On its fourth year, the Asian Culinary Exchange, a conference that brings together chefs and various food personalities in the region, will be focusing its attention on the different aspects of Filipino cuisine. In previous years, the talks revolved around the F&B industry of Asia.
One of the highlights of this year’s event is a long overdue tribute to the unsung heroes of Filipino cuisine, whose contributions to the Filipino culinary narrative people keep coming back to until now. They are scholar and food critic Doreen Fernandez, inventor of the banana ketchup Maria Orosa, and the restaurateur, cooking show host and cook book author Nora Daza. The writer, book designer and champion of Cavite’s culinary traditions Ige Ramos will be talking about Orosa; Reena Gamboa, foodie and daughter of the “Tikim” author’s sister in law, will talk about Fernandez; and Nina Daza Puyat will pay tribute to her mother Nora.
Founded by cook book author Angelo Comsti (“Also Filipino,” “From Our Table to Yours”) in 2018, the Asian Culinary Exchange (ACE) started as a two-day event with live panel discussions on the first, and a series of chef collaborations on the second. It was built not only to foster good relations and exchange ideas with other chefs in the Asian region, but also to introduce them to the Filipino culture and culinary traditions. In between the talks are market visits and get-togethers that aim to introduce visiting chefs to local delicacies.
The first two years of ACE had big-name chefs such as Tonn Tassanakajohn (Thailand), Vicky Cheng and Peggy Chan (HK), and Kirk Westaway, Sun Kim, and Rishi Naleendra (Singapore) gracing the affair. Last year, because of the pandemic, it took on a TV format with Michelin-starred chefs such as Julien Royer of Odette and Tristin Farmer of Zen (both from Singapore) joining the conversation.
This 2021, with strict travel restrictions still in effect, ACE goes digital and takes a different direction with the theme “Homecoming.”
“Whereas before we discussed what’s going on in the food scene of our neighboring countries as well as that of ours, this year we focus solely on our own, from the lens of the past, the present and the future,” says Comsti. “We will also engage with our fellow Filipinos abroad, specifically from the US, Europe and Australia, and ask them about the challenges of promoting our food abroad.”
Young emerging talents in the Philippines meanwhile will discuss the importance of updating our traditional dishes. “Lastly, we turn to our beloved celebrity chefs to find out what their dreams for Filipino cuisine are,” adds Comsti. These are Margarita Forés, Jordy Navarra, Claude Tayag and Myke “Tatung” Sarthou.
The event will be aired via the YouTube and Facebook channels of the Asia Society Philippines on September 30, Thursday, starting at 1:00 to 5:30 PM.