Cooking with the talented Erik Santos
KITCHEN SPY - KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng () - November 30, 2006 - 12:00am
Erik Santos has become a familiar face and voice because of his numerous hits, such as It Might Be You, I Believe I Can Fly, This Is The Moment, Pagbigyan Muli, Di Ko Kaya, Now That I Have You, I’ll Never Go, and many more. Not bad for a young guy who only became familiar to many TV viewers for being the grand champion on Star in a Million 2003.

Talent is something Erik definitely has, and it seems that the lucky stars are smiling upon him. Avid viewers of reality-based talent shows will remember that Erik had earlier been eliminated from the contest; he was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the contestants to return to the show when they needed new talent. Months of grueling and intense competition followed, and he survived further elimination, eventually landing a spot in the finals. He recalls, "Bumawi sa last night. That night para akong sinapian ng 10 angels. In my mind, I was already satisfied to be runner-up, but noong kumanta na ako, nagbago ang ikot ng mundo ko (I recovered on the last night. It was as if 10 angels were watching over me. In my mind, I was already satisfied to be runner-up, but when I sang, my world turned for the better)."

As champion, he received a house and lot worth P1 million, a recording contract, and a hosting stint on ASAP. He adds: "Akala ko, doon na natapos ’yun, but mas naging triple pa ang blessings. Nag-multiply. Nakabili ako ng sasakyan, bahay (I thought it would all end with that, but my blessings tripled. It multiplied. I was able to buy a car, a house). I had concerts abroad. Nakasama ko ang mga biggest stars sa Philippines, Middle East and the US. I was able to perform with Regine Velasquez, Pops Fernandez, Gary Valenciano, Sharon Cuneta, Lea Salonga, Martin Nievera, Vina Morales and my co-champions, like Sarah Geronimo, Christian Bautista, Sheryn Regis and Mark Bautista."

What is charming about Erik is that he is down-to-earth. He knows too well that all these are blessings. He is not boastful, still very refined, even if he obviously gets excited talking about his accomplishments.

In 2004, he went on to win Aliw Awards’ Best New Male Artist and Best New Male Artist. He also won the People’s Choice Awards’ Most Promising Balladeer, and the Star Awards’ Most Promising New Male Artist 2004. In 2006, he was awarded Pinoy Music Awards’ Most Favorite Song by a Male Recording Artist, and MYX Awards’ Most Favorite Male Artist 2006. And why not? Despite being a newbie, his album "Star In A Million" has gone double platinum, "This Is The Moment" went triple platinum, and "Loving You Now" has already reached platinum. His latest album, "Erik Santos: Your Love" has the carrier single Your Love and Maging Sino Ka Man, which is the theme song for the new teleserye on ABS-CBN.

On the concert front, he will have a repeat concert of "When Erik Met Rufa: The Repeat" at the Aliw Theater. He will also be going abroad this November and December touring the Middle East and the United States.

He surely deserves all the breaks he is getting. Talent is not something he lacks. In fact, he was born with it. Erik grew up in a family of singers. His brother sings in a band, his father was a member of a combo and plays the clarinet, while his sisters can belt out a tune as well.

The talent translates to the kitchen, too. Both his parents cook. His paternal lolo actually owned a restaurant in Malabon and was popular for his puto bumbong, kare-kare, and bibingka, and is known to make the best okoy in Malabon. Aside from his family’s influence, he learned cooking during his school’s observance of Nutrition Month, during which he trained in cooking pasta and chicken pastel. This recipe he shares today he got from watching an episode of Del Monte Kitchenomics when he was younger. Who would have thought that the young boy who used to watch a lot of television would be the same young talent watched by millions of televiewers?
Erik Santos’ Pininyahang Manok
1 whole chicken
1 can pineapple tidbits
2 onions, chopped
Garlic, ground
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 can liver spread
1 can Nestlé cream
2-1/2 cups evaporated milk
2 medium-sized carrots, chopped
4 medium-sized red and green bell peppers
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 kilo sausage

Heat the pan and add oil. Sauté garlic until it turns golden brown. Add onions, then mix in the chicken. Wait for 15 minutes until the meat softens. Then add the liver spread and the water. Mix well. Add the Nestlé cream and evaporated milk at the same time. Mix until liquid boils. Season with salt and pepper. Add pineapple tidbits, sausage, and bell peppers to the mix. Cover for five minutes until cooked.
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