In 1957, my mom Nora started the very first cooking show, “Let’s Cook With Nora,” on ABS-CBN along Roxas Boulevard. Television was only black and white back then, and there were only two or three channels. In later years, I remember many known personalities who would go and visit the cooking studio to eat whatever was cooked on that day. That went on until the ’90s.
At one point during the late ’80s, my sister Nina and I were given the frightening news by my mom’s secretary that we were to host her cooking show because she had left for Paris. We had no choice: She had already left!
To our surprise, the first taping day went smoothly, we had such a great time that we continued hosting the show until past the turn of the century while my mom stayed in Paris.
Cooking or food shows were not as common back then as they are now. We had a vague idea of who our televiewers were because of the occasional comments and praises of people on how much they enjoyed the dishes they duplicated at home.
I left for Canada in 2001 and the show ran until 2004 with me traveling from Manila to Vancouver and back every other month. It was not easy traveling 13,000 miles to get to work and back each time so I prayed that the Lord would lighten my burden. He answered me and for some reason, the show had to go off the air, “Lord naman. ’di na mabiro!”
My family and I came back to settle in Manila last 2010. Between those years, I was delighted to find out that the growth of the culinary industry in our country grew by leaps and bounds.
Before I left, there were only a handful of cooking enthusiasts and chefs. Today, there are foodies and food bloggers along with thousands of chefs. Culinary schools are sprouting like mushrooms.
There has also been an influx of foreign chefs that has raised the bar of cuisine in our country. We have become exposed to authentic tasting foreign cuisines. Dishes that many previously found delicious were no longer as appealing to the palate since taste standards have gone higher. Competition is tough, challenging for the restaurateur, but exciting for the consumer.
In France, the word “chef” is actually short for chef de cuisine or head of the kitchen. It is a high-ranking managerial role including and not limited to creating recipes, writing menus, costing and portioning, basically CEO to anything that relates to operating a full-scale kitchen. No easy task. But in our country, it seems that anyone that has gone to a cooking school is called a chef. Whatever the title, bottom line is to satisfy the discerning palate of the consumer.
Looking back, I believe that my mother Nora Daza had some influence on this culinary frenzy.
Visit sandydaza.blogspot.com, follow on Twitter @sandydaza.