Various stakeholders in discussion during the WSFC17 Dialogue Session (31 May, 2017)
World Street Food Congress 2017 Dialogue is a powwow of those involved in the food industry for a discussion on the present development and future direction of the world's street foods. Organised by Makansutra and presented by the Tourism Promotions Board, Philippines, with major sponsorship from SM Mall of Asia, the event is graced by food celebrities, and brings together F&B entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, chefs, members from food institutions and the international media to an exchange of ideas focused on the preservation and development of traditional foods. The theme for this year's dialogue was Re-Imagine Possibilities.
The 2017 Dialogue was held at the SM Concert Grounds in Pasay City, Metro Manila. The emcee was the lovely Issa Litton, who has hosted many events in the Philippines. The keynote speaker was Mr Greg Drescher, who is presently the Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives and Industry Leadership at The Culinary Institute of America.
The guest of honour at this year's dialogue was the television food celebrity, Anthony Bourdain.
A smorgasbord of chefs and culinary experts were also present to provide cooking demonstrations. They included Chef Malcolm Lee, owner of Candlenut, which has the distinction of being the first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant in Singapore; and Vietnam-born Mai Pham, who is author of several award-winning cookbooks of Vietnamese cooking, and owner of Lemon Grass, a string of Vietnamese restaurants. Also gracing the event was Mr Arbind Singh, who has worked tirelessly to get street vendor in India to be registered and recognised as legitimate business owners.
There is no shortage of Filipino participation at the dialogue. It is lead by Team Philippines captain, Chef Sau del Rosario, who runs two highly acclaimed restaurants, Café Fleur and 25 Seeds. Also participating in the dialogue is the Philippine's own food maven, Chef Claude Tayag, and social media entrepreneur Anton Diaz, who co-founded Mercato Centrale.
The WSFC17 Dialogue is not a one-way street, where a string of speakers dish out their presentations to a largely passive audience. As its name suggests, it is a dialogue, and thus interaction was encouraged between speakers and the audience, who were provided with sticky notes to pen their thoughts and ideas, which were then examined and discussed. Although it took the audience a moment to warm up, once they did, participation was swift and lively.
I had the privilege of being the first participant from the media to present ideas, and I spoke of the need to create food tours of the Philippines so that food tourists have a chance to visit and enjoy Filipino food that are found far from the capital.
All in all, the WSFC17 Dialogue was successful in pooling together various stakeholders to freely share their ideas, to get to know one another, and the network. This coming-together of like-minded people from various places of the world is likely to heighten appreciation and sharpen the focus on world street food in the immediate future.
Emcee Issa Litton charmingly got the audience in the mood. (1 June, 2017)
With a ring of the bell, the World Street Food Congress 2017 Dialogue Session was officially opened by Ms Katherine De Castro, Under Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Philippines. (31 May, 2017)
Greg Drescher of the Culinary Institute of America was the keynote speaker. He spoke of the expanding influence of Asian cuisine in America. (31 May, 2017)
Filipino celebrity chef, Sau del Rosario, gets ready to make his newly created fusion dish, Sisig Paella. (31 May, 2017)
Chef Sau del Rosario's Sisig Paella. (31 May, 2017)
Arbind Singh of India spoke of challenges faced in legitimising street food vendors in India. (31 May, 2017)
Chef Peter Lloyd demonstrated the making of his signature dish, Sticky Mango, which is also the name of his famous restaurant. (31 May, 2017)
Here I was, speaking with KF Seetoh and Chef Sau del Rosario, during the Hackathon Pitchbox session of the Dialogue. (31 May, 2017)
Ruth Alegria offered a visually stimulating introduction to the traditional food of Mexico. (1 June, 2017)
Malcolm Lee of Candlenut Restaurant in Singapore, sharing on ushering Peranakan cuisine to a new level. (1 June, 2017)
Odilia Winneke, the speaker from Indonesia, spoke of the development of halal certification and potential of the halal market. (1 June, 2017)
Gibran Rakabuming Raka, who happens to be the eldest son of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, spoke of Markobar, the Indonesian pancake business that he is in. (1 June, 2017)
Chef Mai Pham spoke of growing up in Vietnam, and demonstrated the making of the Bahn Xeo, the Vietnamese pancake. (1 June, 2017)
Television personality Anthony Bourdain spoke of his experience with the street food of the world, and the development of the Bourdain Market. (1 June, 2017)
All aboard: group shot of all the speakers at the World Street Food Congress 2017 Dialogue. (1 June, 2017)
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This is a 15-hour journey to sample the traditional food of the Philippines, with various stops in Metro Manila and Pampanga Province.
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