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THE FILIPINO Food Month celebration in Davao was capped over the weekend with a showcase of heirloom dishes from Mindanao’s different indigenous groups who have built communities in the region.
“Heirloom dishes often tell us a lot about a place’s history, resources, and identity,” Tourism Davao Region Director Tanya Rabat-Tan said during Friday’s opening ceremony for a series of cooking demonstrations at the Ayala Abreeza Mall in Davao City.
The region is composed of the provinces of Davao Oriental, Occidental, De Oro, Norte, and Sur, and the independent city of Davao.
“The beauty of drawing tourists to our destinations with food is that we can empower our communities in becoming guardians of our cultural heritage,” she said.
First under the spotlight were the B’laans of Davao Occidental, who traditionally use bamboo as cooking vessel for spiced chicken or upland rice wrapped in banana leaves.
The Maranao chicken dish Piaparan A Manok was also featured on the first day, with the Institute of International Culinary and Hospitality Entrepreneurship (ICHEF) presenting the plate.
On Day 2, the heirloom dishes featured were those from the Kagan of Davao Oriental and the Mansaka of Davao de Oro.
On the third day, chef Ed Tuazon, who used to be the executive chef of Marco Polo Davao and one of the trainers at ICHEF, made dishes that aim to present Davao cuisine “beyond borders.”
Ms. Rabat-Tan said the Philippine food month celebration every April is also an opportunity for engaging “agricultural communities — from farmers to fisher folk — in creating opportunities and livelihood, especially in our rural destinations.”
DUSIT DAVAOIn mid-April, a dozen of the country’s top chefs gathered at the Dusit Davao and Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort where they treated guests to their culinary creations.
The two-day event on April 13 and 14 kicked off with sunset cocktails and curated island experiences at the Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort in Davao de Oro.
“It is our sincere pleasure to be doing this one-of-a-kind event not only in the Davao region but in Mindanao,” said Christoph Kuch, general manager of Dusit Davao.
“Chefs On Tour is a culinary experience like no other, and we are proud that Dusit Davao has made it happen. We are honored to be in the presence of world-renowned chefs sharing their expertise and passion,” he added.
The chefs were: James Antolin (Ikomai, Tochi desserts), Sau del Rosario (Sawsaw, Cafe Fleur), Tom Bascon (M Dining), Carlo Miguel (Cloud Eats), Josh Boutwood (Helm, The Test Kitchen), Gilbert Pangilinan (Kai, The Blue Room), Kenneth Cacho and J Brando Santos (Unilever Food Solutions Phils), Tatung Sarthou (Lore, Tatung’s), Piya Suthasiri (Dusit Davao), Buddy Trinidad (Park Avenue Desserts), and Jackie Ang Po (Fleur de Lys). — Maya M. Padillo