F And B World : January-February 2010
5 www.hip.ph blu nt." He adds that he is a joker, a perfectionist, and a bit twisted when it comes to his sense of hu mor. "It's different from being a joker because if you tell me you don't eat papaya because you don't like the smell, I am going to give you papaya the whole time. I am twisted that way," he lets out with a hearty laugh. Chef Bruce went through the usual stages of a young chef's professional life, taking up Superior Level of Cuisine and Pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in London. He worked for various hotels and establishments across America such as the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, California and the MGM Grand Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, a mong others. He also enjoyed stints at the Centu ry Park Sheraton Hotel and Jollibee Food Corporation here in the Philippines. Recently, he made the decision to per manently settle back in the Philippines and trace his roots. A LOVE FOR EVERYTHING PINOY Despite his foreign upbringing a nd education, and American twang, Chef Br uce is really Filipino to the core. He grew up with Filipino food, thanks to his gra ndmother's exceptional cooking. "She's Kapampangan (from Pa mpa nga, a province know n for great food and good cooks). She w as a two -hou r drive away from where we lived," he recalls. His fond memories include how his grandmother would call and ask him and his family what they FOOD ANGEL One may not believe it but behind the slim figure of Angel Aquino is a foodie at heart, full of adventure and willing to take on any challenge. This lady, who first caught the public’s eye with her Filipina beauty and alluring smile, has acquired quite a following as an accomplished actress in well-chosen films and as an articulate host in a variety of lifestyle shows. So it is not surprising that she was picked to be the co-host of Chef Bruce Lim on Tablescapes. “I was never a vegetarian!” Aquino exclaims. “On a normal day when I am not taping, I stay away from red meat. But when I’m on the show ( Tablescapes), I eat whatever Chef prepares for me or whatever is on the table. I just have to eat everything, from tamilok (a worm- like mollusk found in mangroves), to ants, bugs, and almost anything! As long as you call it food, as long as you say it’s edible, I will eat it.” She is genuinely game at trying new things thrown her way. “I am a real trooper. I don’t mind going through anything just to see and discover what I haven’t seen,” she says matter-of-factly. PHOTO BY JOJO G LORIA PHOTOS BY BENJAMIN CHAN wanted to eat, and then in just a span of two hours, upon entering her driveway, they would im mediately be greeted with the a roma of the su mptuous feast already prepared: adobo, menudo, kare- kare, and whatever else they asked for. "Filipino food is my comfort food," he says with a smile. BRINGING IT TO THE TABLE Now, Chef Br uce is bringing together his inter national backgrou nd a nd Pinoy vibe, whether through his TV show, his restaurant, or his various consultancies. In tur n, he is fast rising as a celebrity chef in demand. To date, he has guested in various TV shows a nd food events, including the very popula r Pinoy Big Brother Double Up where he served as a guest judge for a cooking segment. His restaurant is sometimes booked weeks ahead of time, as his admirers get to see him personally concoct his signature dishes using only the freshest ingredients available. He is also kept very busy as the chef- consultant for premiere Asia n brand, Lee Kum Kee. Most impressive perhaps is that Tablescapes, which has him traveling around the Philippines with Angel Aquino to u nearth the country's culinary delights, is the only Philippine-produced food show to be broadcast all arou nd Asia through the Asia n Food Network (AFC). In essence, Chef Bruce has become the culinary voice of the Philippines to a diverse and food-sav vy Asian audience. CHEF BRUCE HAS BECOME THE CULINARY VOICE OF THE PHILIPPINES TO A DIVERSE AND FOOD- SAVVY ASIAN AUDIENCE.