Kapampangan ‘kusinero’ wins US award

By Arnel San Pedro

While the electoral heat subsides, Pampanga province’s ‘El Kusinero’ – the avant garde chef Claude Tayag – brought honor not only to the province but to the whole country by winning the ‘People’s Choice Award’ for his ‘biringhe.’

At the recently held 8th Annual Embassy Chef Challenge in Washington DC, Tayag, who hails from Angeles City, whipped the famous ‘biringhe’ using available Philippine ingredients in the United States.

Tayag’s “Flavors of the Philippines” showcases homegrown Pampango delicacy such as the famous ‘biringhe’ – which is Pampanga province’s version of the Spanish “paella.”

Tayag’s ‘biringhe’ bested 17 other entries in the People’s Choice category.

The Kapampangan chef and food writer noted that he “was required to use Filipino ingredients available in the United States” while hurdling the challenge of presenting the flavors of the Philippines.

“We have conquered the world with our cuisine. I really think it is our decade. Philippine cuisine has crept into the mainstream,” according to Tayag.

Tayag operates his own restaurant called “Bale Dutung” and the 1956 Downtown Cafe by Bale Dutung along The Quad at Nepo Center. Tayag’s famous dishes appeared in the TV show of international chef Anthony Bourdain in Travel and Living.

The winning ‘biringhe’ will be made available at 1956 Downtown Café.