My name is Joanne and I am a firm believer that we can get Filipino food into the mainstream.
I know Filipino food is already out there. It has been there for years, but we all know that the general public is still very new to the cuisine. The term "mainstream" is in itch to me. It's something that's annoying yet you have to do something about it. Once it's relieved you feel satisfied. "Mainstream" is something that can make or break. Something that some people want and some people don't.
Well, I want Filipino food up there...somewhere! This somewhere is also very abstract. Dammit, I want the food of my culture to be appreciated, but I don't want it's history and background to be forgotten. Oftentimes I compare Filipino food to Britney Spears. Before getting buttface famous, she was a girl from the South with brown hair and potential. When she did finally blow up, she moved to Hollywood, dyed her hair blonde, shaved it off, got a weave, and used auto-tune. People forgot she had brown hair.
I don't want that to happen to Filipino food. I don't want Filipino food to be the cuisine that forgot its history due to assimilation much like many of us who've began lives in places outside of where the history came from.
With that, I have to realize that change is inevitable. Change oftentimes can be great. Change also promotes growth. But growth comes from a simple root. Much like Britney Spears' roots when she hasn't kept up with her salon appointments. However! The roots are there and something cannot grow without it.
Being a Fil-Am, I have seen change in myself and my family and where I live. On the flip side, there are things I desire to keep in tact...like our food and the love we have for that food.
There are definitely two sides of this Filipino food story. The old school way and the nouveau way. A person who has knowledge of the Philippines with "get" the old school methods while a person of the younger generation might steer toward the new ways.
I want to introduce the public to Filipino food, but it is certainly not up to me to decide what people "should" know. It should be entirely up to them.
Hence, I am thinking of this idea that has been in my head for what seems like months now.
When I co-founded KapaMEALya with my friends, I had the goal of somehow connecting the eater to the maker and the product. I felt it was important for the eater to know the makers story. The story very much influences how the maker creates their dish. The story can include their loved ones, their hometown, their favorite ingredients...or all of the above.
I was inspired by my friend Marvin Gapultos who is author of The Adobo Road Cookbook." The word "adobo" is of Spanish origin and of course after centuries of colonization, "adobo" became a method that Filipinos used. Adobo is not a recipe as many might think. You can adobo just about anything and your adobo will definitely be different from your next door neighbors'. There are so many interpretations of this dish. I've had chicken, pork, vegan, dry, coconut adobos. It's ridic!
Last year, I was a judge at the Kulinarya showdown and adobo was one of the categories the chefs had to create for us. My fellow judge Chef Ron Bilaro asked me how I liked my adobo. I was almost afraid to answer because I feared my answer would be "wrong."
But how foolish of me to think that because there is no wrong answer. The beauty of adobo is that it's different every time. I like mine syrupy and sweet, btw.
So I was thinking: I still want to connect the eater to the maker and the product. No two adobos are the same. THIS is my project.
I will call it my "Adobo Project."
I call on all professional chefs, restaurant owners, and at-home cooks: I would like to add your story and your adobo to a gallery/collection on a website. This way people can see the differences of each recipe and share stories with one another. I truly believe food brings people together.
Why not over adobo?
If you or know someone who makes a bomb dot com adobo. Please FILL OUT THIS QUESTIONNAIRE!! With so many people who cook this dish and with it being so close to people's hearts, I hope this project goes on for a long time!