritional label provides a rough estimate for the beef component of the Beef Mechado recipe. Remember, the actual nutritional content will vary based on the complete list of ingredients and their proportions in the final dish.

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