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Inspired By Ube, A Classic French Soup Gets A Purple Makeover

Chef Gene Gonzalez transforms this elegant cold cream soup into a vibrant ube-flavored concoction that celebrates Filipino flavors and ingredients

Chef Gene Gonzalez shows us how Filipino ingredients and French technique can transform a dish. Vichyssoise is traditionally a French cold soup made with potatoes and leeks, which he localizes by substituting ube for the potatoes. Served cold, this ube leek soup is called a vichyssoise. It should be smooth and creamy, and perfect for hot summer days. Served warm, it becomes a parmentier. Though still silky, it’s rather more rustic and can be a little chunky. 

As the founder of landmark restaurant, Café Ysabel and of the Center for Asian Culinary Studies, Chef Gene is just at home with cooking French fine dining classics as he is with Filipino heritage dishes, giving rise to this seamless “fusion” of French and Filipino. 


Ube Vichyssoise 

Serves 8 

1 1/4 kilos sliced ube, or substitute with sweet potato or squash 

1 cup beets

12 cups chicken stock or chicken broth with pandan

4 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced 

1 cup sliced onion

3 bay leaves

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 

salt, to taste

2 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives 

1. Peel the ube and the beets. Cut into small pieces.


2. In a large stockpot, heat the ube in chicken stock. Add all the other ingredients except the cream and chives. Boil until the ube is tender. 

3. Reduce heat and simmer for another 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Let cool to room temperature. 

inspired by ube, a classic french soup gets a purp 0

4. Put the ube mixture into a blender or food processor and purée. 

inspired by ube, a classic french soup gets a purp 1

5. Strain the mixture to get a smooth consistency. Whisk in cream and season to taste. Chill until very cold. 

inspired by ube, a classic french soup gets a purp 2

6. Serve vichyssoise in half a coconut shell.

inspired by ube, a classic french soup gets a purp 3

7. To decorate, swirl cream on the surface and create a pattern with a knife. 


This recipe first appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 2, 2017

Recipe by Gene Gonzalez

Photos by Paulo Valenzuela