Celebrated chef Gene Gonzalez will lead the Filipino cooking classes in Rassa, an innovative online cooking school led by chefs from different parts of the world. Launched in January, the platform combines the online cooking school approach with an exciting gastronomic travel adventure.
Rassa’s Charles Wells explains, “The platform was born during the lockdown. The founders wanted to support chefs, their main source of income disappeared as brick-and-mortar restaurants shut down. Since then, we’ve talked to hundreds of chefs all helping shape RASSA into what it has become today. A place to help those dedicated to their craft challenge their mindset, and develop their creativity.”
Chef Gonzalez will top bill “The Filipino Kitchen: East Meets West” together with UK-based Filipino chefs Budgie Montoya of Sarap supper club, Rex De Guzman owner of Turo-Turo, and Mark Corbyn of The Adobros supper club. The chefs will take students on a virtual tour of the Philippines complete with the principles of eating Filipino food.
Chef Gene is looking forward to sharing the richness of local cuisine. For the restaurateur, best-selling author, and instructor, the course goes beyond step-by-step preparation. Like a typical instructor, he passionately shares culinary historical facts complete with his insight on the Filipino’s behavior towards food.
“For instance, why do Filipino eat with their hands? Not because utensils are not available. It’s because it is more enjoyable, it promotes camaraderie. Eating with your hands is like removing your shoes, it grounds you, plus you feel the texture of the food,” Gonzalez says.
The chef will also explain the local’s penchant for “sawsawan” or dipping sauce, attributing it to the diner’s participative role in appreciating the dish.
“Some would think, you are ruining the dish when you bring out your own sawsawan. That is not the case. We are actually working with the chef in adjusting the taste to what is acceptable to our tastebuds,” he explains.
Chef Gene has been creating content for his Facebook, YouTube, and Kumu accounts. He enjoys stepping out of the kitchen and taking his followers to interesting places, that can provide substantial culinary information, apart from the basic recipe of the dish he is preparing.
For his stint in Rassa, he will take his virtual students to a calamansi farm in Quezon when he talks about the rich flavor of the Philippine lemon. When he lectures about the rice culture, he will introduce his students to the intricate art of wrapping suman or sticky rice, as demonstrated by the grandmothers and grandfathers in Bulacan.
All courses in Rassa are taught by chefs, but the classes are not exclusive to professionals. Even home cooks will enjoy it especially if they love culinary adventure.
“The story, the culture, and the experience of cooking are what we’re giving to those who sign up for Rassa. This isn’t just a platform for simply following a recipe, it’s a way for people to learn how chefs think, how they can develop their own recipes, and to learn about the historical and cultural context around the food and wider ecosystem of the country,” Wells shares.
The platform’s Filipino segment will highlight the country’s bold flavors and culture. It will begin on February 28. For details, log on to www.joinrassa.com.