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What the Heck is Filipino Food turns 1! Herald Sun, ABC702, SBS Food, Gourmand Award Ceremony + MORE

Submitted by on April 7, 2013 – 10:44 am49 Comments

I haven’t done a cookbook update for some time now and you’re probably asking what Craig David’s been asking “Can you fill me in?”  Why certainly! My apologies, I haven’t intentionally kept you outta the loop. I just wanted to wait until April because ahuh ahuh, it’s been one year since the official release of What the Heck is Filipino Food! Happy Birthday! WOOP WOOP! Plus I had to post some other cool stuff first like my long overdue Cafe Hopping Around the USA post. Have you checked that out mamasita? Bet you be feeling like tator tots and pancakes after that huh.

Anywho, I still can’t believe a year has flown since the release of my baby. *wipes tears* I still remember feeling that huge sense of relief when I finally announced its release right here which then quickly turned to joy as I received so much love from all of you. Many people were understandably shocked as I kept it under wraps for a longtime. I’ve never received so many emails and tweets of support not too mention many of you Intsagraming photos of dishes from the book. So here I am with open arms, ready to give you a massive virtual thank you hug.  I’ve stopped thinking about how hard it was to make it and have started to really appreciate the sense of achievement after all those years of work.  This very moment. You all made it worthwhile.

It’s been a crazy ass 6 months I tell you. Things started to really ramp up on the book front but at the same time, it also got real busy on the job front keeping me up all night like a trucker. I’ve been asked this on a number of occasions so for those who might be wondering ‘how-the-hell-does-he-afford-all-that-eating’, I work in digital advertising as Head of Ad Operations for a major online publisher, leading a team of freakin’ awesome individuals who make my day as awesome like they are. You know those ads that expand out and play videos, games and other interesting things that may be annoying to some viewers? My job is to make sure all that happens. Sorry LOL! It’s a real demanding job but I actually like the gig and have been doing it for over 6 years now, so it’s a part of me and has also taught me the valuable skill of multitasking. DUN DUN DUN! For a guy, that’s a big deal.  Juggling  the operational and marketing side of my book, the job and my beloved blog during whatever spare time I have alongside my loved ones, the pets, friends, me time which includes sleep, exercise and my other hobbies – is HARD. Did I forget anything in that very long sentence? Probably. I am writing this at at 3am but fortunately, it’s a Saturday night after attending a #retroparty with my fellow rad food blogger peeps. *munches on third kit kat*

So without further adieu,  here’s what I’ve been up to over the last 6 months from interviews, book reviews, the Gourmand Awards Gala, blog features to rising on the best sellers chart and even selling out at a few bookstores ending it all on a sweet note judging a a Summer Bakeoff when I got back from Europe. EEP!~ Sorry if I’m packing it in here!

Gourmand Cookbook Award Ceremony in Paris

Wow. When I had first announced I had won a Gourmand Cookbook Award a few months back, little did I know that my initial shock was nothing in comparison to being at the actual awards ceremony and cookbook fair in Paris, at the iconic Louvre Museum of all places! WTF?! I mean, the place holds the largest amount of art, the Mona Lisa being one of them that I got to see the day prior. The win also made way for an impromptu first time trip to Europe which I’ll talk about in another post.

the louvre

The gala, which took place on February 23, was just out of this world and more than I had imagined it to be. It made for a perfect way to celebrate my birthday! I would go as to far as saying the night was magical because you know what, it was exactly that. It was even trickling with snow that night which was way cool.

gourmand cookbook awards 2013in front of the lourvre Hurry up and take the pic…it’s snowing and I can’t feel ma face!

Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Chef Cookbook and entrepreneur guru, described the evening best saying “It was like an Olympic Village of flavor,” (source There were over 1500 people in attendance but I believe there were over 2500 including those that attended the Paris Cookbook Fair. Anyone and everyone who had a footprint in the culinary world was there. Though I didn’t get a chance to meet Pierre Hermé who I heard brought over some of his infamous macarons, I got to meet so many fellow authors, publishers, Michelin starred chefs and industry folk from around the globe –  all incredibly amazing at what they do. I loved how their faces lit up when I spoke about Filipino food. They noted down recipes and despite being a first time author, they were so welcoming.

red carpet at gourmand cookbook awards parishihihi too shy too shy

at 2013 gourmand cookbook awards

Gourmand pulled out all stops that night from the red carpet, the endless cookbook exhibit (very cool to see my book next to fellow Aussie entrants), the food, the wine and OMG, props on the venue. I was so humbled and incredibly honoured to be representing both Australia and the Philippines at such a prestigious ceremony. Thank you again Gourmand!

what the heck is filipino food with aussie books

For more coverage on the ceremony, the list of all nominees and winners, check out EATER, Food and Arts and the official Gourmand website.

Jerusalem CookbookSurrounded by cookbook greats inc @ottolenghi Jerusalem

gourmand cookbook award Filipino food

Herald Sun Interview

I did an interview in the lovely folks at Herald Sun newspaper which published Saturday 19.1.2013. I was very chuffed to see that the piece was featured on the same page as Jamie Oliver (!) I listed some of my favourite places to eat in Melbourne, Filipino food, favourite cookbook, last  meal and of course, where I get my weekend brekkie fix.


herald sun feature

SBS Food – Interview featuring my Arroz Caldo Recipe

Back in January, I was interviewed by Jasmin Newman of SBS Food Online featuring step by instructions for my recipe for Arroz Caldo  (Filipino congee), the history of the dish, childhood stories,  my influences and my cookbook.

sbs food logo v2

SBS Food Arroz Caldo 1

A CHAT with ABC 702

Back when it was warm (December), I headed to the ABC studios and had a chat with Simon Marnie about my all things Filipino food, my Kamote Que (candied sweet potato) recipe, Filipino cuisine in Australia and why it should be bigger than what it is, popular dishes from back home including massively sized seafood, beaches in the Philippines and how my family celebrates Christmas with spit roast pig! Very cool guy. I can’t seem to find the recording though! Gah. Will update when found…


Food & Travel – Book Review

The lovely Sally Hammond of Food and Travel reviews What the Heck is Filipino Food

food and travel book review

SBS Radio – Interview + Pork Adobo Pie recipe feature

I participated in a panel discussion with SBS Filipino radio about Filipino Food Fusion in Australia voicing my insights on the subject and took the panel through my Pork Adobo Pie recipe. How I see it currently and where I see it heading. You can also read my views in depth on a another post I wrote here

I’m so happy to see Filipino food take off downunder – shout out to fellow blogger, friend and entrepreneur Cherrie of Dahon Gourmet Tea Lounge who has also been leading the bandwagon here in Melbourne. Grab Melbourne’s best BBQ Pork Baguette and Deep Fried Pork Belly at Dahon pronto! Oh, and a couple of BBQ skewers while your there, you won’t regret it.

SBS Radio Interview screenshot

Interview with The Hungry Australian

The very rad and fellow foodie Christina from The Hungry Australian interviewed me fresh from the Gourmand Cookbook Awards. It was an awesome Q & A with such insightful questions. I had so much fun with it.

Check out some excerpts below or click here to read the full enchilada. Thanks Christina!

meet a food lover interview 1

meet a food lover interview adrian briones

Featured on Food for Tina

The very rad Tina from Food for Tina ran an amazing piece about my book on her stunning blog full of nice things which I’m chuffed about hehe. It’s so cool to see a fellow blogger as excited about the book as I am. Thanks Tina!

Below is an excerpt from the post. Click here to read the full feature.

food for tina

Cake Judge gig at the Melbourne Bikefest Summer Bakeoff

You would’ve thought that I’d be dieting after my eatathon in Europe huh? Nope. Not to be. I was asked to be one of the judges at the Melbourne Bikefest Summer Bakeoff alongside some other brilliant bloggers Suzanne (Essjayeats), Cindy and Michael (Where’s The Beef) so of course I gave it a big yes. Who could resist cake?! The theme was ‘stone fruits.’

Man, it was a hot day, but that didn’t stop us. Plus, I appreciated the heat being icy cold in Europe just days prior.

summer bakeoff

Held at the Abbotsford Convent gardens, the atmosphere was certainly festive with cyclists chilling out on the lawn sipping on coconut juice.

Sticky Date PuddingBakeoff Winner for Best Presentation  the Sticky Date Pudding

Hazelnut and plum cakeWinner of Best Taste – Plum and Hazelnut cake

OMFG! What the Heck is Filipino Food rises to #38 on!

What the Heck is Filipino Food jumped back up to #38 on in cookbooks as of January. As you could imagine, I was super excited and decided to make Chicken Adobo and Suman to celebrate.

amazon what the heck is filipino food

Thank you to all of you who holds a copy of my book. It really means alot.

Until the next update, keep those recipe questions coming., I love the banter and helping out a fellow Filipino food lover. I love ya and I appreciate ya.

Have you signed up for FREE updates from Food Rehab? Get on the list and I’ll do my best to keep us learning about none-other than glorious, GLORIOUS food! Also, follow me on Facebook or Twitter if you have either of those addictive things.

Keep eating…LIKE CURAZAAY!


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