Sooo Pinoy Food Tour First Stop at Adarna Food & Culture

There is a tight list of countries with dishes bearing “international cuisine” status, with the French and the Italian battling for top position. And sadly, our very own Filipino cuisine falls short in terms of popularity to even qualify for a place in the top 10. But the Sooo Pinoy food campaign is determined to change just that.

Sooo Pinoy - Promoting Filipino Cuisine -

Pioneered by Unilever Food Solutions in 2010, the Sooo Pinoy: Promoting Filipino Cuisine Ang sarap maging Pinoy - CertifiedFoodies.comcampaign advocates to finally put the Philippines in the cuisine map by increasing buzz and appreciation of our local dishes.

Last year, with an online voting contest, they led the search for the best Pinoy Dish with the “Sinigang na Hipon” emerging triumphant. And for 2011, the Sooo Pinoy campaign is now geared towards naming the best food establishments serving the best Pinoy dishes nationwide.

To get the word out about their new project, Unilever Food Solutions organized the Sooo Pinoy Food Tour, inviting 15 bloggers to a one-of-a-kind food trip aboard a WiFi-enabled bus around various food places in Metro Manila. Thankfully, I was part of the lucky bunch who got to participate in the event.

Everyone met up on June 11, 2011 at Adarna Food & Culture along Kalayaan Ave. in Diliman, Quezon City, the first stop in our food tour where we also had quite an unforgettable lunch prepared by executive chef and owner Giney Villar.

Our first stop is Adarna Food and Culture along Kalayaan Avenue -

For a chef her age, it’s very awe-inspiring that Chef Giney has taken a brave move of ignoring what the market dictates to earn easy money, like going for Italian or American food. Rather, she chose to start a restaurant business with aims of preserving and promoting the gustatory excellence of Filipino cuisine.

Chef Giney Villar of Adarna Food and Culture restaurant -

Lunch began with one of Adarna’s best-selling dishes, the Seafood Special (P485, pictured below), a mix of shrimps, scallops, and squids with several veggies all cooked in a tomato-based stew. I don’t usually get allergies when eating seafood. This time I did, possibly ‘cause of the scallops, but I think this delicious dish was worth a day of scratching. 😀

Adarna Food and Culture's Seafood Special, one of their best-selling dishes -

Continue reading Sooo Pinoy Food Tour First Stop at Adarna Food & Culture

Start Your Culinary Dreams at Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy

I dream to be a full-fledged chef someday soon - CertifiedFoodies.comAfter I came back from my “short vacation” in Singapore, I was determined to pursue my passion in cooking. And with a little badgering help from my ever-supportive sister, Mhel, we were able to convince my Nanay to finance my culinary education.

I scoured the internet in search of the best culinary schools in the Philippines, but making sure to prioritize affordability and quality of education above all other criteria. I was able to narrow down my choices between two schools. There is one institute offering a concise culinary program that lasts for a short period of 7 months (4 months of lecture and 3 months of OJT), which grants students who successfully finish the course with only a Certificate in Professional Culinary Arts. While my other choice, Global Culinary & Hospitality Academy, for almost the same price, is proud to offer a program considered a major first in the culinary industry – the Grand Diploma in Professional Culinary, Baking and Pastry Arts.

To be honest, it wasn’t a tough decision to make at all. Global Academy surely had this one in the bag!

Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy -

My Nanay and I went to Global Academy’s Timog branch, which was most convenient for it’s nearest to our place. There we met their very accommodating marketing team, who gave us a short tour of their facilities, explained to us in detail the various programs they offer, and informed us of what my Nanay was dying to ask from the moment we got there – payment plans.

Global Culinary & Hospitality Academy boasts of their affordable TESDA-accredited programs for Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts, Certificate in Professional Baking & Pastry Arts, and their Grand Diploma Program that I mentioned earlier. And for those who prefer a more fast-paced and concise course, Global Academy also provides Fast-Track Programs for either Culinary Arts or the Grand Diploma Program.


Since it’s my goal to learn and experience as much as I can to master the art of cooking, I thought it’s only proper to enroll in the Grand Diploma Program. It’s a combination of the two courses, Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Art, which ensures graduates of the program a better edge in landing a job here and abroad, especially now that employers prefer having well-rounded people skilled at performing multiple functions in the kitchen. And the tuition fee for the Grand Diploma Program is definitely a good deal, since it would cost much, much more if the two courses were taken separately.

Open House at Global Academy's Pasig campus - CertifiedFoodies.comMoving forward, as part of the admission process, I was required to take a short exam, followed by a one-on-one interview with their marketing representative. Our conversation got really interesting when I mentioned that my sister and I share a food blog where we write about our food adventures and discoveries. The representative was quick to inform me that their Pasig Branch has moved to a new and bigger location and that they are planning to host a Blogger Event to showcase the branch’s new facilities. No date has been set yet for the event, so she promised to update us as soon as everything has been settled.

Sure enough, we received an invite for Global Academy’s Pasig Branch Open House Event, scheduled June 8, 2011. We opted to attend the second batch at 2:00PM because the first was set too early (for us anyway) at 9:00AM. The new Pasig Branch is located at the 4th Floor of Millennium Place,Meralco Ave. and Sapphire Rd., Ortigas Center, Pasig City. It’s a couple of buildings away from Robinson’s Galleria or just a short jeepney-ride if you’re coming from EDSA.

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The Stock Market at Bonifacio High Street

Last week, Ken and I were invited to an intimate dinner with fellow bloggers at The Stock Market Cafe in Bonifacio High Street to introduce us to their new menu.

The Stock Market Cafe at B3 Bonifacio High Street in Global City Taguig -

We were told to come in our 1930s clothes. Ken dressed up all in black, with a buttoned up polo and hat. Hannah of FlairCandy was also there and she wore a Chicago-inspired dress. She looked more like Cleopatra and was really pretty. Here’s the 3 of us right before dinner:

Us with Hannah of - CertifiedFoodies.comI know, I only wore that printed blouse. I don’t have any skirts or dresses in my wardrobe. 😀

Continue reading The Stock Market at Bonifacio High Street

Manila Food and Beverage Expo at the World Trade Center

Manila Foods and Beverage Expo 2011 - CertifiedFoodies.comEver since we started this food blog, we honestly haven’t been to any food expo because of our busy schedules the past weeks and months. So, when we heard about the Manila Food and Beverage Expo (MAFBEX) 2011, we knew we just have to be there.

MAFBEX 2011 already started last Wednesday, June 15th, and will end on Sunday, June 19th. It’s the biggest and most awaited food showcase of the year and it’s happening at the World Trade Center.

We’ll be there on Sunday and we’re pretty excited about it because MAFBEX showcases a wide array of food and beverage products, innovative technologies, latest supplies, and modern formulations from all over the world. Definitely an expo future entrepreneurs like us should check out.

Ken is particularly looking forward to coming to the expo since he surely will get a ton of useful information and ideas for his future plans of becoming a chef and, hopefully, even owning his own restaurant.

Here are excerpts from the press release about MAFBEX:

For the benefit of the ABS-CBN Foundation Inc, WORLDBEX Services International brings everyone yet again, a world-class show. “MAFBEX is committed to impart a comprehensive access to excellent food and beverage products, events, newsworthy information as we showcase a host of food services and products from every corner of the world,” Mr. Joseph Ang, WSI Founding Chairman says. With almost 400 booths of both foreign and local exhibitors on the show floor, MAFBEX 2011 definitely is the biggest and most awaited food show of the year.

For the benefit of the ABS-CBN Foundation Inc, WORLDBEX Services International brings everyone yet again, a world-class show. “MAFBEX is committed to impart a comprehensive access to excellent food and beverage products, events, newsworthy information as we showcase a host of food services and products from every corner of the world,” Mr. Joseph Ang, WSI Founding Chairman says. With almost 400 booths of both foreign and local exhibitors on the show floor, MAFBEX 2011 definitely is the biggest and most awaited food show of the year.

Aside from its varied list of cooking demos, MAFBEX also has free seminars that cover major trends and issues relevant to all food enthusiasts, culinary students and professionals. These educational sessions include the following:

– Managing Diabetes Nekkutus through Diet
– Updates on Philippine Food Safety Framework
– You Are What You Eat – a walk through on the effects of foods to health
– Dietary Management for Cardiovascular Disease

– Eventology 101: Basic Event Management
– Controlling Buffet Cost
– How to start your own Beverages Catering Business
– Branding 101: How to make your product standout in the market
– Handling Guest Complaints
– Basic Rules for Selling: Finding Success in Sales
– Unstoppable Sales: The Need for Growing Profits in Events

– Competitive Baking and Pastry
– Kitchen Chemistry: A Peek into Modernist Cuisine
– Junkfood Substitute
– Cruisin’ 101
– Food Styling
– Italian 101
– Cooking with your five senses

There are also interschool competitions co-organized by De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Hotel Restaurant and Institution Management (SHRIM). It Includes competitions on Table Set-Ups, Mocktail Punch, Cake Decorating, Ice Carving to name a few. Also open to participants are the major contests including the Benildean Flair Factor, Flair Cup 2011 and MAFBEX Singing Idol. MAFBEX also features the Young Hoteliers Exposition (YHE), which showcases the talents of the SHRIM students of DLS-CSB. The event gives an opportunity to test the students’ ability in healthy competition and display unparallel professionalism.

Here’s the schedule of seminars and competitions for MAFBEX 2011. Click the photo for a larger view:

Schedule of activities at the MAFBEX 2011 -

We wanted to go there this Friday for the Food Styling seminar and competition, but unfortunately, we have prior commitments so we’d only be able to come on Sunday then after, we’ll scour Gilmore for discount desktops for my personal use at home. We hope to catch the “Cooking with your Five Senses” seminar at 10am.

I know there’ll be a lot of fellow foodies there so I hope to see you there, too. 🙂 The entrance fee, based on their site, is only Php 50.00.

Continue reading Manila Food and Beverage Expo at the World Trade Center

Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria

Topping the list of my comfort food is definitely pizza. I love the combination of carbo I get from the pizza crust and all the goodness of my favorite toppings. That’s why when we got invited to Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria’s Bloggers Taste Test in  RFM Corporate Center in Pioneer Street to try the new items on their menu, Ken and I were both excited and were looking forward to adding them to our list of pizza places we’d be frequenting.

Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria at Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong -

Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria is a very casual restaurant that now boasts of their contemporary Italian-American menu, with a li’l sweet twist to satisfy the Pinoy taste. They have recently re-enhanced their image from a Mafia style menu. Even their menu design is more vibrant in colors, using more photos to encourage customers to try out other items on their menu other than the usual and familiar.

Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria's menu is now more bursting with vibrant colors -

We loved the interiors of Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria, obviously inspired by New York City. We were personally attracted to their custom-made lights. And I love the colors, well, mainly because they used black and red.

Inside Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria in Pioneer Street -

Some may be taken aback to see Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria’s menu and find that their prices are very affordable (check here). They may look like a very high-end restaurant, but you can enjoy their food without worrying too much about paying a premium, one of the reasons why we are recommending them to fellow foodies.

They recently added seven (7) items on their menu – 4 pizza flavors, 2 appetizers and a lunch meal. With their pizzas, they decided to stick with thin crust and just come up with varying toppings. Their dough is made with a secret ingredient and the toppings are made fresh everyday, too. Expect no pre-baking of ingredients in the Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria Kitchen, especially at their RFM Corporate Center branch in Pioneer Street as it’s the home of their commissary.

Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria's own blend of hot sauce -

Now, on to their latest menu additions. The first dish that was served to us was their Baked Cheesy Fries, a plate of russet fries combined with their house special meat sauce and overloaded with chili flakes, white onion, cheddar and cheese sauce. We both loved the saltiness. And being cheese lovers, we had to force ourselves to stop eating this ‘cause we’ve got more food coming. 😀

Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria Baked Cheesy Fries -

Next was their Shrimp Fresh Salad, a plate of Fresh Romaine lettuce tossed with honey mustard dressing, topped with shrimps, croutons and parmesan cheese. The saltiness of the cheese was a perfect combination to the sweet and sour taste of the dressing. Definitely something we’d order more of next time.

Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria Shrimp Fresh Salad -

We were then served Joey Pepperoni’s Barbecue Chicken Wings. The chicken wings are deep-fried to goodness then tossed with their very own special barbecue mixture.

Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria Barbecue Chicken Wings rice meal -

After having a taste of this barbecue chicken, we wanted more! The chicken meat was very tender. I actually had doubts I’d enjoy it ‘cause I’m not really fond of barbecue flavored anything. But, the barbecue flavor wasn’t as overpowering as the ones I’ve tried. It was really good that it whet our appetite. Will definitely go back for these! I can finish 12 pieces without sharing. 😀

We didn’t eat the rice part of the Barbecue Chicken Wings meal because we know what’s coming – 4 new pizza flavors of Joey Pepperoni Pizzeria! 😀

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KFC is So Good – Share Your So Good Moments

It’s no question that one of the top fast food chains in our country is Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). KFC is actually our favorite because of their fries, their very flavorful chicken and their original recipe gravy that we absolutely love. They also come up with new products that satisfy the taste buds of Pinoys like us.

KFC's Double Down sandwich, Chili Lime chicken, BBQ Rods and California Maki Twister -

Remember KFC’s Double Down sandwich? How about their Chili Lime Chicken? And, our ultimate faves, their BBQ Rods and California Maki Twister (oh, we wish they’ll bring this back!). We remember bringing our parents to KFC just so they could get a taste of these new flavors. Yes, we share our love for food with our nanay and tatay. And even for them whose taste buds aren’t as adventurous like ours, they both loved the different flavors KFC offers every time they come out with new products.

We know you’re all very familiar with KFC’s tagline – “It’s finger lickin’ good!”. It’s one of the most memorable and popular taglines ever.

Now, KFC has decided to not just focus on the quality and delicious food you get from them, but the experience, the feeling you get when you bite into that KFC chicken cooked to perfection or any of their delightfully good offerings.

With just one bite on their chicken, you’d know it was made with the freshest poultry delivered daily, pressure-cooked to get to that right tenderness, and then prepared in-store by real chefs with KFC’s 11 secret herbs and spices that make it truly and uniquely KFC’s.

KFC is so good! -

How about getting that oh-so-fulfilling sensation when you pour KFC’s original recipe gravy on your chicken and eat it with a mouthful of rice or their mashed potatoes (okay, seriously, this post is making us hungry)? Makes you want to exclaim something to express that satisfaction.

That’s why KFC’s new tagline is… wait for it… KFC's new tagline 'So Good' focuses on the experience rather than just their great flavors and food -

So good… If you ask us, it’s perfect to describe KFC and the experience you get after dining in or even ordering a bucket meal for takeout.

You can check out KFC’s So Good website ( to find out more about this change. While you’re at it, check out KFC’s newly designed website –


Share Your So Good Moments and Win!

On KFC So Good Moments website, you can share your own so-good moments for a chance to qualify as one of 15 with the best so-good stories and bag one of these prizes:

– Be one of three (3) top winners who’d get eleven (11) buckets of delicious KFC chicken EACH
(Yes, dear… 11 buckets each.)

– Be one of twelve (12) winners (runner-up/consolation) who’d get KFC gift certificates

Deadline for submission of entries is August 31, 2011. So, you still got time to come up with your so-good moments.

Let us share with you ours…


Continue reading KFC is So Good – Share Your So Good Moments

My ELBA Kitchen Cookbook Launch – Pasta Recipes Galore!

On May 26th, I was invited to the launch of My Elba Kitchen Cookbook at The Grove Rockwell near Tiendesitas. I was looking forward to supporting this launch because we have an 8-year old ELBA gas range at home. We use it for cooking delicious homemade dishes and for baking, too. In fact, we recently used it in baking The Cookie Jar’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, as pictured below.

Using our ELBA oven for baking cookies -

ELBA is a well-known kitchen appliance manufacturer from Italy. They have been in the Philippines for over 20 years and has been one of the most reliable brands out there. When it comes to the durability of their products, I can attest to the quality because of how long we’ve been using our ELBA gas range.

Elba Kitchen Pasta Recipe Book for only Php 399! -

The My Elba Kitchen Cookbook contains 60 pasta recipes that are easy to follow and prepare at home. Being a recipe follower with a little tantyameter (I recently learned this word :D) and some experimentation when it comes to flavor combinations when cooking pasta at home, I would love to prepare some of the dishes featured in this cookbook.

The cookbook is now available at all leading bookstores for only Php 399! So, make sure you grab one. If you want to know what recipes you’d find inside, let me share with you some of the pasta dishes that were prepared right in front of us during the launch by two guest chefs.

First off was Chef Darin Epp from Maxim Cookworks. With him on the photo is the event’s host PJ.

Chef Darin Epp prepping for his next dish while host PJ watches -

Chef Darin hails from Canada, but expressed his fondness of the Philippines. He’s very entertaining and shared some tips while he prepared two dishes for us pictured below.

Sardine Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes prepared by Chef Darin Epp - CertifiedFoodies.comSardine Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes

Salmon with Rosemary and Cream Sauce by Chef Darin Epp of Maxim Cookworks - CertifiedFoodies.comSalmon with Rosemary and Cream Sauce

Again, take note that these dishes were prepared in front of us. So, that means they’re easy and quick to make. Very effective when you need to whip up a dish at home for your kids or loved ones.

Between the two dishes Chef Darin prepared, I wanted to get a fork and taste the Salmon with Rosemary and Cream sauce. Why? Two words – Salmon and Rosemary. 😀

Next up is Chef Richie Custodio from CCA, one of the top culinary schools in the Philippines today. He prepared five (5) dishes for us with the help of students from CCA.

Chef Richie plates the Fruit Sparkle Lasagna -

Continue reading My ELBA Kitchen Cookbook Launch – Pasta Recipes Galore!

Ayala Westgrove Heights Mango Festival

On May 22nd, we were invited, along with a couple of fellow bloggers, to join Ayala Westgrove Heights Mango Festival in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. We were told there’ll be chefs preparing a couple of desserts for us, with Lori of Dessert Comes First hosting the demo. Oh, they already had us at mangoes!

Ayala Westgrove Heights in Sta. Rosa Laguna -

After a not-so-long trip to Laguna, we arrived at Ayala Westgrove Heights. It’s a 400-hectare (yeah, the place is huge!) orchard environment at the heart of the Calabarzon region.

The serene environment at Ayala Westgrove Heights really makes me want to live there someday -

While driving by the houses, we were raving about how most of them were constructed, plus the pretty unique designs, too. And with the foliage everywhere, you can only expect fresh air. Even when the sun was up, the warmth of the air around us was not as scorching as we were expecting. The environment is simply serene.

Fresh air, relaxing surroundings, serene environment awaits you at Ayala Westgrove Heights in Sta. Rosa, Laguna -

When we arrived at the sports center of Ayala Westgrove Heights, we were informed that the open house there isn’t like the usual, which is why they called it Mango Festival.

Prospective residents flocking the open house at Ayala Westgrove Heights in Laguna -

Because they pride on how much they nurture nature, especially the mango trees at the orchard in their neighborhood, they made sure they highlight that through the said event, which is part of their year-long 12th anniversary celebration.

Mangoes straight from the Ayala Westgrove Heights' Orchard -

You can even buy fresh mangoes right there. They were grown at their orchard. We were supposed to buy before we went home, but completely forgot. My mom would’ve loved to have a taste of those big, juicy mangoes!

Ken and I were with Ning and Eihdra who are both foodies, too. We were so lucky to be there since, as part of the Mango Festival, they invited two renowned dessert chefs – Buddy Trinidad and Sau del Rosario – for dessert preparation demos. Everyone, including the prospective residents, were welcome to watch and join in.

Chef Buddy Trinidad showing us how to prepare Mango Crunch while Lori of walk us through it -

First up was Chef Buddy Trinidad who prepared Mango Crunch. Lori walked us through what’s happening, asking questions here and there for our benefit.

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The Art of Cheese : Perfect Italiano Second Mystery Dinner

I heard about Perfect Italiano’s Mystery Dinners (aka guerilla dinners) from fellow bloggers and I was hoping my brother Ken and I would get to join next time around. So, when I found out on Perfect Italiano’s Facebook page that the signups for the second Mystery Dinner was open, I immediately informed him and my blogger friends to try their luck, too. Fortunately, Ken and I were picked to join their upcoming Mystery Dinner. And on May 13th, we were both excited about it, especially after we received the invite a day or two before. The only clues we received were to wear something artsy or with loud prints. Plus, this: A clue to the theme of Perfect Italiano's Second rMystery Dinner - We were told to be at Starbucks Magallanes and we’ll be “whisked away” to the mystery location for the dinner. After we met a few more people who got invited, including Richard from Tales from the Tummy, we headed off to the house of the mystery host somewhere around the area of Magallanes. Aside from the lovely people from Perfect Italiano, we also met Chef JJ Yulo of Pinoy Eats World, chefs who organize mystery or guerilla dinners and food tours in and around the Metro. Here he is, telling us briefly about the host. Chef JJ with a few words before we were let inside the house for the Mystery Dinner - Inside, we were greeted by the lovely Aleth Ocampo-Mapa. She’s an artist and loves to cook and bake, too. We were also introduced to Chef Namee who is a part of Pinoy Eats World. She and Chef JJ prepared all 8 courses for our dinner that night.

The lovely host Aleth with Chef JJ and Namee who prepared all the delectable food - from Perfect Italiano’s FB page)

Wait, did you read that part when I said we had an 8-course meal that night?! YES! If we only knew we’d  be eating that amount of food, we wouldn’t have had anything before dinner! 😀

All of us who were at the table - CertifiedFoodies.comOur fellow diners at the table, smiling for the camera while waiting on our first course.

(Photo from Perfect Italiano’s FB page) We were all seated at a long table. In front of us were the menu and info about the different cheeses of Perfect Italiano. The menu and the theme of the Mystery Dinner was revealed - The Art of Cheese - Continue reading The Art of Cheese : Perfect Italiano Second Mystery Dinner