1) I’ve become a better podcaster.
I feel much more confident as an interviewer, editor, mixer and producer after six episodes…there are a lot of hats to wear on a show you do yourself!
Technical challenges were everywhere, and they took way more of my time and patience than expected. First my website, then the RSS feed, went down thanks to some rogue code…and after 8 hours of helping frustrated clients fix their own website issues (at my day job), troubleshooting my own podcast site errors when I got home had very, very little appeal. (Someday, I hope to have production help!)
One personal success that ended up creating an enormous impact on my workflow was the decision to care less about flawless editing. I know - I’ll get to Radiolab level one day, but for now, I’ve learned to let mistakes go and stop spending hours fussing over minor details. It's a personality issue. But I've realized that effectively telling the story is key, and that letting the natural flow of conversation be heard by listeners is what makes my program unique.
2) I’ve been writing about food - and getting published!
I wrote a piece for NOW Magazine called “Toronto Chefs Celebrate Filipino Culture With Ulam”, about a local culinary arts mentorship program created by some outstanding young people (which later led to a 7 minute TV feature on CBC News!). There were so many interesting things about this program - that it was created by youth for youth, meant to engage participants in discovering their individual connections to Filipino food culture. Led by Chef Daniel Cancino of Lamesa Filipino Kitchen, these weekly workshops taught concrete cooking skills, stewardship of land by visiting farms, professional experience by staging at acclaimed restaurant kitchens in Toronto…free for young folks who applied. As a partnership between organizations that advocate for youth-led arts and culture initiatives, this program was totally one-of-a-kind!
The Filipino Food Movement’s blog is relaunching…watch for my interview with San Francisco-based Chef Francis Ang of Pinoy Heritage soon!
I’m now a contributing blogger for The Kitchen Bookstore, Southeast Asia’s first independent online bookstore specializing in food and wine titles. Read “Finding Your Roots Through Food Books” here! The Kitchen Bookstore is based in the Philippines, and I’ve been getting my fix of Philippine food books (not limited to recipe cookbooks) from these fine folks for a while. If you’re in the market for a specialty bookseller - especially if you’re interested in Filipiniana - look no further, they’ll ship to where you are!
3) I’ve been working with some incredible people/organizations.
“Dishing Up Toronto!” is the kind of event I’ve been dreaming of doing for the past year and a half - only I didn’t really know how it was going to happen, who to start contacting, and primarily, whether people would even be interested in this particular event format specifically about Filipino food. In essence, the idea is to gather guests and hosts around a communal dinner table to talk about food and the traditions, culture, and history surrounding it. “Dishing Up Toronto!” is that and so much more. I’m forever grateful to the Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts and Culture for allowing myself and my co-host, Joyce, to lead this event.
I completed the World Food Travel Association’s “Certified Culinary Travel Professional” certification program. I’ve been reading books, journals, and other source material on food tourism for a while now and finally got the opportunity to apply for membership. I learned a ton through the course, and look forward to continuing research on my idea of creating Filipino food tours unlike what’s currently in the market…. Exciting stuff!
The “Hidden Flavors of the Philippine Kitchen” North American Food Tour is making a stop in Toronto on October 1-4, 2017. I’ve been working with a very small group here in Toronto to arrange a public dinner during their visit, which will feature ingredients from the Philippines at risk of disappearing, married with the best of Ontario’s food products. This event is the pinnacle of my 2017 projects. I’m outrageously humbled that Amy Besa - an author, advocate for sustainably sourced Philippine ingredients that speak of our heritage, respected restaurateur - have provided many of us the opportunity to share stories about food in the Philippines to audiences in Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Toronto. Lots will be happening in the coming months!