LA Times published an article last February 25, 2010 entitled Filipino food: Off the menu. This was written by Amy Scattergood. Basically, the article is pointing-out an apparent truth about the absence of Filipino dishes in acclaimed restaurants in L.A.
The author named some celebrated Filipino chefs in L.A – a few owns and manages fine dining restaurants while others are famed chefs and sous chefs. Most of them grew up eating Filipino foods but Filipino dishes can nowhere be found in their restaurant’s menu. In addition, the article mentioned something about “a distinct line” between the private and professional kitchens of these chefs. Filipino dishes are only cooked at the chef’s home kitchens and close to never in their restaurants.
I think that the article is informative. The author did a nice job in presenting the current state of Filipino dishes in the mainstream perspective. However, there are still some questions left unanswered and there are answers that need further elaboration.
Even though I am not an expert on food, I still manage to gather some information from time to time and keep myself up-to-date on what’s happening around the international food scene. Compared to the people interviewed by the author, I am just a tiny dot in the paper. These people are not just ordinary chefs; they are experts in their field.
The classic question “Are we there yet?” can sometimes be compared to the attitude of some Filipinos. We always ask but we never act. Instead of asking that question, why don’t we instead ask this: “What should we do in order for us to get there?” I believe that these people have the answer.
Here are some quotes from the article telling us why Filipino dishes haven’t made it in the limelight yet, based on the opinion of the experts:
“But how does it fit into what we do? It really doesn’t.”
“The food is so regional, we don’t have one unifying dish,”
“Visually, it’s not very appealing. It’s stewed and brown and oily and fried.”
“It’s probably one of the least understood cuisines,”
These quotes may sound negative to some readers – but I am taking them positively. You see – a problem can only be solved if the causes are properly identified. The quotes above represent some of the causes; all we need to do now is to find ways to address them.
This article will be more informational if the author went the extra mile by gathering possible insights as to how these issues can be addressed.
In your opinion, what should we do in order for Filipino dishes to be recognized globally?