Renzelle Ann Palma | Jun 26, 2013
Hosted by the father and son tandem of Chef Gene and Chef Gino Gonzales, the chefs embark on adventures in different parts of the Philippines in search of local cuisine that is all too familiar to the native tongue.
They are also invited by famous local celebrities in each respective cities and towns to their ancestral homes. Here, we get to see houses that are family heirlooms and the antiquity traditionally Filipino. In return, Chef Gene and Chef Gino prepare a sumptuous feast to the delight of the guest hosts.
Pampanga is the first stop of Chefscapades. A natural choice since the province is known for its delicious Kapampangan dishes. The town is also the origin of well loved viands such as SISIG, BETUTE, BIRINGHE and the hometown desserts such as HALO-HALO and the SAN NICOLAS COOKIES.
The team went around the cities of San Fernando, Angeles and to the quaint town of Mexico in search of the true Pampango cuisine. The chefs gamely shopped around the San Fernando Public Market and interacted with the locals. In Angeles, we had the chance to mingle with the Aetas, the indigenous people of Pampanga, who sell their crops, such as Sweet Potatoes, Luyang Barrio, Ube, Organic Papaya and mountain grown bananas that are truly sweet to the taste.
Chef Claude Tayag and his family are featured as one of the guests for the Pampanga leg of the show. He generously welcomed Chefscapades to his home and showed us around his “BALE DUTUNG”, the house made from wood. This local celebrity is a renowned chef, traveler, author and gourmand whose advocacy is to promote Filipino cuisine. Claude’s Bale Dutung is also a sought after reservation-only restaurant that accommodates limited number of food enthusiasts at a given time.
Local chef and revered Mexicano Lilian Borromeo also graciously welcomed us to her ancestral home. Her house is a mix of the traditional and the familiar. If you grew up in a province waking up to the smell of breakfast being prepared by your lola , that’s exactly how it feels to be in her home. She gave us a brief history of how the San Nicolas cookies came to be and showed us the antique molds that were passed on to her from generations past. Atsing Lilian, as she is fondly called, is distantly related to Chef Gene and Chef Gino. It was a nice surprise to find out that the chefs actually has Kapampangan blood in them, thus, making this episode of Chefscapades fittingly remarkable.
It was a delight to roam around the province of Pampanga with the Chefscapades team. We discovered a bit of Kapampangan history, their food in its finest and prepared directly by the masters.