I was lucky to be invited to the embassy of the United States of America for a digital video conference with Chef Cristeta Comerford. The event was at 7:00 am following American time and was attended by prominent industry foodies and members of the Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) and culinary academe.
The video dialogue was an open forum done in real time with 17 other web cast sites in different parts of the world last August 30, 2007.
Chef Cristeta is the first female and Filipina to become executive chef of the White House. She is a food tech undergrad from UP. After several stints in different
US hotels, she became a chef at the White House. She worked there for 10 years and eventuallyreplaced executive chef Walter Scheib III when he resigned. Aside from feeding the Bush family, she is also responsible for preparing menus for state dinners, social events and functions hosted by the president and the first lady.
This chef’s comfort food is rice topped with condensed milk and bananas.Her favorite kitchen tools are her microplane and her kitchen knives. She cried watching the movie ‘RATATOUILLE”, and yes she has introduced and included Filipino food on her menu.
She is surprised at the proliferation of culinary schools in the
Philippines. She hopes it will open doors for the younger generation. She however feels that culinary schools should also consider low income students.
Here are some remarkable insights from this woman who is proud to be a Filipina chef:
Don’t let your gender be a hinder.Take everything as a challenge, challenge yourself…it is a good thing.Be true to yourself and don’t forget who you are and what made you.You don’t have to use the most expensive ingredients to come up with a good product.
Use fresh ingredients and you don’t need to add a lot of things.