Renowned Filipino lady chef Reggie Aspiras was recognized by the Japanese Embassy for advancing cultural exchanges through food.
Outgoing Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa personally awarded the “Ambassador’s Commendation” to Aspiras at his residence in Makati City over the weekend.
“Through the promotion of experts, tourists, and appreciators like you, in 2013, the Japanese food was recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage,” Koshikawa said.
“I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to chef Reggie for her efforts in advancing Japanese cuisine. May your exemplary work inspire others to be cultural advocate like you,” he said.
Aspiras said she intends to continue promoting Japanese and Filipino relations “one dish and one bite at a time.”
“Food is the best ambassador. You will always remember what you eat. Food is what brings us together. In my own little way, I will continue to bring our two nations together one dish and one bite at a time,” she said.
Aspiras, also a writer, served as the interviewer in a Japanese-produced documentary about the envoy’s resident chef, Daisuke Suzuki.
She co-wrote with Suzuki a recipe book featuring the latter’s famed guava sinigang, a version of the well-loved Filipino sour soup broth, mellowed to fit the Japanese palate by adding traditional Japanese seasonings miso and sake lees.
A personal favorite of Koshikawa, he likens the dish to a perfect marriage between Japanese and Filipino food cultures.
Aspiras also hosts an international culinary tour called the “Kitchens of the World,” which allows tourists to experience a country’s culture through food.
This year, Aspiras is bringing the tour to Japan. (PNA)