I mentioned awhile back that there was some awesome event happening in Waterfront. I had the rare opportunity to be present in the first day of the International Culinary Congress 2010 and an even rarer opportunity to be able to have a healthy discussion (together with the other media people) with the president of the Food and Beverage Managers’ Association of Singapore: Cheong Hai Po
Mr. Cheong was very kind and accommodating when it came to answering the questions of the media. There was so much to learn about Culinary arts and businesses but I’m just going to share some of the highlights of his sharing.
Mr. Cheong mentioned that “you cannot put procedures and policies in food” and “you cannot handcuff the chef”. I think this is a point he is referring to in opening the creativity of students and people in culinary field. Many of the chefs are stuck on doing the usual food and have enclosed their minds in cookbooks and original recipes and then often fusing them with other recipes. Mr. Cheong said that people should open their minds to creativity and possibilities of new discoveries.
Culinary fusions are what Mr. Cheong called “trendy restaurants”. When students were asked to come up with their own restaurants majority of them answered they wanted to fuse this cuisine with this cuisine. Mr. Cheong said this is only for trendy restaurants and do not do well for a very long time. They will only be as good as two years or so before moving on to something new.
Everyone should be encouraged to create something new and exciting instead of something just merely trending.
Hospital to Hotel
The hospitals are now going in a very interesting trend. They are now becoming very hotel like and you can definitely observe this in the set up of the rooms with a class touch from the base to the ceiling. Some hospitals instead of calling the people in charge of the food as dietary officer are now calling them Food and Beverage Officers. I guess this is also in line with their Medical tourism promotion. Hopefully someday hospital food will actually be something to look forward to.
A word for the chefs of the Philippines
Mr. Cheong mentioned that Filipino Chefs should be able to expose themselves more (and what other way than to attend events like the ICCON) so that they can bring out the entrepreneurship within them. There are still so many things Pinoy Chefs can discover. Probably a nice visit to Singapore can give Pinoys a good luck of a mix of cultures in one country.
Cebuannos are passionate people and you can see it in everyone who love to eat. Whether it be Sinulog where street food is the craze, or the December to January fiestas and dinner gatherings happen, or just those days when you want to check out those awesome restaurants, one thing holds true: WE LOVE FOOD.
Hopefully someday we can still grow and improve in the culinary field and reach exemplary international standards such as our Cebu Lechon.
One day the world will know all our culinary goodness as to quote Gov. Gwen: “from our Lechon to Chicharon”