Chefs band for education | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Back in the ’80s and even the early ’90s, if a high school graduate said that he/she wanted a degree in either the culinary arts or education, they would have raised a few eyebrows and have caused their parents sleepless nights. Be a doctor! A lawyer!

These days of the celebrity chef, culinary artistry has become the career du jour. Be a chef! Meanwhile, education has fallen further down the ladder of career undesirability—unless you planned on being a domestic help abroad. This, as it turns out, is why there has been a marked rise in excellent restaurants in the city while the educational system is caught in a seemingly unstoppable tailspin.

Alarmed at the state of Philippine educa tion, some of the CEOs and presidents of top companies gathered some years ago to take action. Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) counts among its board members Washington Sycip, Ramon del Rosario of Phinma, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala of Ayala Corp., Manuel Pangilinan of PLDT-Smart, Aurelio Montinola III of Bank of the Philippine Islands, Lance Gokongwei of JG Summit Holdings, and Edgar Chua of Pilipinas Shell.

Studies showed that a cause for the abysmal educational standards was the failure of the education sector to recruit the best and brightest graduates into its ranks.

Worried parents, judgmental peers and an appalling market value for the services of educators have all served as teaching-career disincentives for the country’s top graduates.

PBEd then decided that it would raise enough money to give scholarships to 1,000 deserving students to pursue education degrees from the country’s top education-degree universities. The strategy was to remove from the parents the burden of paying for a college education, making it easier for them to consent to teaching careers for their children, therefore infusing the profession with some of our country’s top graduates.

When Chito Salazar, PBEd president and education reform activist, was given marching orders by the board to raise the seed money for the scholarship fund, now called “1,000 Teachers,” he immediately recognized the potential of the culinary arts to help uplift the nobly suffering teaching profession. He saw it as an opportunity to equalize the disparities between two unequal sectors.

He sought the help of the some of the country’s most exciting celebrity chefs, The Philippine Tatler and the Inquirer to collaborate on a full-coursed dinner.

This year he first approached Colin Mckay of Sala, Margarita Fores of Cibo and Vicky Rose Pacheco of Chateau 1771 to come up with an initial concept.

At their suggestion, the list was expanded to include Norbert Gandler of Aubergine, Rob Pengson of The Goose Station and Pierre Benedict of Ristorante Carpaccio, along with Brett Tolhurst of The Wine Depot, and a top-notch design team composed of Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre of Firma, for the interiors, and Baby Imperial and Coco Anne of B & C for the graphics.

The chefs embraced the idea of supporting education by volunteering to train two apprentices from culinary schools around the country for a week to help prepare the dinner.

The 2nd Chefs for Education dinner hosted by PBEd will take place at Whitespace Pasong Tamo Extension on Aug. 27.

According to Colin McKay, “Here is  the menu presented around the key ingredients. The method of preparation, garnishing are not indicated to allow for some element of surprise.”

Tasmanian ocean trout, seared scallops and Bacolod cross crab

Goat’s cheese gnocchi, soubise, speck and Davao Pecorino

Pot-au-feu de canard

Black Wagyu striploin, celeriac and mustard

Brillat Savarin, spiced tomato conserve

Rhubarb and strawberries

Call or text Paulo Eugenio at 0915-9385359.