Aside from gracing the largest lifestyle event of the year, TLC Festival 2019, the 2016 Food Hero winner Anton Amoncio will also talk about Cruise The World, where he embarks on a luxurious trip, making his way to experience the best cuisines of coastal wonderlands, including the Philippines.
What’s cooking with the Food Hero?
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2019 - 12:00am

Coming for a tummy-filling visit tomorrow, Nov. 16, is Fil-Chino culinary artist Anton Amoncio, 2016 Food Hero winner in the Asian Food Channel (AFC’s) and Food Network’s search for Asia Pacific’s best new culinary talent and screen personality.

Since he won, Anton has hosted on-air and web episodes of AFC’s original production Home Cooked Asia: Philippines, a series that showcases authentic home-style Filipino fare made simple.

Aside from gracing the largest lifestyle event of the year, TLC Festival 2019, the first Filipino chef ambassador to represent traditional Filipino food in Canada will also talk about Cruise The World where he embarks on a luxurious trip, making his way to experience the best cuisines of coastal wonderlands, one of which is the Philippines. 

Here’s Anton in an e-mail interview with The STAR:

How has life been since you won Food Hero in Asia Pacific’s best new culinary talent search in 2016?

“It opened a lot of doors for me both on and off the camera and it’s just great experience. Yeah, forever grateful.”

Which three Filipino food featured in Home Cooked Asia: Philippines have been a hit among your audience or viewers?

“That’s a tough one but I would say tinola, caldereta and of course, adobo.”

When and from whom did you inherit your love for cooking?

“It started when I was seven and a half, around eight. It’s my grandmother who influenced me to become a chef.”

Aside from tinola, what kind of Filipino food did you grow up on?

“I grew up in a Filipino-Chinese household, which is not where I would say –– in the Philippines, because we have a lot of Filipino-Chinese communities here, but I grew up in a household where our adobo has ginger and a ton of eggs. Kinda like the Taiwanese-style eggs. So, it kinda opened my eyes into different flavor profiles, I would say, at the very onset. And my grandmother loves to play around with food as well. Everything she puts out in the kitchen is her own recipe so that reached into my cooking style right now. Filipino-Chinese cuisine growing up.”

From there, what can you say is your favorite comfort food?

“Oh, my grandma’s tinola. Hands down.”

What complicated Filipino dish is the hardest to simplify?

“Oh, that is a tough one. For me, simplifying a dish is something I want to avoid because the beauty of cooking Filipino food comes from appreciating not just how it looks and tastes afterwards, but it is in the presentation ’cause there’s so much history going on behind that. Let’s say with our adobo, the reason why we make it as such is because back in the day, we don’t have a lot of refrigeration and we just wanna preserve our chicken and having that mindset coming inside the kitchen, it allows you for ­— you know, you cook without any shortcuts. That’s just something I wanna avoid.”

How do you prepare food for diabetics?

“Here’s the thing, my grandpa had diabetes and what I try to avoid is sugary ingredients that would trigger a reaction. I wanna avoid that. But I would prepare, green and leafy vegetables, ’cause that pretty much helps, and fatty fishes. Eggs are good, too. That’s pretty much it. I just avoid sugary food in general.”

Do you agree that we are what we eat?

“Oh yeah, for sure. One hundred percent because our physical and mental well-being is directly linked to what we eat and drink. For me, let’s say the nutritional content of what we eat determines the composition of our cell membranes like, let’s say skin, hair, nails, etc., that’s the reason why people take fish oil supplements and stuff to improve, to make their skin glow and some people eat fish. I feel like it determines a lot of things. It goes directly to our cells.”

What about your show Cruise the World, what surprises are you going to spring on us?

“Ah, you have to watch out for it. No spoilers. Mae will kick my butt. But I hope they see a different side of me that they don’t see in normal television. They get to see how I interact with the locals, how I hang out with Patty. Not just that, how the crew is, everyone is just so nice and Mae please, season two! Cruise the World is such a fantastic show, thank you. For surprises, they have to watch out for it. There are a lot of exciting stuff that happened and a lot of surprising things to see and experience.”

Tell us about your experience as the first Filipino chef ambassador in Canada.

“That was a surreal experience for me. Being able to cook with the best chefs in Canada is super, super cool. I had the privilege to work with the talented chefs of Canada’s Center of Excellence and in Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and cooking side by side with their executive chef, Jean-Francois, taught me a lot of things, too. It was a huge honor and at the same time, it was a fantastic experience and it was my very first ­— I experienced my very first snowfall, so I was like a kid.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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