Pinoylicious Wine and Dine
By Mila Astorga-Garcia
TORONTO–Organizers of Pinoylicious Wine and Dine – a food, wine and music event to promote Philippine cuisine in a grand way to Toronto’s mainstream diners – are jubilant over the success of their initial effort.
“It exceeded our expectations,” confides international Sommelier Arlene Oliveros to this writer immediately after the event held on March 24, 2017, at the York Mills Gallery in North York.
The event showcased Filipino food by five of Toronto’s local Filipino chefs and restaurants (Lamesa, Casa Manila, Kanto by Tita Flips, Kabalen, and FV Foods) was achieved, with the appropriate wines curated by Oliveros, as musical numbers were performed by professional singer Lilac Caña, also an organizer.
“It was really highly successful,” says Caña of the event, ticketed at $125 per person. “It was a success not really as a money-making thing which it was not intended to be,” but to promote our food and our culture… “so that Canadians will eventually seek out Filipino restaurants regularly,” the way they do with Chinese, Thai and Korean food. “Right now, Filipino food in Canada is relatively still under the radar,” Caña observes. In due time, however, by exposing authentic Filipino dishes to the mainstream, “people will eventually appreciate it for what it is, appreciate our culture and eventually buy into it, she adds.”
Caña further observes that there are now a lot Filipino-Canadian millennials who are “awesome chefs” who are either already making a name for themselves as successful Filipino restaurateurs, or outstanding chefs in mainstream establishments like the Four Seasons Hotel.
The sit-down dinner which featured Filipino dishes fancifully presented as gourmet delicacies which included a tasty tuna appetizer in a shrimp cracker shell which some Filipino guests described as “kinilaw;” kare-kare; puto at dinuguan; morcon; served with some six or seven varieties of wines from different countries; capped with the popular Filipino dessert – Brazo de Mercedes, paired with Canadian Ice Wine.
Service was professionally staffed by “some of Toronto’s brightest wine sommeliers” and smart student chefs of Toronto’s best cooking schools, which made for a very efficient and pleasant dining experience. Staff made sure they served an appropriate dish, such as laing and vegetable lumpia to vegetarian dinners.
Inspired by the success of their first venture, Caña says another Pinoylicious event is being planned for July this year.