Sun.Star Cebu

Chef Tatung lives to cook

- MARY RUTH MALINAO / USJ-R Intern

For some, loving or simply living is what makes them human. But for a chef, cooking is what makes him human. It makes him different from other species.

Chef Mike Sarthou, more popularly known as Chef Tatung, an award-winning author, celebrity chef and culinary heritage advocate, believes that the act of cooking separated humans from animals. Cooking changed that destiny of humanity.

Chef Tatung was in the media and music industry before he became a chef. He was a former writer, copy editor and photograph­er at SunStar Cebu. He also worked with big music labels like Warner and Sony for 10 years.

He may have tried different careers but what he is sure of is that he is very passionate in cooking.

“I took the journey because like anyone who’s young, you try to explore the possibilit­ies of your life,” said Chef Tatung.

After being exposed to two different industries, Chef Tatung realized that he really wanted to pursue cooking.

“You also reach your point that you know that you have to be very honest with yourself or else you’ll just be moving around in loops,” he said. “I asked the hard question. Sabi ko, ‘What am I actually good at? Where will

I be most happy?’ And the answer that came to mind was really to cook.”

Chef Tatung considered this as a go signal to enter the culinary world, which made him soar high. He is now a resident chef of ABS-CBN’s morning show “Umagang Kay Ganda” and a World Gourmand Awards winner.

He is active in a lot of causes such as advocating culinary heritage.

“I think it was just like… it was really part of my consciousn­ess,” said Chef Tatung. “Even before people were talking about sustainabi­lity, people were talking about protecting the environmen­t, talking about local cuisine, it was already something that I was doing even before I was a chef. It was part of who I was.”

Chef Tatung is also a consultant. He works with young chefs and people who work in the kitchen. This inspired him to write his third book, “DISHkarte sa Kusina.”

This book, which will be distribute­d nationwide, aims to help the chefs who cannot afford to go to culinary schools, people who work in the food industry who need upgrading and home cooks who want to improve the efficiency of their own kitchens.

The food industry is like a kitchen brigade, as Chef Tatung described it. People who are undertrain­ed or who did not undergo formal education will really have difficulty in working in this kind of industry.

The main problem in the food industry, he said, is that the skills level of the people in the team does not have parity.

This is what Chef Tatung’s book wanted to solve because he realized that there was really a need to write a culinary book that teaches kitchen basics and fundamenta­ls that is contextual­ized to the Filipino kitchen. Chef Tatung assured that people can easily learn from it since it is very detailed. He also said that his previous work was really useful in writing his book.

“I worked with the publicatio­n. I understand how it is to communicat­e,” he continued.

Chef Tatung said that promoting Filipino food is very important because it represents the Filipinos and provides economic opportunit­y.

“If we don’t preserve or develop our local cuisine, there will be no point of coming to the Philippine­s if all you eat is foreign franchises,” Chef Tatung added.

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines