Friday, May 2, 2008


Philippines wins Gourmand World Awards
ROSES & THORNS By Alejandro R. Roces
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
From Philippine Star

Three Philippine books garnered major awards at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards held last April 13 at the Olympia Theater in London. The brainchild of Edouard Cointreau in 1995, Gourmand is the only truly international food book award. It not only gives awards but also promotes its finalists at major book fairs around the world, thereby assisting publishers and authors expand their markets at no cost to them. Cointreau believes that people of different nations can find their common humanity in the study of cuisine and its related realms.

The Governor-General’s Kitchen: Philippine Culinary Vignettes and Period Recipes, 1521 to 1935 is now one of the two Best Culinary History books in the world published from 2006 to 2007. Written by Felice Prudente Sta. Maria and released by Anvil Publishing, the book competed with national winners from 24 countries in the Food History Book category. Designed by Guillermo Ramos, The Governor-General’s Kitchen was selected the Best Designed Philippine Cookbook among Philippine entries. Turkey won first place, with Denmark and Australia tied in third place.

Foodlore and Flavor: Inside the South East Asian Kitchen took third place in the Asian Cuisine Book category in which 17 countries competed. The book is by Tan Su-Lyn with photographs by Neal Oshima for the Philippine publishing house of Artpostasia. The cookbook has 80 recipes from 10 Southeast Asian nations by the most respected food writers and experts. United Arab Emirates and Austria won first and second rankings, respectively. The United Kingdom’s Wild Wild East by Bobby Chinn for Conran Octopus Publishing tied for third place.

Gourmand Award noted that there are “excellent writers in the Philippines.” The book A La Carte: Food and Fiction published by Anvil took third place, with 22 countries competing in the Food Literature Category. Collected and edited by two former Maryknoll classmates, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard and Marily Orosa, the stories and recipes by 25 authors “reveal Filipino culture in a unique way,” writes Gourmand. Greece and Germany won first and second place, respectively with Colombia’s book Fogon de Negros by German PatiƱo for Convenio Andres Bello publishing tying with the Philippines.

Filipino photographer Chester Ong, who specializes in architecture and food photography, provides images for Hot Tomatoes by Angelo Macdonnell for Elite Champ Ltd. The book published in Hong Kong where Ong is based now, won third place in the Single Subject Category.

There were 107 countries with thousands of books that competed this year. All finalists are now exhibited at the London Book Fair and will be displayed at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. Gourmand records that in 2005, sales of cookbooks in the world increased at a steady 5 percent a year since 1994. There were 24,000 new titles that year, double of ten years earlier.

I remember when “the global village” was still a prediction. Today broadcasting, electronic media, and air travel have made the global village a reality. As we become increasingly interested in our planet, it is time for the Philippines to assert its rich and hospitable culture more in world media. Food books are certainly one way to appreciate the Philippines and its people. Congratulations to our country’s winners for bringing Philippine cuisine to the attention of the world market. Gourmand Awards deserves our appreciation for spotting the fine work of our writers, photographers and publishers.

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