• 30 years in the food game and the changes Forés has seen

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    ■ It has taken us a while to learn to love our own (food). Now, we’ve stopped trying to put our cuisine in a box and are accepting the fact that it is a combination of all these beautiful cultures that have touched our history at one point or another. At the same time, we have also learned to celebrate what was there before all these outside influences.

    ■ We finally appreciate what a great people we are, influenced perhaps by factors such as Manny Pacquiao winning or Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan’s effect on visitors who came here to help and their discovery of what a beautiful country we had; how delicious our food was; and how resilient the Filipinos were.

    ■ There is a real resolve among chefs in the industry to want to work with local ingredients. Thanks to the Department of Agriculture, we are informed about what the farmers are growing and the Department of Tourism that got us to participate into the more influential food events abroad such the slow food fair in Torino and Gruene-Volk in Berlin, the largest organic food show in the world, where the Philippines had a booth showcasing our exporters.

    ■ These activities have had a snowball effect on young chefs who are so involved in the using local ingredients movement. We, more senior chefs, love the fact that all these young chefs are doing really creative and crazy ingenious things in the kitchen.

    ■ There is less of the presence of the middle man since these days we work directly with the farmers.

    ■ It’s “cool” to be a farmer now that there is greater demand for local, native produce like heirloom rice. My niece is 29 and she is into farming, while her friends who are younger are also into farming.

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