Celebrating Filipino foodways in their own way
One of the dreams of Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes is to make Filipino cuisine known all over the world. That’s why we admire the work done by these individuals, who have made Filipino foodways, cuisine, and heritage more accessible to a wider audience.
From Hawaii, Dr. Pia Arboleda, an academician, works with students and the university to put the spotlight on Philippine heritage, including language, folklore, and foodways. In Australia, the Entrée.Pinays use their business and media smarts to drum up awareness for Filipino culture and cuisine, and at the same time create ways to do more meaningful actions for the community. In Italy, Chef Morris Danzen carves out a name for himself and at the same time opens doors for Filipino cuisine, as he combines our delectable flavors with ingredients in foreign lands.
Read on to find out more about how these Filipinos across the world have helped make Mama Sita’s message reverberate today.
1. Dr. Pia Arboleda in Hawaii. As the Director of the Center for Philippine Studies and Coordinator of the Filipino and Philippine Literature Program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Dr. Pia Arboleda helps people understand and appreciate Philippine culture, including food culture. Early this year, she, representing her University, teamed up with the Mama Sita Foundation to organize a series of webinars for students and foodies to start a conversation on Filipino foodways. This was the Pinoy Food Stories: Evolution of Philippine Cuisine, held from February thru March 2021. With the success of the webinars, a second season was organized for April thru May 2021, proving that Filipino food is undoubtedly making waves on a global scale.
2. Entrée.Pinay in Australia. Founded by Fides Mae Santos-Arguelles and Grace Guinto, Entrée.Pinay is a group of Filipino women who, armed with different skillsets, make it possible to promote Filipino culture and cuisine in Melbourne, Australia. Their projects, ranging from food events held online to fundraisers to benefit unemployed Filipinos, are geared towards helping Filipinos and educating the audience about Filipino culinary heritage. They also put up an online shop of curated Filipino products for their local market: Merkado by the Entrée.Pinays, a marketplace showcasing “meaningful must-haves” because each purchase “supports dreams, livelihoods, and community.”
3. Chef Morris Danzen in Italy. Working in Sicily, Italy, has not changed Morris Danzen Catanghal’s love for Filipino flavors. In fact, he shares Filipino cuisine by adding a Filipino flair to the dishes that he cooks. When people told him that they appreciated his dishes, the chef, who learned to cook at an early age, discovered his calling in the kitchen. Now, he not only cooks Filipino cuisine in his restaurant, but also demonstrates recipes in his Facebook page to share his “knowledge of Filipino cuisine to the world through the help of social media.” This Filipino-proud chef is able to say he waved the Philippine flag on TV, when he joined an Italian cooking competition “Gino Cerca Chef” and found himself at the top spot! Having achieved his dreams, Chef Morris Danzen encourages young Filipinos to stay motivated, work hard, and keep on learning, and wherever they are in the world and whatever they do, their Filipino flair is sure to make them shine.