By Alma F. Argayoso | PTIC-Sydney

23 February 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

Part 1

LOCAL and international food connoisseurs will get to taste and discover Filipino cuisine as Australia’s iconic food and wine festival brings the spotlight on Filipino cuisine at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) happening from March 9 to 13, 2019.

In a series of events that will feature and celebrate Filipino cuisine, top chefs from Manila, New York and Melbourne will serve Filipino food and also conduct masterclasses during the MFWF. 

Chefs Jordy Navarra, Nicole Ponseca and Yasmin Newman will prepare a one-off “Barrio” dinner series with Ross Magnaye, head chef of Rice Paper Sister Restaurant on March 12 and 13, 2019. This dining series is part of the Global Dining Series of MFWF.

Navarra runs Toyo Eatery in Manila, crowned with the Miele One to Watch Award 2018 among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Ponseca is behind New York City’s Maharlika and Jeepney, while local food and travel writer Newman is the author of the critically acclaimed cookbook 7,000 Islands: Cherished Recipes and Stories from the Philippines.

These three global chefs will join Magnaye to tell the story of their shared heritage, culinary journeys and advocacy for the cuisine they love the most—Filipino.

Drawing on their Filipino heritage, these gourmands will cocreate an exclusive Barrio menu, providing the entrée for MFWF visitors to immerse themselves in the Philippines’s rich culinary heritage.

The House of Food and Wine, the festival’s premium drinking and dining destination, will also host a program of activities, including its signature MasterClass with Jordy Navarra and Nicole Ponseca, and John Rivera in the lineup on Sunday, March 10, while Rice Paper Sister will help showcase some sizzling Asian Street Food, Filipino style on Saturday, March 9.

A Melbourne-based group of Filipino female entrepreneurs—The Entrée.Pinays—is leading the charge in creating broad awareness, appreciation and enhanced investment in Filipino culinary arts in Australia.  “Entrée” is the first course of the meal in Australian culture and “Pinay” refers to the Tagalog word for Filipino girl or woman.  Very apropos since each of the members are food-loving, enterprising Filipinas.

Fides Mae Santos-Arguelles, the cofounder, and sales and marketing director of Entrée.Pinays, said they aim to combat the challenges and negative biases facing Filipino cuisine, shed light on the true value of Filipino cuisine, build a better platform upon which to celebrate and elevate the Filipino food experience, and gather those working tirelessly to do the same. 

It is for this reason that they approached the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Sydney (PTIC-Sydney) to explore ways to partner with the Philippine government in promoting Filipino food and culture via creative collaboration, community experiences and stories.

I was excited to hear about the initiatives of the Entrée.Pinays as it has always been the thrust of the Philippine government to mainstream Filipino cuisine.

Food diplomacy, as I call it, is part of our work program and our trade office would be more than happy to partner with Entrée.Pinays and other relevant stakeholders to promote a better appreciation of Filipino cuisine, and commercially ensure that more Filipino food items and ingredients become available in the Australian market.

To be continued