MANILA, Philippines–Although the dining details for the much-awaited visit of Pope Francis in January have yet to be planned, a caterer is planning to delight the papal palate with various versions of the popular chicken adobo identified as being Filipino.
“Of course, the timeless chicken adobo will be included in the menu. It has many versions,” said Steve Tamayo, who was most likely to be tasked, as in previous big Church events, with serving food for the Pope during his five-day visit to the country next year.
Tamayo is the owner of Tamayo’s Catering Services and Restaurant, conveniently situated just behind Manila Cathedral in the historic Intramuros, one of the many destinations of the Pope in the capital.
The Pope is expected to arrive in the Philippines on Jan. 15. He is scheduled to fly to Leyte province to be with survivors of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) on Jan. 17. The rest of his visit will be spent in Metro Manila.
Tamayo said that while nothing was official yet, friends from the clergy had advised him to prepare for the coming of Pope Francis.
“Actually, everything is still in the planning stage. But I was already advised to get ready because usually when there is a big event in the Church, I am tasked to cater food,” Tamayo told reporters.
He said he had already spruced up the family-owned Villa Immaculada, an events place and catering services in Intramuros, just in time for the papal visit.
The caterer said the kitchen had been renovated and that he had bought a brand-new walk-in freezer to ensure the high quality of food for the Pope.
“My kitchen is now bigger in preparation for my catering services because we serve food up to 10,000 people a day. This is to make sure that when the Pope comes, food will be delightful and of quality,” he added.
Tamayo said serving Pope Francis chicken adobo might be “the way” for Filipino cuisine to achieve international stature, which has been a longtime dream of many hotel managers and restaurateurs in the country.
“I am on the board of directors of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines and we are really pushing for Filipino food to gain international stature. So, this might be one way,” he said.
Aside from adobo, Tamayo said he was also prepared to come up with a fusion cuisine for the Pope, which would include Italian dishes.
Lechon (roasted pig) will also be an item on the menu, he added.
“It will really depend on what the organizers will request. Villa Immaculada is just behind Manila Cathedral so definitely, food orders will come. That’s why I am always prepared,” he said.
Tamayo said he has been providing food for the past 17 years every time the Church has big events, the most recent of which was the World Meeting of Families, when he fed 28,000 people.
“So even if nothing is official yet, I am already preparing for the coming of the Pope,” he said.