Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pinoy Masterchef: The story of penne, aligue, and the live crabs

I know most of you would love to ask me what’s that dish that coveted the spot in the audition and why that dish?

I still can remember up to now the details of how I was in control of the interview. I greeted the five panelists, stated my name, my age, where I came from, where I am staying and what I am doing right now. I emphasized my being a civil engineer and worked in Cebu's top real estate company to give them a hint I don't have any culinary background. And then I introduced my piece:

“I prepared today a tomato-based pasta named ‘penne in rich aligue sauce with grilled tomatoes and bell peppers.’ What’s so unique with this dish is, I used only the freshest tomatoes and I do away from using the commercial pastes and sauces, plus I used the ‘real’ parmigiano reggiano cheese since I would like to create a real italian dish with a pinoy twist. The pinoy twist in the dish is the aligue. I had a hard time looking for this ingredient here in Cebu knowing that this is not a staple in this region. The crabs I used were alive and I cooked them just this morning for this dish. Youtube played an important role in how I properly executed the preparation of the live crabs. I also added grilled tomatoes because I am a tomato lover, it added texture to the dish. The grilled green peppers also added a new dimension in the aroma of the dish."

“Why this dish? It reminded me of two things: my childhood and my home in Gensan. Back in Gensan, we have lots of supply of fresh cheap crabs. Whenever we have crabs in the table, it is always a family feast. We all love crabs. The aligue paste reminded me of my childhood. Since my father is Kapampangan, the ‘taba ng talangka’ has always been a staple condiment in our table. It spruces up anything that is bland and dry. I missed my family in Gensan and it has been a while since the last time I went home. Preparing this dish makes me feel at home”

“Where did I learn how to cook? Well, I must say I am blessed that I came from a family with two different cultures. My father is Kapampangan, and all of us are required to cook. My mother hails from Iloilo, and they have different way in preparing dishes. We were taught young on how to cook”

I guess it was me who did not give an opportunity for the interviewers to ask questions. After having said those lines, they just tasted my dish, bade them goodbye and went outside. 

My winning recipe was first featured in the blog of my friend, Tiny Kusina.

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