When I started grade school in Bulacan, I got exposed to both Central Luzon and Visayan cooking from my paternal grandparents who are natives of Samar in Central Philippines. In Visayas (central part of the country) the diet is mostly based on agricultural products and seafood. The dishes have strong Spanish and Chinese influence to it. In Luzon (or northern part of the country) the diet is mostly based on livestock, vegetables and root crops.
I started my formal training in the kitchen in 1998 when I took up Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Administration at the University of the Philippines (U.P.) in Diliman, Quezon City. I continued my training both in the restaurant and hotel aspects of my course at Makati Shangri-La Hotel where I trained for hospitality sales and became a foodservice and kitchen apprentice at the French restaurant, Cheval Blanc a year before I graduated from college. This restaurant is now named Red.
I worked in hotel sales and loyalty program for Intercontinental Hotels Group in Makati, the business capital of the Philippines. -But something "behind food service" was calling me so I continued my culinary adventures and refined my skills in the kitchen and worked at an Asian restaurant in Greenbelt Makati. I became a university instructor at Universidad de Zamboanga in 2005, finished Masters in Business Administration at Ateneo de Zamboanga Graduate School in 2008 and became the Program Chairman for Hotel and Restaurant Management of the university. This time I got exposed to the specialties in Mindanao (Southern Philippines.) The diet in Mindanao is mostly based on seafood. The dishes have strong Islamic influence to it.
My job enabled me to travel to different provinces and cities in the Philippines, giving me the opportunity to learn about the myriad of cooking methods and exotic fare that compose the different regional cuisines from all over the country. At the same time, I served as an assessor for the Commission on Higher Education Regional Quality Assessment Team for schools offering Hotel and Restaurant Management program in Zamboanga Region. I also contributed articles to the Lifestyle section of the local newspaper, Zamboanga Times while working at the university.
My husband and I travel to different countries and every destination is a gastronomic delight for me. Our international travels widen my knowledge of food and its preparation. Nothing compares to tasting an authentic dish right from the place where it originated from!
I believe that cooking is one thing, but having a full grasp of the what's, why's and how-to's of a particular dish is another thing. It gives you a better understanding and appreciation of different cuisines and culture. -And that is the very reason why this blog, Filipino Food Aficionado was created.
From my new home in Florida this blogsite serves as a platform for me to share my enthusiasm and passion for Filipino food with my new countrymen and all Filipino food lovers around the world.