Friday, May 2, 2008

Business Mirror

Cooks, by Nancy Reyes-Lumen
Filipino Culinary Books Awarded by Gourmand World
Business Mirror, May 2-3, 2008

TWO culinary books by Filipinos won top awards in their respective book categories. This is a milestone for Filipino publications and will certainly energize the culinary genre of the publishing industry. At last, the reading public of the world will be made more aware of our country’s rich culinary culture.

Felice Sta. Maria’s work, The Governor-General’s Kitchen: Philippine Culinary Vignettes and Period Recipes—1521-1935, is one of the two Best Culinary History Book winners, published from 2006-07. The book is by Anvil Publishing. Her book competed with 24 country winners in the Food History Book category. Turkey won first place, while Denmark and Australia tied for third place. In the local scene, Governor-General’s Kitchen received the 2006 National Book Award for Food and the Best Design honors, another winning work by winning book designer Ige Ramos.

The rich collection of vignettes in Felice’s book covers Philippine culinary traditions. Very interesting are the menus and recipes collected from years on or before 1935, which reflect the culinary influences of the period.

Gourmand World Cookbook also awarded Marily Orosa and Cecilia Brainard the third place in the Food Literature category. This was for their book A La Carte: Food and Fiction, which they collected and edited. It is also by Anvil. In this category, 22 country winners competed and first place went to Greece, second place went to Germany, while the Philippine book tied with Colombia. In A La Carte, the varied food experiences of 25 contributors enrich the pages and show how food is shaped by the complexity of everyday relationships.

Both The Governor-General’s Kitchen: Philippine Culinary Vignettes and Period Recipes—1521 to 1935 and A La Carte: Food and Fiction are currently on exhibit at the London Book Fair and will also be at the biggest book fair worldwide: the Frankfurt Book Fair in mid-October. These titles will also be entered in the Gourmand Yearbook 2008. The yearbook will have a photo of the front cover, plus the contact details, and will serve as a source material for the international cookbook market, including publishers, authors, multimedia, printers bookstores and many more related institutions.

More winners

IN other departments of book production, other local artists were cited in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. The third-place winner in the Asian Cuisine Cookbook is entitled Foodlore and Flavors—Inside the South East Asian Kitchen, written by Tan Su-Lyn with some contributions by Michaela Fenix. The book was cited for its beautiful photography and postproduction work by Artpostasia, an outfit led by Neal Oshima, one of Asia’s top photographers, based in the Philippines.

And for another winning book: Hot Tomatoes by Angelo Macdonnell, with Chester Ong, also a Filipino, providing the photos and images.

It’s wonderful to receive good news about awards and distinctions given to our local artists, writers and publishers. The path to world recognition in gastronomy has been blazed and may this path be taken by more titles and works in the coming years. Without a doubt, the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards has primed the creative minds in our culinary culture with its prestigious recognition of our writers and artists. There will be more than just a “menu” of winners in the coming will be a feast!

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