Renowned Ilonggo chef Rafael “Tibong” Jardeleza has invited Filipino-Norwegian restaurateur Jonathan Romano who branded Filipino food as “very bad” to visit Iloilo.
“If he happens to come home for reasons to know and understand more of our cuisine, I am personally inviting him and he is most welcome to come visit Iloilo or shall I say, come visit Western Visayas, the Food Haven of the Philippines,” he said.
“Although his idea of good food is that it has to be pleasant to look at by way of presentation rather than understanding that Filipino food is never complex. It is simple and traditional cooked to preserve the delicate flavor of the ingredients.”
According to Jardeleza, Romano should know “the most important aspect how food represents and tells or translates the culture of a country, its influence and most of all the heritage of the region.”
“By saying that Filipino food is bad, is possibly due to his orientation and influence…not knowing that Filipino food is not alone in the confine of where he grew up…forgetting that there are other regions of the more than seven thousand islands in the Philippines,” he said.
Romano, a suchi chef and MasterChef Norway judge, was asked about the Filipino food tradition on the TV show “4-stjerners middag.”
“It’s very bad food. In the eyes of a chef, there is no food art in my eyes, unfortunately. Lots of deep-fried, lots of fried-to-death stuff like casserole dishes if you can put it that way,” he responded.
“They do not have the same taste composition as Thai food. Filipino food is more on the sour side,” he added.
Romano apologized after receiving intense criticism online. He explained that he only said it because his mother can’t cook.
“I apologize for the words that came out on my TV appearance lately. Everything came out of context and I am so sorry,” he said.
“I am an educated chef with long experience and was just giving my subjective opinion. Of course, I like Filipino food and would not badmouth without backing it up. I am born in the Philippines in Manila and pay my visit there over 30 times and of course, I love my country. However, I will admit that my mother can’t cook," he added.IMT