The Filipino Takeover with Food: Take 1 of 2

When Neil Gaiman first toured the Philippines, I gave him his first swig of calamansi juice. Seeing the effect it had on him and his fandom, I theorized that Filipinos will slowly but surely take over the world with food.

My next chance to prove this came in the form of the AyalaMall event, Top Chefs in Manila. Top Chef season 2 champion, Ilan Hall, and season 4 favorite Dale Talde gave cooking demos at different malls around Metro Manila and got a little R&R in Boracay.


I had missed their first two demos days due to schedule conflicts, and was about to accept the fact that I might not be able to see them in action. Then one of the organizer’s invited me to their send-off, so I knew I had to show up for at least one demo. I trekked all the way to Alabang Town Center to see them in action, and was not disappointed.

The cooking demo was set up ala Iron Chef more than Top Chef, with a theme ingredient that the chefs were free to work around. Dale Talde made a beef barbecue sauce out of soy sauce, rock candy, and dried mango and served it up with a hearty salad and a spin on the halo-halo. llan Hall made beef with local chili leaves and tamarind, served up with a salad and fried bay leaves for dessert.


I was able to ask them during the open forum if I could get a copy of their recipes, but they said that I’d have to wait until the cookbook of their tours come out.

The food smelled great, but since I was in the general admission area, I wasn’t able to taste it. Arg!

How were they? As if the mouth-watering testimony didn’t say enough? They were both easy to talk to, had a keen eye for ingredients, and Ilan is as playful in real life as he was on the show.

I was more disappointed in the audience that afternoon, but must be because of my age. I’m still young and have enough lungs to cheer the chefs on, and in my head they weren’t just chefs, they were reality TV stars. An “OHMYGODILAAAAAN” would be in order.

But being the twenty-something surrounded by the adult housewives and oldbies, I felt a little silly at whooping through key parts of the show. It didn’t help that I was next to Ye Olde Miss Live-DVD commentary for the Hearing Impaired.

“Yeah you are too young for that audience,” My Mum mused when I told her about it. “But you know? They need types like you.”

Funny enough, all that energy in the demo, didn’t quite come out when I attended their send-off…

To be continued!