Chef Tatung Shares His Expertise in New Book
Chef Tatung, born Michael Giovan Sarthou III (facebook), explores the history and intricacies of Filipino cuisine in his new book “Philippine Cookery: From Heart to Platter.” Published under ABS-CBN publishing, it takes on the deceptively simple question “How do you cook Filipino food?”
A native of Cebu, Chef Tatung is nevertheless curious about different kinds of Filipino cuisine, and there are many of them. During the 2016 Madrid Manila Fusion, he was one of only two Manila-based chefs to demonstrate the robust flavors of Philippine cuisine. He showcased Moro cuisine, of which he has had a fascination with as a young man due to his frequent forays into Mindanao. He showed delegates of the Asian edition of the world’s most important gastronomy congress how to burn a coconut in preparation for Tiyula Itum, a beef soup in coconut milk. He explains his choice or cuisine, “I think there is a deeper culture, a deeper cuisine that is undiscovered yet.”
He explored this, and many other variations of Filipino cooking in his new book in 10 interesting chapters, delving into the ingredients, flavors, methods of preparation, and cooking techniques unique to local dishes. The new book was launched on April 25, 2016 at the Aruga Hotel, and guests were treated to a sampling of Chef Tatung’s best dishes.
It is not merely a cookbook, however. Chef Tatung says, “I would like to go deeper into our indigenous and pre-hispanic cuisine because I think if we want to really understand who the Filipino is, we have to look deeper into that.” He uses photographs and stories to take you down memory lane. He also offers practical advice on how to best achieve authentic dishes as it was done traditionally, and firing up his readers with the desire to learn more and to develop their own passion for the culinary arts. A quote from his new book says it all, “When I began to cook the food of my childhood, the food that I truly love, I found myself again.”
It helps that Chef Tatung is no stranger to inspiring other people. He has shared his skill and expertise on shows on the Food Network and major food and lifestyle magazines here and abroad. It is no wonder that he is one of the most sought-after and celebrated chefs in the country. He says, “I don’t want anything or anyone to influence what I do. I just want to be honest with what I believe and what I want to do,”
Chef Tatung previously owned a popular casual dining restaurant in Tomas Morato, Quezon City, which features traditional Filipino favorites with the distinctive Chef Tatung modern twist. It is not fusion, which is something completely different. Chef Tatung explains, “It’s not actually the chefs that really brought recognition to Filipino cuisine. It’s not the fancy things – it’s not the adobo with foie gras, it’s not the sisig with truffles. It’s the simple things.… It’s going back to basics that will make Filipino food shine globally.”
You may purchase “Philippine Cookery: From Heart to Platter” for PhP595 at National Bookstore and Fully Booked, available nationwide.