Ingress in progress the afternoon before the event . . . Fifty kiosks set up with unique wares, seasonal novelties, food, food and more food . . . Smiling suppliers in joyful anticipation of this year’s remarkably noteworthy event . . . Oven and stove conveniently set up right smack at the center of an enclosure definitely much bigger than a cubicle. Famous chefs will liven up this part of the hall . . . soon.
Come the day of the event, the Philippine National Anthem plays right on time: nine o’clock on a beautiful Thursday morning on the 7th day of November 2013 . . . Fr. Art Borja, S.J. kicks off the day with the Opening Prayer followed by the statement of the motivating reason for the day’s event by Mr. Peter Marc D. Magsalin, Principal of ERDA Technical and Vocational Secondary School.
Angelic voices blend into a soothing melody at the Angelo King Multi-Purpose Center . . . What a blessing to witness selected students from ERDA sing their hearts out as if saying a resounding THANK YOU already even before the event is launched.
The School President, Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, S.J., (fondly called Fr. Ari) formally opens the event with his usual warmth, his hopeful smile quite assuring and certain that the day promises fun and fruitful gains.
When we talk about cooking, one of the salient matters to have is fire. In this event, fire comes in two forms. One is literally the fire for cooking and the other, the inspiration or the fire of enthusiasm that comes from the lady behind this great undertaking. There is no need for introduction as she is THE famous Chef Reggie Aspiras. But hold your fire, the significance of this day has just begun.
Some of Chef Reggie’s favorite fellow chefs rallied together to strengthen not just the friendship that they share but the purpose by which this endeavor was conceived.
Atching Lillian Lising-Borromeo, a food historian whose name is synonymous to Kapampangan cuisine was the curtain raiser. She shared her love affair with cooking with the 20 mothers in attendance and had them experience making the Panecillos de San Nicolas, a pastry intricately-designed and shaped in a hand-carved mold. What more, the day was blessed even richly with the cooking expertise and practical sharings of Chef Jessie Sincioco, a firmly-established personality in the world of gastronomy. Add to that is Chef RJ Gonzales and not to miss Chef Philip Golding, an experienced and trusted culinary adviser, who unequivocally shared his expert skill with his usual ease and patience.
Smell and Taste this:
On this day, the hall was filled with this all-so-inviting atmosphere and aroma of a rich blend of distinctively fresh, premium quality, healthy and nourishing food. While the five chefs were in action with the ever-eager-to-learn moms in their “cave” (so named by Chef Reggie), guests, teachers and students lazed around the bazaar area. They feasted on the food for tasting offered by Chef Reggie’s favorite food suppliers, some of whom came from nearby provinces and even as far as Davao. Everyone marveled at the items on sale, not to forget how reasonably-priced they were. They most certainly filled their shopping bags with the unusual home and kitchen items; wines and health drinks; chocolate and baked goodies; dairy and vegetable products; books and magazines; novelty gift and Christmas items. They shopped till they dropped, indeed! And the door prizes, compliments of the bazaar suppliers themselves, were overflowing!
Unbridled friendship and sense of compassion and service rolled into one.
That started it all.
Fr. Ari closes the event with the formal presentation of the symbolic monetary gift by Chef Reggie herself. This gift was borne out of the entrance ticket sales plus a certain percentage from the bazaar sales. Proceeds from this event make the students of ERDA grateful recipients, for the advancement of their technical and vocational skills. The friendship and support given by 50 of Chef Reggie’s favorite suppliers and her associate chefs are truly inspiring and worthy of praise. Also, friends who comprise the Soup Kitchen Moms group (at one time called the XShop Moms) under the wing of Mrs. Vivian Go, willingly and eagerly took care of the logistical part of the event. That goes without saying that the friendships formed within the Xavier community has made the event truly worthwhile and meaningful.