LONDON – Filipino cuisine met fine dining during a recent fundraiser in the United Kingdom’s capital.
British-born Pinoy chef Rex De Guzman collaborated with Shooters Hill Sixth Form College early this month to bring a ‘Taste of the Philippines’ to its City View Restaurant, in aid of the Demelza Hospice.
The event was attended by 40 members of the public who were treated to eight courses inspired by food which De Guzman came across during a three-month tour of the Philippines earlier this year.
The 23-year-old, himself an alumnus of Shooters Hill College, led a team of ten chefs – three that he brought in, alongside seven students.
The menu was:
Banaue – Arroz Caldo Arancini,
Cebu – Sinigang Na Hipon,
Vigan – Vigan Longanisa,
Dagupan – Bagoong and Green Mango,
Bicol – Pinangat,
Bacolod – Quail Inasal,
Pampanga – Chef Claude Tayag’s Crispy Pork Adobo,
Baguio – Halo-Halo,
Davao – Coffee and Chocolate.
“The event was a great success. It went very smoothly and the general feedback was that the guests were very impressed with the food and the variety of flavours I produced,” De Guzman said.
“This gives an opportunity for students and customers to experience something completely new in aid of a fantastic charity,” he added.
“I draw from much of my training and experience with European food and technique to present dishes in a way that is slightly adjusted to the British palette.
“The most important thing is obtaining that Filipino flavour for whatever dish I attempt to serve and then finding a balance,” De Guzman explained.
In total, the event raised £1,400 for the Demelza Hospice, which provides care and support to children and parents in Kent, East Sussex and South East London.
“It was a huge success. We raised £1,400 for Demelza which is an amazing feat,” said Sarah Wells, the Curriculum Leader for Hospitality and Catering at Shooters Hill College.
“The food looked amazing. Rex worked tirelessly to achieve perfection and reflect the culture of the Philippines in a fine dining menu. The students really benefited from working with chefs from the hospitality and catering industry, at a much quicker pace than they are used to,” she added.
Promoting Filipino food
‘The Taste of the Philippines’ event is the second time De Guzman has held a fundraising dinner at Shooters Hill College, themed around Pinoy cuisine and culture.
De Guzman has been working in London as a chef for five years, and continues to promote Filipino flavours through things like pop-up restaurants, private dining and catering events.
“Filipino food is just as deserving as any other Asian country to have its cuisine recognized because of how diverse and unique it is. Every cuisine has a history and the Philippines has one of the most complex histories.
“We just need the right people to promote it and show off its potential in different ways. It will take different approaches to contribute to making Filipino food more known,” De Guzman added.
The British-Filipino chef currently develops and creates food for MUNI Coffee located in Kensington, London, which sells Filipino coffee along with a fusion of Filipino-European pastries and delicacies.
He also says he is cooking up something new for 2017.