If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the same may be the case for tourists.
“Food is a vital component of tourism. More than just the breathtaking sites, the activities that a tourist does, the comfort of an accommodation where he stays, food makes up the totality of the tourist’s experience,” said Provincial Tourism Office chief Carmel Bonifacio-Garcia during the opening salvo of the Community-Based Kulinarya Workshop held at Twin Rock Beach Resort, Igang, Virac, on March 30-31, 2017.
Dubbed as “Kulinarya,” the said workshop is a program of the Department of Tourism (DOT) envisioned to train community members who will prepare food for the visitors in a “hygienic and presentable manner.”
The program specifically aims to: (1) train community members to professionally prepare and handle food for tourists, (2) contribute to capacity-building initiatives and spread the benefits of tourism to the grassrroots level, (3) showcase Filipino cuisines and dishes, (4) identify cooks that can be tapped for catering during events, (5) teach the basics of food handling techniques, and (6) teach how to manage/conduct business regarding food catering.
A topnotch chef and DOT-accredited national master trainer, Chef Jose Ramlo “Ram” Villaluna served as resource speaker, alongside apprentice Chef Mary Grace Juvelar. Chef Ram hails from Antique, Iloilo and has Bicolano roots. He studied at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies in Manila and Institute of Culinary Education in New York.
In an interview, the chef underscored the need for provincial and municipal government to promote an “authentic” dish which can be found only in the area, as well as the ingredients used to prepare for it.
“Kailangan mag-isip ang mga community kung anong pagkain ang kanilang mai o-offer sa turista na wala sa iba,” Chef Ram said.
He also emphasized the roles of various stakeholders in ensuring that food tourism industry be successful. The challenge to Kulinarya is for the local government units to actively monitor progress of programs and support agency efforts to help boost tourism, the chef said.
During the two-day workshop, participants from various barangays all over the province were given lecture and demonstration on Menu Planning, Recipe, Costing, Safety and Sanitation, Food Styling, and Table Arrangement. It culminated with a Food Cooking Showcase, wherein participants prepared local delicacies, applying the lessons taught during the first day.
Provincial Board Member and Committee Chairman on Tourism Vincent V. Villaluna, GMA stringer Jinky Tabor and Rappler writer Jorge Trinidad served as judges of the Food Showcase. #