By: Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
OAKLAND, California – Grammy winner and The Voice Philippines coach Apl.de.ap was in the Bay Area recently to help promote the new innovations of Filipino food.
The event, “Savor the Night”, allowed guests to try new takes on Filipino food and to meet and interact with Apl himself.
“We’re very passionate with our cooking so we put our heart and soul into it so everyone should feel that. It’s like the soul food of Asia,” he said.
PJ Quesada, founder of the Filipino movement, said Apl.de.ap is known as the unofficial chef of the Black Eyed Peas.
“He cooks for the band when they’re on tour. He’s always been an aficionado of Filipino food so the connection was always very natural for us,” Quesada said.
Proceeds from the event went toward the Apl.de.ap Foundation International for projects in the Philippines to combat blindness and to support education for children.
“I’ve seen it with my own eyes that when you give someone an opportunity they excel, especially Filipino kids. We’re so talented. We just need the opportunity,” he said.
The event is one of many that the Filipino Food Movement hosts in order to spread the word about the growing trend of Filipino cuisine.
Chefs featured traditional comfort food as well as new combinations of old favorites such as Chef Jessette Kelsi’s appetizers that featured a Bicol Express bite pork rib with spicy coconut sauce and a dinuguan-stuffed puto.
“Just using the resource we grew up with and using it to our palettes now can definitely challenge the community, but at the same time we can also have fun with it and enjoy great food that way,” said Chef Charleen Caabay of Kainbigan in Oakland.
“Filipinos are taking ownership of their own cuisine. They’re saying ‘Hey, we are a culture that has our own cuisine and we’re very proud of it’,” said Chef Lennie Buenaflor DiCarlo of Xroads Philippine Sea Salts.
Apl and the chefs agree that people will always enjoy Filipino food no matter how it is made.
“The number one thing I got from Filipino food is that it is a family gatherer and no matter what problems you have in the family the food will always bring you together,” said Chef Kelsi of Nouveau Filipino in Napa.