Blasta Books #8: Masarap

By Richie Castillo and Alex O'Neill

Richie Castillo is the chef behind Bahay, a Filipino pop-up restaurant that he started and runs with his partner, Alex O'Neill. Richie and Alex named Bahay after the Tagalog word for home while the title of this, their first book – Masarap – means tasty in Tagalog, the Filipino language. It's a nod to Bahay’s Irish-Filipino background, seeing as how blasta means tasty in Irish.

For Richie, this book was a catalyst for exploring and connecting with his Filipino heritage. You’ll find classic dishes such as adobo, a range of exciting Filipino dishes and playful recipes with Filipino flavours that highlight his experience growing up eating Filipino food with Irish ingredients. Masarap is an exploration of Filipino food through an Irish cultural lens and a way to introduce more people to the food of the Philippines. 

"A small book of Filipino food that I love in a big way!" - Nigella Lawson

  • ISBN: 9781999379988
  • Format: Hardcover, 72 pages
  • Dimensions: 21.7 x 1.2 x 15.4 cm
  • Publication date: 26 October 2023
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    About the authors

    Richard Castillo was born and raised in Dublin to an Irish mother and a Filipino father. For 10 years he worked in various kitchens at home and abroad but after the pandemic threw the restaurant industry into chaos, he wanted to play by his own rules, go back to his roots and harness his creativity to create something personal and true to him.

    Encouraged by his partner, Alex, Bahay was born. Named after the Tagalog word for house/home, Richie focuses on introducing people to Filipino flavours using Irish ingredients as well as highlighting Irish-Filipino culture through food, music and art in unique spaces, locations and venues across the country.

    Not content with just one project, shortly after Bahay was created, Richie began studying for a master’s in psychotherapy, which he will complete in 2024. For Richie, this book was a catalyst for exploring and connecting with his Filipino and Irish heritage as well as a time of great personal growth and development.

    Alex O'Neill is a food lover with a passion for exploring the past, present and future through art, language, culture and cuisine. She comes from a family of social revolutionaries, artists and engineers. She has worked in IT for the last eight years, but it was only after commencing a master's in digital marketing in 2020 that she saw the potential in the online space to foster a creative, new and alternative approach to market the idea of Bahay and introduce a wider audience to the incredible Filipino flavours that Richie explores.


    Photographer credit: Ruth Calder-Potts

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