Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Culinary Bucket List—Achieved!

Inside the kitchen of Chef Laudico Guevarra’s, aspiring chefs get their start on a lifetime of yummy possibilities 

What do celebrity chefs Ina Garten, Mario Batali, Claude Tayag, and Gaita Fores have in common? (Well, aside from their obvious success in the food and restaurant business.) All of them didn’t get their start in culinary school and are all self-taught savants and mavens in the kitchen. This only proves that, sometimes, you don’t necessarily need a degree from the finest, most expensive culinary school to make it in the food business. 

Chef Rolando Laudico, for one, albeit graduating from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), believes that anyone with the burning passion, business savvy, endurance, and, most important, creativity has what it takes to take their humble dishes from their kitchen counters to the tables of their very own restaurant—if they work hard enough for it. 

In fact, the Philippines’ rock star chef and former host and judge of MasterChef Pinoy Edition, started his career in the food business washing dishes and chopping ingredients before saving enough money to get into the CIA in New York. “We all have to start somewhere,” says Chef Lau, as close friends in the industry like to call him. 

And from there, Chef Lau went from dreaming of starting his own restaurant to opening dining concepts that had made him, quite literally, a household name in the local culinary scene—Guevarra’s by Chef Laudico in San Juan and Chef Laudico OK Café in Pasig. 

As for the winners of the FWD Life Philippines’ (FWD) Bucket List Contest, they all started in their own kitchens—attracted by the lure of slowly melting shallots and caramelized pork belly or perfectly fluffy cheese omelets—cooking their much-loved specialty dish for friends and family. On their bucket list: Learn to create dishes that will someday wow the world. And FWD Life Philippines and Chef Lau himself are helping to make that happen for them. 

In August 2017, FWD launched the Lifetime of Possibilities social media campaign to challenge the public to live life to the fullest, say yes to every possibility, and start working on their bucket lists. The pan-Asian insurance company—with offices in Hong Kong and Macau, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, and the Philippines—partnered with experts in different fields: Coach Jim and Coach Toni Saret for Fitness, Doms Lim and Perci Intalan for Filmmaking, Casa Escondida Anilao Resort & Dive Center for Scuba Diving, and Chef Laudico for Culinary to help them take their first step to achieving their bucket list goals. 

Thousands heeded the call, posting pictures of their own #FWDBucketListMoment on Instagram and joining the contest on Facebook. Prizes are actual experiences of taking that first step to fulfilling their bucket lists, whether it’s a one-on-one with a chef, a filmmaking workshop, a fitness session, or a trip of a lifetime. This is because FWD wants people to really experience life and celebrate living. They can live the life they’ve always wanted and treat every day as a new adventure because FWD has their backs, covering them for a lifetime of possibilities.

The Culinary Bucket List event was held at Guevarra’s by Chef Laudico in San Juan, the bucket list winners were asked to bring their signature dish, to be heated, finished, and presented to Chef Lau at the restaurant a la MasterChef. After the presentation, the winners had a chance to pick the brains of the rockstar chef and get valuable tips about home cooking, as well as starting their own brand as “chefs,” over a hearty Guevarra’s breakfast. 

The exclusive mentoring with winners was then followed by a media event, where Chef Lau presented the new and improved signature dishes of the winners, before presenting his very own FWD Dish, a brighter and more vibrant twist to Chicken Pyanggang, a Tausug chicken delicacy marinated in burnt coconut and tossed with vegetables. 

“When I was asked to create a dish that’s surprising, innovative, and different like FWD, I immediately thought of Chicken Pyanggang, which I tried recently during a trip in Mindanao,” Chef Lau says. “Cooking chicken in burnt coconut in itself is very surprising and very unique to how Filipinos are used to eating poultry. To take that Tausug dish and make it more vibrant is even more interesting and refreshing. It’s pushing the boundaries of flavors and spices, the way FWD is encouraging people, like our bucket list winners, to push their boundaries and go out of their comfort zones.” 

Culinary bucket list achieved—and on to more! When will you? 

To know more about FWD’s bucket list adventures, visit, Like Facebook/, and follow @fwdlife_ph on Instagram. 



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