‘New Filipino Kitchen’ Defines Authentic Filipino Cuisine and Traditions

Momar G. Visaya

 

This is an excerpt from an article originally published in the Asian Journal.

 

 “I would like for the Filipino food movement to catch on in other parts of the world,” said Filipina expatriate Jacqueline Chio-Lauri, editor of The New Filipino Kitchen, when asked what her dream is for Filipino cuisine in the global market.

 

What better way to do that than by coming up with an anthology of essays from expat Filipino chefs, home cooks and writers.

 

 The New Filipino Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Around the Globe is a collection of 30 recipes and stories from expat Filipinos, all of whom have taken their favorite dishes with them, preserving their food memories and, if necessary, tweaking their recipes to work in a new environment or, in the case of some chefs, a more modern context.

 

More than just a cookbook, The New Filipino Kitchen, through the personal stories of the contributors, provides a more nuanced and deeper understanding of Philippine history, culture and tradition.

 

Lauri now lives in the United Kingdom, her seventh country of residence. Prior to Manchester, she also lived in Croatia, Portugal and, before her move to the U.K., she lived in Norway, where she said two chefs of Filipino descent excel in the culinary industry. (Christian Andre Pettersen, one of the book’s contributors, 2018 Bocuse d’Or champion, and Sushi Master Roger Asakil Joya, chef and co-owner of a Michelin-starred restaurant in Stavanger, Norway).

 

She laments the fact that there is not one Filipino eatery, let alone restaurant, in the entire Greater Manchester area. Well, the same could be said of her previous homes like Norway, where everywhere you turn, you see a Filipino and yet, not one Filipino restaurant.

 

 

 “Having lived in many places with no Filipino food presence, I long for our cuisine to be more accessible globally,” she said.

 

Lauri was already working on a similar type of book, but instead of a collection from different authors, it was just by her and the book she was writing was intended just for her family and relatives.

 

“While writing it, there was this voice in my head that wouldn’t let up.  “What have you done for your motherland?” it nagged. And so, I decided to go broader and round up kababayans around the world,” she shared.

 

Through the book, she wanted to respond to one question she was often asked and struggled to answer: “What is Filipino food?”

 

“No short explanation really did it justice, because as you know, most of the time, food is not just about food,” she added. “The narratives behind each dish put the food into context.”

 

Some of these narratives are now part of this tome of Filipino stories and recipes around the world that evoke memories, epiphanies and nostalgia.

 

 

Among the famous names who contributed their stories are White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford, Bocuse d’Or Norway winnerChristian André Pettersen, 2015 MasterChef New Zealand runner-upLeo Fernandez, five-time Palanca Award winner and poet Francis Macansantos, and the “Food Buddha”Rodelio Aglibot, making the book a multifaceted, nuanced introduction to the world of Filipino food and food culture.

 

The New Filipino Kitchen is an engrossing, page-turner of a cookbook. If you can even call it a cookbook, it’s more of a short-story collection with delicious, addictive recipes,” said Brian McGinn, Emmy-nominated director and executive producer of Chef’s Table. “You can find everything that makes food so special: the connection between family and the dinner table, tradition and innovation, and preserving cultural identity in a world that’s increasingly homogenized. It makes me hungry.”

 

Editing and writing the stories were among the toughest parts in the process, according to her, since there are a few as-told-to pieces in the book and she had a specific type of story format in mind. The second toughest part was finding a publisher.

 

“It took, to be precise, two years and eight months from the time I started the project to the time the book was released,” she shared.

 

This is an excerpt from an article originally published in the Asian Journal.

 

 

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