Saturday, May 30, 2009

If You Are What You Eat...

... then you, too, are the people you live (and lived) with.

My ex- apartment, overlooking rooftops.

... where the music of Yann Tiersen is the daily anthem...

.... and this film is the craze...

... balut + beer is a regular ritual...

... if you are the dumb with a "duh?" look, it's considered normal. If you're stupid, it's normal too.

... anything goes, from wines to parasols..

... and forks speak their own language.

.... cats are sacred.

...and this is our role model.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Those Food Tasting Sessions - and Conversations

There's always a big advantage if your profession is close to your heart. I classify myself as one of the world's luckiest people (i.e., you fly with angels at night, etc., etc.) and at daytime I am faced with a lot of food- all I have to do is say no. Ugh, I'm full. Just today, one of our suppliers gave me samples for soft- serve ice cream which I will work on tomorrow :) The other night I was invited to an opening of an exhibit in a really cool cafe/ art gallery, dragged by a chef friend who was a consultant of the cafe there. I said, what a great combination: food + the arts - and a lotta vodka :) Those are the little perks of life and I am very thankful.

Food tasting sessions aren't exempted from those little happy- happenings. Last week, the chef consultant of a multinational company visited our kitchen and did some cooking with us (using their products. Of course, they're selling). Dish after dish... from teriyaki to mashed potato to tocino...

Chef Kaizer of Nestle Philippines is a friendly young man who got to study in Switzerland because he had said, "My blogging got me to study there." That was years ago, though, and he is no longer active on the net.
Those food tasting sessions with other chefs from outside are some of the moments I enjoy the most. While I just eat with a wee- bit of everything, the conversations are just too much for the heart and fills your stomach as well. Funny how cooks notice all the small things on the dish, I said to Kaizer "Hey, look, I love these black beans...they're so plump and healthy."
He started giggling. "You saw them too? I noticed that last night and I said the same thing."

Food tasting sessions could take hours. The panel is the whole management committee (the board room people) and they have these sheets of paper on which to evaluate the food. The sessions are a highly subjective activity and I honestly hate breaking the food down like a critic... I don't know, it's just me. So while that was going on, we the two cooks sat at the end of the table answering questions and talking kitchen stuff-
Kaizer: Have you tried using pressure cooker to cook azuki?
FH: Nope, I'm not a pressure cooker fan.
K: You too?! I thought I was the only one! I soften tough meats in a charcoal burner- long hours.

Board Room People #1: Hey, what's this?
FH: (glancing) Pea sprouts.

Kaizer: I'm not a mandoline person either...
Kaizer: Just one? You know, one of my friends got all three fingertips slit by a mandoline.
FH: (Cringes) Oh, s---t.
Board Room People #2: Can we pre- make this mashed potato and microwave it afterwards?
Kaizer: (Looking) No sir, I won't advise that. It's really very easy to make that mashed po...
- more.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Angelic Dreams, Happy Days

I've been having dreams of angels recently - similar images of that Blake drawing on the left. Can't help but write it down. I was flying with them on the rooftops and saw the Chrysler Building's shadow in the sunrise.
Then I was picking fruits. Lots of them. Then I was baking baguettes. Lots of them too. Weird.
Yesterday, I got some great news. Something is coming true very soon...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Love- and How to Brew the Perfect Tea

Strings of kimono untied, a glass of tea, some flaky wafers... and a letter from a Zen monastery. The love of my blog life Mr. Hun wrote the other day.

First, you brew the tea.

You'll need:
A kettle for boiling water
2 cups

200 ml hot water for warming the teapot and cups
6 grams Earl Grey Tea Leaves
360 ml boiling water
Sugar or honey- optional

1. Pour water into the teapot and cups and swirl them around to warm all over. Throw the warming water away.
2. Spoon the tea leaves into the warmed teapot.
3. Gradually pour the kettleful of boiling water into the tea leaves, then while pouring, lift the kettle high up in the air up to two feet. This will enable the tea leaves to “jump” and incorporate enough air necessary for the tea leaves to bloom and release flavor.
4. Steep for five minutes.
5. Pour into the warmed tea cups, pressing the leaves to get those "golden drops"- the tartest part of the tea.
Can be served with or without sugar or honey.

Note: Iced Tea and Tea Au Lait have different proportions altogether.


Next, read a love letter.

My dearest Foodhuntress,

First, thank you for all your kind words. You are so nice to me. Words can't describe what I feel for you. You caught my attention with that book about the Zen monastery. I will look for it. Sounds like my kind of reading so thank you. I have so much admiration/love/passion for you, you have no idea. You can trigger that 'whole range of emotions' within me with just a few words. That's how special you are to me. What would have been the odds of meeting you? 1 out of 6 billions. But yet again, nothing happens by chance alone. All forces participate at everything on our favor indeed. I feel like we are growing together. :-)

I am glad to be in touch with you again. Even at the age of internet, I could still feel that my world is built in the 16th century. Everyday I wake up at 4 am to do some meditation, and believe me, our diet here of pickled radish and tea has made me lose weight I think I could levitate everytime. How's your blog going now? How are the kitchens? I miss you.

There's something that got me thinking these past weeks. There's something about intimate relationships that is deeply flawed and ultimately dysfunctional. Falling in 'love' on the physical plane can be deeply satisfying at first. You feel intensely alive. Your existence has suddenly become meaningful because someone needs you and makes you feel special and you do the same for him or her. It can get so intense that the world that surrounds the lovers fades away. The downpart to this is the neediness and the clinging to that intensity. You become addicted to the other person like to a drug. You are on a high when the drug is available but the thought of 'losing' that person can lead to jealousy, possessiveness etc... Where is the love now? Was it true love in the first place or just an addiction?

On the other hand, true love has no opposite because it arises from behind the mind. I agree with you when you said human relationships should be rooted from the inside and love will manifest in different forms. You are becoming a radiant being yourself, I can feel it. I'm so proud of you. Now i know the distance between us is in fact a blessing my love, we speak to each other from the heart, we don't need to pretend or play a role. What we experience for each other is true love. I am certain. I love you and I'm sincerely thankful to have known you too. :-)

In essence, we must be like an empty cup- never too full of ourselves.

I'm not saying you should avoid relationships altogether. Closing the door is not the answer. Sometimes the pain of a failed relationship will force you into awakening, there's always something to learn in any situation, good or bad. Go out there and live your life my darling. Seize the day. I will still love you no matter what, I promise. You've got my word for it. :-)

Happiness and unhappiness are the two sides of the same coin, like day and night. In the cycle of life, happiness will always be followed by unhappiness because they are both created by the mind, the ego. Happiness is like the surface of the ocean. It can go from calm to fury (unhappiness) very quickly. Only the deep waters remain unchanged no matter what happens on the surface. Beyond happiness and unhappiness there is a deep inner peace. I think that's what the Buddha meant by 'happiness is the source of all suffering." But what do I know?

When we bring intense presence into our lives and we stop worrying about the future and complaint about the past we start moving beyond duality, and beyond good and bad lies the bliss you often hear about in Buddhism. On the physical plane we will never be complete, you are either a man or a woman and the only tiny glimpse at wholeness we get is during a loving sexual intercourse. The act in itself is quite symbolic, isn't it? On the spiritual plane, that One-ness is within each one of us all the time. Waiting to be discovered. It's within reach. Realizing it is Nirvana but I like to think of it as a big spiritual orgasm instead. Haha. I'm baaad, but you know that already! I love you, I really do. How did I get from this spiritual talk to wanting to take off your clothes so badly? You are too intense for me, I can't take it. Hahaha. Sorry.

Good luck with your job my darling. There are hard times, I know how sometimes you break in tears but all of that will go away one day. I'm sorry I can't be there for you. Sometimes the arrangement of the planets can really be so tricky we have to deal with it. Don't worry too much. You can always look back at your life and connect the dots, and you'll see that pattern what had made you who you are right now. I don't know how much waiting this would take us – how far, or what lies beyond. But let's not think of these things right now and live everyday to the fullest. Think of me less everyday. Have fun, enjoy a date- follow your heart.

I love you.

Mr. Hun

P.S. Have I told you I've shaved my head? :)


Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Spicy Fried Chicken and a Simple Answer

Don't you hate it when people at the board room make so much fuss (read: blow out of proportion) about a small complaint and miss out on the bigger ones- just because they (board room people) hate you?

Unnecessary wastage of energy, if you'd ask me. Minor adjustments in the kitchen... come on.

The other day I read the complaint log book of our new restaurant and there had been minor feedbacks on food. Unfortunately many customers got angry- not because of the food- but on the mechanics of the promo. And the board room people didn't focus on what is supposed to be the solution to that promo mess, instead on that spicy fried chicken that was a little too salty. Oh well.

Now they are asking you for the solution to the Salty Fried Chicken.

"Chef, what happened to the Fried Chicken?!"

"It drowned." -Vladimir Putin

Give me a break....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

For Pork's Sake

We are offering Braised Ginger Pork in our other menu, and I am still in that process of experimenting on a good recipe. This is the fun part of the kitchen art- you do a lot of experiments because although you have extablished standard measures, one cooking may not be the same as the next. I like doing kitchen homeworks.

It has been a long time since I've had pork in my grocery basket, and this fatty belly is something that my sister panicked at , i.e., "My god, look at all that fat!" (I shrug passively).

I was just glad to know about this Japanese way of cooking pork. They simmer the pork in sake first to remove the porky smell and some unwanted coating of fat that adhere to the surface of the meat. When the pork is cooked a little half- through, the water is thrown away. Then the pork can now be cooked with other ingredients.

I decided to make a revision of the all-time favorite adobo since my cupboard now is full of wasabi, green tea (here, the other night I was making green tea panna cotta and I scooped wasabi powder accidentally into the vanilla-cream infusion, mistaking it for green tea. I was 11:30 in the evening and I've never felt so stupid in the kitchen), black sesame seeds, etc. Here's an untitled recipe using the "adobo" triumvirate of the Japanese kitchen.

(Untitled Recipe)
200 g pork belly, sliced
1 1/2 C water + 1/4 C sake

1/4 C mirin
1/4 C sake
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sugar
1/8 C shoyu
salt and pepper to taste

1. Slice the pork into bite size pieces and throw into the water with sake.
2. Simmer until the pork turns a little opaque but not fully cooked through.
3. Drain away the sake water.
4. On the same pan, pour into the meat the mirin, sake and grated ginger. Bring to a boil.
5. Add sugar and shoyu, stir, until the mixture caramelizes.
6. Reduce heat and season with salt and pepper.
7. For contrast, I topped it off with slivers of fresh crisp green bell pepper. Can also be served with other pickled vegetables, and rice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Flores de Mayo

I've blogged a little about the May month last year and it seems that more than any other time of the year, I've developed a penchant for the month of flowers. Everything about here is lovely.

Way back in the days, young girls were on the lookout for flowers in May. Then they'd pick these flowers, put them in baskets and shower them to the Virgin after the Rosario and the cancion. They do this for the whole month, meaning 31 days, picking flowers and going to church everyday. Just another tradition left by the Spaniards, if you'd ask me.

More than the flowers, the Flores de Mayo is about prayers. The elders say that praying everyday is the way to great luck. They did not specify what kind of religion this pertains to (though I was raised Catholic), but we were just ordered to recite some prayers everyday. As a child I have honestly been a little too impatient for such. Imagine, kneeling down and saying the same things over and over again for fifteen minutes. In my grandparents' house, the seriousness of the prayer sessions have given my younger brothers a great opportunity to make funny faces, (the elders, deep in concentration, pray with their eyes closed, so they couldn't really see what's going on) and giggling during the prayer process means a good whacking on your backside afterwards. I almost always seemed to have a painful backside.

Another good thing about Flores de Mayo is that there's food after the flores. There used to be sponsors- mostly the moneyed people in the community - who'd send all sorts of biskwit, candies, sometimes pansit, and on the last day, the "richest" sponsor gave the grandest "suhol".

I see Flores de Mayo as a dying tradition now in my hometown. Not sure what happens in the other Philippine provinces, but in our place, it is no longer a grand as it used to be. There was no one to teach the Spanish songs anymore, for those old ladies who did, already passed away a long time ago. I think where ever ther are, they are still singing-

La Virgen de amores

Venid a cantar

Pungamos las flores

Al pie de su altar...

... O clemente, o pia

O dulce, o dulce

Siempre Virgen Maria!

Friday, May 15, 2009

What the Fu...

I have been very sick recently. Caused by a scene at the board room where the Foodhuntress heart has been chopped and minced and turned into a delicious pink pate. I wonder why I am still alive...

When you're sick and plastered in bed the whole day, drink lots of water, eat fresh fruits - and allow some bear fu to comfort you.

Tofu and fu- what's the difference?

Tofu is coagulated soybean, while fu is a sponge cake made of gluten that comes in different sizes, colors and shapes. A good accompaniment to clear soups, it is said to have originated in China but highly popular as well in Japan.

I love fu.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lessons From the Sugar God

This is a letter/ essay- whatever you call it- written by a Sugar God from way back in 2005. The Sugar God- as I would call him- is a good friend and has contributed so much change in my life. He in some ways influenced me (in between many fierce arguments) to see life in a different perspective and to live from various directions .Now only after four years I realize how right his views were.

“There is nothing I want for you to become, “ he had said, “than to surpass everything I have achieved. Go out there- the world is rolling itself at your feet.”

The pictures of Sidney illustrate the the Sugar God's story. For all that we see on the so-called “slavery” and “landlords” in sugarcane plantations, some individuals- who are actually there more than us mere spectators- see things in a somewhat different angle.

This piece has been circulated in argument against somebody(a blogger I think) who discriminated the masses and the elite. I think the Sugar God intends to cement two conflicting points of view.

Now you'd know that there's just so much "unsweet- ness" behind those sugar crystals we put in our food. And we wonder why we never get to taste them at all.


I come from a “ Just-above-average, income family ” My father was into planting sugar. He inherited some land from his father. My mother’s family on the other hand, was into banking.

During the first half of my existence, I lived a sheltered life. Yes, I can say that I lived a relatively comfortable life while growing up. I never had to worry whether our house was strong enough every time a storm was due to blow by, I never worried about basic necessities, nor was I made to worry about doing basic chores such as cleaning my room or washing my clothes. Only upon reaching college here in Manila, did I learn how to ride our public transportation, did I learn what a Registrar is, and what registering for a school term is all about. Before then, everything was pretty much done for us.

Don’t get me wrong. I was not entirely oblivious to the hardships around me. I spent a significant amount of time-albeit playing, nevertheless, time with the children of our farm workers. This meant going to their houses, some of which you won’t even classify as one, and listen to the fights of the parents, the gripes, and generally witness their day to day business of surviving. I also did some work in the farm (Post college) for about 2 years under the employ of my parents.

Sometime in my later years, things abruptly changed. The sugar industry because of years of corruption and poor financial practices on the part of most planters began experiencing major problems. Lady luck frowned at the same time on our family. Our house in Bacolod burned down where in we lost every thing. Then, several business ventures my family was involved in, collapsed. At the same time, three of us siblings were abroad and were in part, (Since we could not work legally) still dependent on the subsistence sent from back home. Our financial exposures were such that soon we were literally on survival mode. We had literally lost everything in a span of several years.

I came back from the United States 1997 after 9 years. I will be the first to admit that I accomplished little if nothing at all. Though, I was employed on my 2nd year till I came back. Having to experience life there though, changed me a little bit. I cannot point out exactly what this change was. Maybe how individuals were respected in a certain way? Whatever it was, this change brought me in a collision course with my parents. Looking back, I too, failed to recognize the tremendous financial pressures bearing down on them at that time.

One day, things went out of control. We went way past our boiling points and we escalated to world war 3. A lot of things were said and done, and that very day, I moved out of the house. To some, I was kicked out (Depending on whose version) and was promptly declared “Persona non grata” with a promise to campaign and warn all - relatives and non-relatives against helping me…This promise was carried out quite efficiently, since I broke culture and spoke exactly what was on my mind. Not a single relative thought I had any right.

I was forced to become a nomad for some time, transferring from one place to another. I lived in the slum areas, in farms, asking for help (Begging was more like it) whenever and wherever I could. I worked odd jobs here and there until finally, several relatives felt they had to intervene and they did. I went home after 3 years. We kissed and made up and we all became friends again and the rest is history.

I had to give you a little background of myself to show you where I was coming from. There were things you said, where I strongly feel, I should argue against. Anyway, let me give it a shot.

First, let us talk about the “Masa” of whom you “seem” to defend with a passion. My first question is: When will we ever stop blaming the “Spaniards”, and for once, take responsibility for our shortcomings? We seem to have this habit of blaming just about every thing and everybody, every time something goes wrong. We blame the Americans, the Spaniards, the corrupt system, democracy etc., etc. We never stop and just look at ourselves.

I have heard this rhetoric about our “colonial masters” since time in memorial. It is true, that people like the Spaniards left us with a lot of “bad” habits and practices, and we have suffered because we carried these bad traits through the generations but when will we just STOP, ASSESS, ADAPT and OVERCOME??? How many generations more did you plan to keep blaming Spain? 2? 5? 10 generations more before we say enough is enough?

I take offense when you imply that our people are destined to be “stupid” and “lazy” because they were made to be just that….

Reading Jawbreakers frustration that there are so many able-bodied Filipinos lazing around instead of working, and thus in a small way, be able to contribute to society, makes me want to go out and convey that very message and challenge these very people to do just that because they are certainly capable of much, much more.

On the other hand, reading your response offends me deeply, you are in effect writing off the common tao as “No good”, incapable of improving, branding them as hopeless, and worse, insult them by asking people to pity them? Because of certain factors like the Spaniards… etc! Where is the self-respect we are trying to teach here?

You were just short of predicting that their children’s children are already bound to be poor and thus incapable of anything else because of excuse number 1, 2, 3, 4…. Man, certainly, this is not the message I’d want to convey. You have just given them a blanket excuse not to do well. Is it just my misunderstanding of your message? Or you really intend it to be this way?

Elite – I can feel your contempt and disgust when you address this group. I also felt this contempt spill over to what we would understand today as the “Middle class”. In a sense you were kind of mocking Jawbreaker’s notion of him being in this group, since he now capable of paying taxes. To sum this part up, you even posed this question: “Trabaho ka ng Trabaho – yumaman ka na ba?” Excuse me for asking, but isn’t Jawbreaker’s position of having a steady job, a million times better than doing nothing at all? What are you trying to teach? If you won’t get filthy rich might as well sit and scratch your stomach? In essence, you ridicule the efforts of the likes of Jawbreaker and his taxpaying abilities and would rather condone the act of doing nothing because to you, the massa is destined to be unproductive? –

Again, what kind of values do you want our brothers and sisters to learn?

Hey, while I’m at it, forgive me for mentioning this… Please don’t look with contempt at people who dress-up better than some. It may be a form of expression or pride. It is in no way elitist. It may encourage people to strive for more… If you will in some stroke of luck – be in power in the near future…just promise me, you won’t make everybody wear gray-like-pajamas as some sort of national outfit just so there won’t be any class distinction. I still have to see a socialist or a communist society that has no elites.

Before I continue, (Has no bearing) let me ask you one thing. I am just curious. Is it wrong for people to accumulate wealth thru hard work? If not, let us say you were an exceptional businessman and you made it rich? What will be your immediate goal? Is it to pass on to your children the fruits of what you have labored so hard for? If again true, should your children’s generation despise your children for inheriting such wealth? - Unless, of course you believe that whatever you accumulate during your lifetime should be returned to the state upon your death…

I agree with you that education is our biggest hope, if not our only way of advancing ourselves. I don’t agree though that government made it hard for our people to get educated as you said. I also don’t agree that the reason why there are a lot of illiterates is because of economic reasons. It is just not so… I have lived inside shanty communities (squatters) and money does circulate.

In every society, there are the extreme rich and the extreme poor. Of course, I know what you are talking about when you say the kind of poor who are spread-out on our 7100 islands. C’mon, before, we think about them, let us first, get those that can go to school – into school! If we keep dwelling about our poorest –we will never move forward. The use of being poor is such an over used excuse already.

If you want proof to what I am saying, - easy! just ask your friendly taxi-driver, basurero, your house hold help, your taho guy, your fisherman, whoever. Just pose this question: “kahirapan ba ang dahilan kung bakit ang daming bata hindi nag-a-aral?” *Is poverty the reason why many children do not go to school? – I assure you, you will get a quick response to the contrary. They will even laugh at the notion that people are still using poverty as a reason for not sending their child to school. Now, I am not denying the fact that there are really people who are the poorest of the poor. Every country has these and this has to be addressed as a separate issue and be treated in a special manner.

Taxes - I am sure deep inside you, you know that this should be our stately obligation to our country. We should pay our taxes and thus demand better governance. Let us not discuss where our taxes go for the moment. I agree with you that we should hunt down those corrupt officials who pocket the money. Anyway, I also think that it is both your obligation and mine to teach the value of paying taxes to all our brothers and sisters. To do the opposite is irresponsible and should be considered an act of treason. We should instill to the people that paying taxes is a good thing. You don’t need to give to charities or what not, unless, it is really needed (extra action) Just paying the right taxes, you would have done your share as a Filipino. It is something to be proud of.

I understand your distress when Jawbreaker seemed to vent his ire and target those non-tax payers, and those able-bodied, non-productive persons. You even try to re-direct these frustrations at those corrupt officials and what have you… Have we not been doing this for the longest time?

Is it not time that we start the change within ourselves and the rest will follow.

We just need to raise our social consciousness to levels we have never been to before and that can only come from within us. It is really irritating to see these non-productive persons be the first to demand this and that but they have no concept of what contribution is all about.

Yes, you talked about the farmers…I guess, I know about them too. Of course, they contribute a lot. To be commended are some of them that have placed value on getting their children to school. They understand that farming will get them only so far. Now, these children are successful and are bringing out their families from poverty.

There are those that ascribe to your thinking. All they want to do is to dwell on what should have been instead of just buckling down and planning wisely their efforts. They become poorer and poorer because they are made to believe that they are capable of nothing more. In the end they are made to believe that the gun is the only way…. old story. Old trick – I should say….

By the way, there is a saying out in the countryside that nobody dies of hunger. You just need to plant and reap the benefits. Taking hunger out of the equation, they just need to ensure that their children go to school.

It is really hard work; we are lucky that my grandfather thought of putting up a school when he was alive.

I think a lot about the children who come from other farms to go to school in our place. Imagine, what they have to go through. They have to pass several farms before they could reach ours. The temptation of being side tracked with play is big. Then I see a few of these parents, day-in, day-out bringing their children to school and picking them up. They ensure that their children go in and study. Now, I hear these very children I have observed before are now successful with stable jobs here in Manila and a few outside of the country. Tell me if these were the very people you have written off as “No-chance” because of being “Poor”.

Ideology – No problem, I respect whatever ideology you adhere to. In the countryside the usual rhetoric’s being peddled is this: Said in a sympathetic coupled with deep empathy – As if they are defending the oppressed – but the end result is that you ask the people to fight for you.

“To all the people, do not blame yourself if you are poor because the landlords made you so. All this land is actually yours. (To cut it short) – Therefore you should fight (Kill) for it.”

No difference with what you are trying to say: “You people (massa) will always amount to nothing because of reasons no.1, 2, 3, 4, - don’t forget the “Spaniards”. It is not your fault that you are stupid and lazy. Here, you are only good to hold a gun. Let’s do a revolution…”

What is sad here is – you actually, are willing to spill blood from the Filipino people just to advance your ideology? – What is the matter with you???

I cannot believe. I know you are such a learned man with the way you wrote your reaction but then, is “Revolution” the only answer you can come up with because other solutions seemed so much work? Shortcut?

You are of the intellect group. Who do you think will be the “Elite” if let us say your goals of a revolution are achieved? And who will still be the “Massa”?

True stories from the countryside:

- What is poor? To me, poor was when we were so hungry without any money and it was late at night. We got some stones from the clean portion of the sea wall. We then placed them in a can and boiled water over it. This was enough to calm our stomachs for a couple of hours. The reason for the stones was for our soup to have a taste of the sea.

- 10 people were given land as a trial run for land reform. Just after 8 mos. There were only 2 big owners left standing. The rest just sub-leased their share for easy money and soon enough were back into complaining about how life was hard.

- Parents of farmers encourage their children to work in the fields for low pay because the money was paid weekly sometimes daily. (Quick return)

- Parents of farmers expect their children to work for them. Treating their children as their retirement package. That is why the more children the merrier.

- Parents more often than not are the first to claim the wages of the children. Often times wasting this away by drinking at night. (Both male and female)

- Etc. etc. more if you want to hear more.

The Sugar God

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Making of Iron Chefs Starts with.... Fun!

I have every reason to love my job. Recently I have been invited to "judge" a fun- filled activity by Congo Grille Bar and Resturant in Alabang. I couldn't say no, specially since everybody in this establishment is extremely nice to me.

Congo Grille is one of the restaurants in Manila that offers exceptional Filipino fare. I swear, you couldn't find anywhere anything comparable. At random visits I have never been disappointed.

Now this amazing restaurant held its "Jr. Chef Cooking Activity". Kids were invited to that opportunity to create their own pizza and barbecue.

Beat that. These youngsters, all toqued-up, are having the time of their lives.

First, you put the sauce on to the crust...

Next, you place the toppings of your choice...

Standing tall. She must be thinking, "One day I'll make it to the Kitchen Stadium..." :) But for now, my coach is a... a clown-slash-magician.

Ready to bake!

Hands up when you're done!

Me and the junior chefs. I think they look better with the toque than me :)

- pizza!

Barbecuing 101. Mark won in the barbecue category. This kid knows color, proportion, flavor, juicy-ness. Among the others, he stood out- his barbecue looked like it was done by a pro.

You are under the tutelage of the exec...

Barbecue galore.

Class photo.

With a wonderful brood of four. I like these kids.
Hmmm.... FIN?
Good afternoon!