Filipino restaurateurs, culinary purveyors, and world-renowned Michelin-star chefs indulged Filipinos with information on emerging trends that are shaping the culinary and hospitality industry.
Gathered together for CCA culinary school’s “Future of Food” conference at the University of the Philippines’ new campus in Bonifacio Global City, the powerhouse line-up of speakers additionally shared emerging valuable insights on critical issues and the role of chefs in the fast-paced and technology-driven world.
On modern gastronomy
The Internet has changed the way people cook and eat.
“Historically, recipes get handed down from one generation to the next but many Gen Xers and Yers were skipped. Children are now digital natives who are Youtube-taught rather than mom-taught. There are a hundred and one reasons why children are not allowed in the kitchen but that is slowly changing,” said Eileen Borromeo, Planning Director of McCann Worldgroup Philippines.
More opportunities meant more industry players and the need to stand out from the rest has resulted to bolder interpretations of traditional Filipino cuisine.
“I’ve been coming to the Philippines for the last 20 years and the whole of Manila has grown. Everyone’s enjoying the variety,” said Chef Alvin Leung, the man behind 3 Michelin-starred Bo Innovation in Hong Kong.
The chef, known for his style dubbed X-treme Chinese Cuisine, talked about bringing traditional techniques into the now, like creating a modern dish that will eventually become traditional.
Filipino food and culture on the global stage
Outside of Manila, culinarians like Nicole Ponseca are championing Filipino food through her restaurants, Maharlika Filipino Moderno and Jeepney Filipino Gastropub both found in New York City.
Ponseca started her inspiring talk with an illustration of New York back in 1998, a time when the only Filipino restaurants were mostly located in Queens and limited to small mom-and-pop places.
This lack of representation for Filipino cuisine is what emboldened her to venture into the industry. She attributes her success to one thing: owning who she was as a Filipino. She went against what was popular and went back to what was authentic.
“Respect that we have our own mother sauces. There’s no room to water down patis, bagoong, and salted egg. That’s exactly what has kept us behind,” Ponseca emphasized.
Taking it further than food is The Filipino Kitchen, a community of Filipino-Americans who organizes the Kultura Festival in Chicago.
“We want to make Filipino food accessible by combining it with elements that are familiar to everyone. Pushing Filipino food to the global stage does not just entail one aspect – it involves our whole culture,” said Natalia Roxas, co-founder of The Filipino Kitchen.
Achieving sustainability through locavore
Michelin-star chef Christian Tetedoie reminded chefs in the audience about the importance of waste management and encouraged everyone to change the way they consume food. “Excessive consumerism leads to huge amounts of leftovers. We need to eat better and not more and opt for good quality and presentation over quantity,” he said.
Sourcing ingredients is another key aspect to achieving sustainability – using only what’s in season to achieve the best taste, maximize health benefits, and keep costs low.
“We are influencers and we must use that in a positive way,” said Spanish chef Chele Gonzales of Gallery Vask, an art space and restaurant in Bonifacio Global City considered as one of the best restaurants in Asia.
Gonzales also stressed the preservation of the country’s marine life. “Seafood is a luxury that must not be taken for granted. More than using high-quality ingredients, it is the chef’s role to ensure that these ingredients, particularly seafood, were obtained through eco-friendly methods.”
What is the future of food? It lies not just within the kitchen but outside of it as well.
The noted chef sums it up, “As chefs, we cannot be inside four walls all the time. We need to go out and get in touch with nature, with traditions and culture. I travel around the Philippines because the most important thing for me is knowledge.”