MNL—UNICEF Australia’s National Ambassador for Nutrition and Master Chef Australia 2009 winner Adam Liaw hosted a cooking demonstration during the Taste of Australia 2019, held at Greenbelt 3 Open Park in Makati City last 27 April. Adam prepared a lamb and a beef steak pasta dish using ingredients imported from Australia but available in the Philippine market.

Adam’s style of cooking is simple and uses fresh ingredients. He shared to an audience composed of Filipino and Australian food enthusiasts as well as culinary students that you can make a simple dish with only two ingredients and it could taste great. Complexity, according to him, does not dictate taste or flavour.

Adam encouraged questions from his audience while he conducted the demo, oftentimes interrupted himself by commenting, “I talk too much. This (dish) would have been done in a few minutes had I not been talking.”

The audience did appreciate the banter as well as the humour as he answered questions such as his thought process in preparing his dishes during his MasterChef stint, how to best cook meat, as well as his plating philosophy. He would explain “theories” on the hows of food prep and would refer back to the theme of simplicity in understanding the food that we make.

Adam shared that people are often not confident about their cooking because they are not sure what taste they expect to come out in the end. If you understand that you want salty, sweet or savoury, then it’s easy to use ingredients and find substitutes when these are not available. 

Adam demonstrated this key point when students in the Cook Off, for which he served as head judge, had to prepare Filipino food without the standard Filipino ingredients. For example, one group prepared a local street food called dynamite, a spring roll of chili with cheese stuffed in it. Instead of traditional lumpia wrapper, the students used phyllo pastry, and for the finger chilis had to use bell pepper. They substituted the local cheddar cheese with feta. 

The Taste of Australia, organised by the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, also had market stalls selling Australian brands at special deal prices. Some of the products on hand included wines, dairy, chocolates, health food such as granolas and honey. The event was capped with a concert featuring local band Nights of Rizal.

Taste of Australia is part of the Australia Now ASEAN 2019 campaign. It was launched in March 2019 by the Australian Foreign Minister Hon Marise Payne to celebrate Australian innovation and creativity across the 10 ASEAN member nations. Australia Now reflects Australia’s partnership with ASEAN and raises opportunities to strengthen ties and build relationships for the future. 

Other related events to be celebrated in the Philippines include the Philippines-Australia Friendship Day to be held on 24 and 25 May in Cebu, Philippines and the inaugural ASEAN-Flickerfest Short Film Competition. 

Follow @AusAmbPH on Twitter and @Australianow for more information about future events.

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