MANILA – Expect the humble carinderia to be in the spotlight this year.
“Buhay Carinderia,” a project aimed at showcasing the country’s local eateries, was introduced to members of the media on Wednesday.
Originally called “Carinderia Fiesta,” the event was conceptualized by Linda Legaspi of Marylindbert International.
It will be supported for the first time by the Department of Tourism and its attached agency, the Tourism Promotions Board.
Celebrity blogger and restaurateur Erwan Heussaff, known for his advocacy of promoting Filipino cuisine, has also been tapped as the project’s content creator.
“I was surprised that they contacted me, but I was super happy as well,” Heussaff, known to many as the husband of actress Anne Curtis, told reporters.
“We’ll be doing a series of videos featuring the best, and maybe some of the least known carinderias in the country… and we can give them the attention they truly deserve,” added the blogger, whose YouTube videos boast of a combined 28 million views as of writing.
Legaspi, for her part, explained why they invited Heussaff to be part of “Buhay Carinderia.”
“I follow him, I watch his videos… Not only me, but my whole family,” she admitted. “We chose him because his passion is really there. It’s very difficult to get someone like him, that he really likes to learn more about Filipino food.”
Heussaff went on to share his thoughts about the country’s cuisine, noting that Filipino food has been slowly getting the attention of the international community.
All that is needed, he said, is an extra push.
“I think it’s happening now,” he said, when asked when he thinks Filipino food will be known internationally. “There are big events where international chefs come to the Philippines to try some of the local food, and Filipino chefs are now being recognized outside via collaboration dinners with renowned restaurants around the world.”
“And more and more tourists are coming to the Philippines,” he continued. “We just need to be able to show them where these places are through digital, online platforms… We have to help people to know where to go. I think they’re just looking for information.”
There is no final schedule yet for “Buhay Carinderia,” which will scour the Philippines in search for the best eateries.
Legaspi revealed, however, that the project will kick off in the north and will have “about four different modules.”
Events range from mentoring activities for home cooks to a search for the “Filipino millennial tourism ambassador.”
“The big event is starting in Vigan in the north. Then we have Naga, Bicol, and Pampanga. We go from one place to another,” she said. “We also have Cebu and Mindanao.”
Heussaff hopes that they will be able to give more exposure to the cuisine of Mindanao this year as he admitted that he does not know much about it himself. “I feel like everyone in the country does not have enough access [to what they have]… I hope 2018 is the year that we learn more from them.”