11:49:00 PM

The Cookery Place, BGC, 12 March 2016 ~ Thank you so much B'ley and Seanta for your kind invitation on the successful launch of Food Crew PH happened about a week ago. Never thought I would see you both that day, but glad I did! 

I have heard so many times that we (Philippines) are growing rapidly in terms of internet users. Statistics gathered in 2015 shows that there are about 44% active online users and 40% out of the 100M population are on social media. These numbers simply proves how digital media can be a powerful tool of communication; People nowadays tend to be very creative where they share and exchange information on several channels which allowed food brands and public relations agencies acquire reputable online food influencers to work with. That's how Food Crew PH started! 

Guest Speaker Chef Claude Tayag talked about the Philippine Culinary History and Trend during the event. Founders B'ley R. Villones and Seanta P. Reyes also shared their objective on building a community of Digital Food Influencers plus the ultimate goal of creating Food Network PH, an online food platform that aims to bring Filipino food lovers together in supporting the Philippine food industry through digital social media. It will eventually be composed of Food Buzz which would talk about food news and events; Food Recipes to act as a repository of user-generated recipes and Food Places that will store restaurant directory, menu and reviews; Food Market will do e-commerce then Food 7107 will support food tourism in the Philippines. With all of these plans in the pipeline, it’s going to be an exciting ride for everyone!

Chef Claude is a well-established artist, painter, sculptor, writer and a hungry chef. He's a Food Columnist in Philippine Star’s, Turo-turo. He's the author of Food Tour, co-author of Linamnam with his wife Mary-anne and co-author and food stylist for Kulinarya. He owns Bale Dutung, a by-reservation-only restaurant in Angeles City and recently opened Downtown 1956 Café, also located on his hometown. He has been written about in The Inquirer as the Most Influential Foodie in the country. More power Chef and may you continue inspire others that Filipino iconic dishes are deem endless! 

We had Pakbet / Pinakbet over lunch, cooked by the Chefs, (pronounced pak-butt) by Ilocanos and it's said the be their most popular contribution to Philippine cuisine.

 Ilocano tradition dictates how veggies are cut and the manner of cooking, placed in a palayok or earthenware pot in layers, doused with bagoong isda (salt-fermented anchovies), covered and steamed in its own juices. The pot is given an occasional shake. After all, its original name comes from pinakkebet, literally meaning “to cook till wrinkled, shrunken”. More often than not, the poor vegetables, small as they are, are all dull brown in color and wilted beyond recognition (much like ratatouille, perhaps?). If the gods are kind, chicharon (pork rind) or bagnet (lechon kawali or crispy pork belly) may be added and we had slices of Lechon Belly from Manila Belly... YUMMY!  

After the cooking demo, we were grouped and asked to do food plating... The plates were provided by Boqueria Lifestyle Market; It's so true that just have to pick the right plate to make the colors of the food (really) pop! Chef Claude Tayag's (being a Filipino cuisine advocate, the dish was made of fresh vegetables, pink tasty alamang and Knorr shrimp cubes to enhance flavor) Pinakbet and Manila Belly's Spicy Lechon Belly ~ a perfect combo indeed! 

Imagine this with Seafood Aligue Fried Rice!!! I had it *winks*

We also went home with gift bags containing Knorr Cubes, Knorr Sinigang Mixes, Knorr Meal Makers and Knorr Liquid Seasoning; Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise and Sandwich Spreads; Selecta Ice Creams; Quaker Good Start; Nestle All Purpose Cream; Eden Cheese and Vita Coco and removed a few items in my grocery list that weekend! 

Wish you a very busy and successful 2016 ahead...

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