Letting people in the food service industry keep themselves abreast of the latest in food trends is the aim of the newly launched series of online videos created by Unilever Food Solutions (UFS).
The bite-size videos, dubbed “Food Trends,” allow local chefs, cooks, caterers, restaurant operators and caterers to know the latest happenings in the dining scene around Southeast Asia.
“Our objective is to keep chefs and restaurant operators, big or small, equipped with the knowledge and skills to run their food business and commercial kitchen successfully,” said Seanta Reyes, UFS-Philippines marketing manager. “The ‘Food Trends’ videos at UFS.com are intended to help food business owners and operators. We believe that for them to stay in touch with customers, they need to stay in touch with the latest trends in the industry.”
The instructive videos tackle interesting topics in food production and operations: Food Tourism, Serving Portions, Dish Innovation, Creating Memorable Experiences, Smarter Kitchens, Rise of the Chef.
The Food Tourism video points out that in 2013, based on tourism data, there were around 4.7 million tourist arrivals in the Philippines, a 10-percent increase from 2012’s 4.3 million. Philippine food tourism did much to contribute to this growth.
“Imagine the captured market,” said Carlos “Pipo” Aluning, UFS sous chef. “Local cuisine takes the spotlight as more and more people, domestic and international tourists alike, plan their destinations and itineraries around food. Tourists are keen on sharing their experiences as they try a wider variety of cuisines and look forward to tasting the most daring dish innovations they can find.”
Aluning mentioned the Secret Garden of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. It’s one of the most-blogged-about restaurants and often gets rave reviews because of the authenticity and variety of its food.
“If we localize it, Abé’s Farm is one of the top restaurants that promote authentic Pinoy cuisine. We must also understand that restaurant food should not only be presentable, but must be Instagram-ready. We now take pictures of our food before we eat them. Therefore, look is very important to make the business thrive. UFS online videos will help you improve your offerings.”
The launch of the “Food Trends” online videos was held last week at Abé’s Farm in Magalang, Pampanga. Noted restaurateur Larry J. Cruz opened the place as a tribute to his father, the writer and editor Emilio Aguilar Cruz.
Abé’s Farm has been getting exceptional reviews for serving a full menu of Kapampangan food and signature dishes from the LJC restaurant chain. The food is enjoyed in the comforts of a dreamy bamboo and antique wood rest house.
During the launch, all-time favorites were served including Sinigang na Bangus Belly sa Bayabas, Kare-Kare, Laing, Grilled Pork Belly, Binukadkad na Pla-Pla with Buro, Bamboo Rice, Bicol Express, Pinakbet Capampangan and Crispy Pata.
Dessert was Sikreto ni Maria, rice cake and mango slices covered with macapuno ice cream and topped with grated panotsa (cane sugar).
With demand and competition on the rise, Reyes said, operating a commercial kitchen is not an easy task for restaurant owners and chefs. UFS believes it can help food providers by
giving them information and resources to keep up with a quickly evolving industry.
As one of the world’s top food service companies, UFS provides professional ingredients and services to customers ranging from five-star hotels and large food chains to school canteens and neighborhood eateries.
Its popular products include Knorr liquid seasonings and powder mixes, Lady’s Choice mayonnaise, Best Foods mayonnaise and Lipton teas.
UFS also runs a Chefmanship Academy in the Philippines which works with chefs and operators to train staff on hygiene standards and other essential skills needed in running a food business. More than 5,000 food operators have been trained on food costing, menu planning and inventory management.
“It’s really about sharing ideas, whether new dishes or recipes or a special promo in the restaurant. We help our partners to really know what they need, how to make their kitchen flourish, efficient and profitable, and how to make their guests come back because of the food they serve,” said Aluning.
E-mail the author at vbaga@ inquirer.com.ph.
PHOTOS BY ARNOLD ALMACEN