More than 500 Filipino food professionals gathered at the Unilever Food Solutions Culinary FestivalLast October 8, more than 500 hundred chefs, restaurateurs, and caterers from the Philippine food industry gathered in a one day only event for the Culinary Festival 2014 hosted by Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) – the food service arm of Unilever, maker of Knorr, Lady’s Choice, Best Foods and Lipton.
This exciting culinary event pooled in together food industry experts in the Philippines to look into the latest trends and practices that are expected to shape the Philippine dining landscape. “Our mission at Unilever Food Solutions is to equip members of the food service industry with product solutions coupled with the skills and knowledge needed to run an efficient commercial kitchen nowadays,” shared Unilever Food Solutions Philippines Channel Marketing Manager Seanta Pasic-Reyes. UFS brings this to life through the Chefmanship Academy, a roving culinary training program designed to meet the diverse needs of food service professionals.
Since its inception in Germany back in 2009, the program has catered to more than a million food service professionals all over the world. The program offers a wealth of topics, combining real world insights with industry research to offer hands-on learning experiences. “This year, to be able to make this program more accessible to Filipinos, we have raised Chefmanship Academy to a bigger scale through this celebration of culinary arts with the Culinary Festival.”
In order to help address the various business and operational needs food professionals encounter each day, the festival featured three tracks in the morning to focus on the Business of Food, Impactful food Trends, and Digital and Social Marketing. Talks were led by RJ Ledesma, Chef Robby Goco, Joanna Manalastas, JJ Yulo, Chef George Lizares, and Pong Go.
The event captured three major game changing trends food professionals need to watch out for: integrating sustainability in menus, micro-targeting customers, and pushing the power of digital media.
Customization and personalization of communications play a quintessential role in creating meaningful relationships with customers, especially for those in the food service industry. This is also foundational in determining the changing behaviors and preferences of customers. RJ Ledesma has proven how the importance of an in-depth knowledge of how your customers behave and their preferences affect the way you market your brand, such as in the case of Mercato Centrale.
Factoring in the trends and eating habits of Filipinos attributed to lifestyle changes and health restrictions, chefs and restaurant owners nowadays are expected to come full circle to provide original and evolving menus to their diners, thus the need to integrate sustainability in menus. Chef Robby Goco of Green Pastures and Cyma explored sustainability trends when it comes to Filipino food source, restaurant design, and waste management to help respond to the emergence of new restaurants in the country alongside the evolving Filipino palate for more adventurous and sophisticated food.
With competition on the rise for food service professionals and given the highly digital behavior of Filipino diners today, Joanna Manalastas of Spot.ph has shed light on how the digital landscape is shaping the competition in food. More than just writing compelling stories about new restaurants, innovative dishes, and restaurateurs on the rise, the need for well-crafted content and visuals for online consumption goes hand-in-hand in understanding which digital properties will best work for one’s concept. The realm of social media has played an integral part in providing vivid, real-time, and shareable experiences among customers.
In the afternoon, guests were treated to a session on banqueting or large quantity food production led by the UFS chefs. Featuring recipes perfect for the coming holidays, Executive Chef Joanne Limoanco-Gendrano showcased the best ways in creating rice dishes such as Steamed Fried Rice, Chorizo Rice, and Seafood Rice for large quantities while Sous Chef Pipo Aluning followed suit by presenting his own spin on the classic Baked Sole Fish Fillet with Parmesan Dijon Mayonnaise fish recipe perfect for banqueting. Senior Sous Chef Janice Lazaga then demonstrated how to whip up Kinalderetang Rellening Repolyo, a healthier alternative of the popular Filipino dish Beef Kaldereta, while Senior Sous Chef Marilen Ingco featured the modern way of cooking and serving Sous Vide of Steak with Whipped Potatoes and Peppercorn Sauce minus the worry on maintaining the meat’s doneness and taste. Senior Sous John Paul Sia ended the afternoon sessions on banqueting with his take on the classic adobo turned into a dish of luxury fit for catering during the holiday season. Throughout the day, the culinary festival also highlighted fun booth activities and several restaurants on wheels for participants to try delicious cuisines.
“As we recognize the needs of chefs, restaurateurs, and caterers in the Philippines, the Culinary Festival successfully responds to these needs which continuously help in pushing the envelope and growth of our very own food industry,” said Reyes. “With new discoveries and the passion of all members in this dynamic industry, the future of Philippine foodservice is indeed extremely exciting,” added Reyes. For more information about how Unilever Food Solutions can help grow your food business, visit www.UFS.com.
Unilever Food Solutions – Who We Are
At Unilever Food Solutions, we help chefs all over the world serve tasty, wholesome meals that keep guests coming back for more.
We create ingredients that save precious prep time in the kitchen, without compromising on flavour or flair. And constantly provide ideas and inspiration that keep your menu fresh and exciting. Our ingredients are some of the staples of professional kitchens in 74 countries around the world: Knorr, Lady’s Choice, Best Foods, Lipton and more.
We’ve been in food since the 1880s. We’re chefs ourselves. So we understand that critical balance between impressing your guests and making a profit. And how to keep your menus and recipes fresh and exciting, as times and tastes change.
For more information on Unilever Food Solutions, please visit: www.ufs.com.