Thursday, May 29, 2008

Aileen Paglinawan

Meet Aileen or "A" for short. She's my cousin Gary's good friend. And it was Kuya Gary's idea to surprise Aileen and her boyfriend for an intimate dinner at my place. He reserved the date and told Aileen that he had a pasalubong for her which she was supposed to get at my place together with her boyfriend on March 2. So on that date, Aileen and her boyfriend were truly surprised. They had enjoyed their Thai set meal so much. Plus while they were having dinner I asked them if it's ok to watch Rated K! for one specific segment. They were also surprised to see me on TV in Korina's top rated show.

After the dinner Aileen told me, "Now I understand why Gary insisted that I can only get the pasalubong on March 2." She found that very weird daw. "Ganun daw ba ako ka busy?" Well at least now she knows.

The most touching part was when Aileen gave me this gift--a tumbler from Starbucks, which is exactly the same as Kris Aquino's tumbler. I thank them both for the token they gave me. Every time I encounter thoughtful customers, my heart truly melts. Most of my friends say that I am blessed to meet so many sweet people. For that I am very thankful!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

FRIANDS, Anyone? (AUS post7)

Forget cupcakes. I've discovered Friands. They may look like muffins, but they're not quite the same. Friands are actually French cupcakes. Although French in origin, Friands became famous in Australia. In fact, it's one of their staple foods.

Friands are made of Almond meal, flour, butter, egg white and fruits of your choice.

One weekend my cousin, his wife, and Reggie went on a long drive to South Coast of New South Wales. Passing thru Wollongong, Kiama and Ulladulla, we reached our destination, Sanctuary Point. Menchie and her Aussie husband Phil welcomed us to their house. I had an afternoon of cooking lessons with Tita Mench. She taught me how to bake Friands.

I don't bake for one major reason–I don't have an oven. But if I had one, I would definitely be baking and roasting a lot. I was very excited when Tita Menchie demonstrated how to bake Friands. Too bad there's no oval-shaped baking mold here in Manila. That's the distinct shape of Friands--oval. And almond meal here is too expensive and rare. This blog makes me miss the life I had in Australia. I promise to get back. I shall return. Ciao OZ!

Thanks Tita Menchie for accommodating us and to your husband Phil for his warm hospitality!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Korina Sanchez

This is the most anticipated post in my blogging history...janjajaran! Korina Sanchez visited The Artist Chef condo! It was last February 28, 2008 when Korina along with her battalions of staff and crew invaded my little studio unit. There were unreasonable demands from her staff and numerous delays. It tested my patience and it consumed my two days of work. But I must say everything was all worth it! She's Korina Sanchez anyway. I can now proudly say that a prominent TV personality has already interviewed me. She also went to my place to eat what I prepared. She was supposed to taste the Paella Albino that I cooked but she ended up eating the Paella for the second round. She liked it. At least that's what she told me. She also appreciated my painting. She stared at the breast of the women for several seconds. She also asked if I have a menu, but I sadly told her that I don't have a printed one. I just gave her my calling cards instead.

Beside me is Ana Lao, Advertising make-up artist. The woman behind the beautiful make-up I'm wearing. We constantly work together during photo shoots for print ads even way back to my DDB days when I used to handle SMART Telecoms. I was surprised to found out that Ana's first project was my print ad for SMART with Greg Turvey as my talent. Actually we were both surprised to find that out.

This is my eldest sister Joyce and her husband Dan as extras for the segment story.

Reggie bought the petals I used during the taping. He also took the behind the scenes photos. Thank you to all the people who stood by my side during the two days shoot.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bernice Joaquin

Bernice was the last customer who graced the February month-long special dinner. With her was her pilot boyfriend Huey Enriquez who happens to be the son of Danding Cojuangco's private pilot. Bernice, on the other hand, is a ground stewardess and both of them are working for Philippine Airlines. Bernice's story is similar to another pair I entertained months ago--they also have a big age gap. Age is not an issue for them. In fact, her boyfriend Huey wants her to grow more as an individual and in her career. By the time they get married, there will be no more regrets on Bernice's part. Unselfish love, that's what Huey has for Bernice.

The chocolate caramel cake from Aggy's bakeshop is Bernice and Huey's gift for me. I am really touched by how nice and sweet my customers are. Another present I cannot forget. Thanks to Bernice and Huey and to all my customers.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Cooking for Carnation

Last March an Account Supervisor from TBWA asked me if I wanted to create recipes for Carnation Milk. By the way, Carnation is no longer with Nestle, Alaska Milk bought it already. She offered me the project supposedly given to a famous chef/food stylist in the advertising world. I definitely offered half the price of my competitor. Still not a bad offer. To think food stylists nowadays charge very expensive rates because their services are in demand. Luckily the Account Supervisor was able to let the client to approve the Cost Estimate I gave them. So I started the project and cooked the ten dishes they gave me. My task: To come up with recipes using Carnation Milk. They briefed me that every dish should be very Pinoy, ingredients are not hard to find and very easy to prepare. Despite the parameters, I tweaked the Pinoy style cooking by adding ingredients that will surprise the person eating it. A kick in short. Cinnamon, curry, paprika, lemon and so on are the condiments and flavors I added to the recipe. I brought the food to the agency and the Account Supervisor sent it to the client's office. True enough they were surprised but then again they are afraid that the consumers might not be ready with those kind of tweak and they do not want to veer away from the typical Pinoy recipes. Well for the payment's worth, I revised the recipes. The real reason for tweaking the recipes is for presentation purposes–so that the client would know my range and my potential. Good cooking experience, indeed.

Here they are!!!!

Mango Cream Refrigerated Cake.

No bake Sweet Potato Pudding with Cinnamon & Cheese.

Cherry-Buko Salad.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Gee Ann Pineda

The fourth couple who tried my valentine's month dinner special: Gee Ann and Wally. Gee Ann was a TV reporter in a Japanese News program a couple of years ago. She and my former customer Marian Trinidad were colleagues during that time and they parted when she transferred to ABC 5 as a reporter. She narrated how she started as a crime reporter or what she called her graveyard shift. She said that is the starting point of every reporter's career. Before you can cover major events in the society, a reporter must first experience the graveyard shift. Years passed by and Gee Ann decided to settle in the news office of ABC 5 as a correspondent. She said reporting is a very demanding job and will consume all your precious time. She just wants to live a normal life, I guess. So how about her boyfriend Wally? Wally is Gee Ann's long time friend since college. After how many years they realized that they were meant for each other. So as of last February Gee Ann told me that they are more than one year in their relationship. I wish they would end up together because they are very sweet couple.

The evidence of the crime.

The thank you gift that Gee Ann and Wally gave me. They are really sweet isn't it? The paper holder is from IKEA by the way.

For the month of February I gave take home goodies for the couple. The cake that I gave Gee Ann & Wally was from Cafe Ysabel. Unlike last December all my take home goodies were from Yumi Castrillo, maker of yummy cupcakes.