The fourth edition of the Department of Tourism-National Capital Region’s (DOT-NCR) Leadership Excellence Series 2021: A 360-degree Virtual Experience recently focused on the signature training course ‘Kulinarya’ wherein a panel of culinary masters provided insights on culinary tourism, heritage cuisines, and best practices in the new normal.
Godfrey Laforteza, executive chef at Casa Buenas, emphasized the concept of food triggered by memory, influences of Filipino-Spanish culture, and home cooking that can take people into an unforgettable experience as they eat.
Laforteza, who advised not to be scared, knows the need to talk about financials, business plans, and budget. He pointed out that the chefs, particularly the young ones, just have to do it, be on fire, and be happy.
JP Anglo, owner and chef at Sarsa Kitchen+ Bar, KafeBatwan, and Liberation Shawarma, on the other hand, spoke about the changes that needed to be made in his kitchen as he rode the wave of the lockdown.
Anglo narrated the way he operated during the lockdown: one day at a time, one dish at a time. “You just got to do this,” he related as the end goal is to get the food to the customer.
Gabby Prats, board director at Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines, for his part, described Filipino cuisine as a melting pot of various influences with its uniqueness from the “Filipino touch” and underscored it is a cuisine that is underrated and deserves to be on the world map.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Master Assessor and Trainer also added: “The new normal should not only refer to the conditions where we are at as it should be a figurative speech for changes we should apply even after the pandemic.”
Wrapping up the two-hour hybrid online activity, Woodrow Maquiling Jr., regional director at DOT-National Capital Region, mentioned that the good food not just fills the tummy but it somehow nourishes and touches the soul.
Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, DOT secretary, gave her affirmation on highlighting Filipino cuisine as an essential way to reboot the tourism industry.
Puyat said there is great potential in the field of culinary tourism as the nation is blessed with a rich diversity of regional cuisine.
She defined the hospitality 2.0 as “helping frontliners and stakeholders understand better the needs of tourists in today’s tourism landscape.”
Those who still want to catch the virtual learning can still watch it on demand at DOT-NCR’s Facebook page @TourismMNL and on YouTube at Tourism MNL, or download the entire LES program via Spotify, Apple podcast, and Google cast.