Taking cue from the tagline “EVERYONE CAN COOK!” and arming myself with my trusty ubiquitous smartphone, this kitchen-impaired soul went to R Event Space in Makati and initiated herself in the Metro Manila cooking-savvy, foodie world. The highlight of the day? Nothing less than Clara Ole’s launch of their Potluck Foodfest, aka the #ClaraOlePotluck.
Sage kitchen wisdom filled the room in form of life hacks called #diskartips. They put these diskartips on digital printed photographs, which resembled the entire theme of Clara Ole as a brand: a reliable classic that is not afraid to take risks.
Even before this, Clara Ole is known for being dynamic and able to keep up with the needs of the times. Spanning famous products from sauce, to jams, and other quick mixes, they have been in the food industry and servicing kitchen aficionados since 1987. This time, with the slightly semantically tongue-twisting Potluck Foodfest, they aim to allow people from zero to full-ranged cooking skills to use their products for various occasions. Personally, I felt less afraid to conquer my kitchen fears with the array of their new and old products.
DJ, wife, and foodie Gelli Victor hosted an afternoon filled with gastronomic treats that officially informed everyone of the beginning of a string of happy activities from April to July.
Eight lucky condominium communities and corresponding celebrity residents were chosen by Clara Ole to be the venues for eight diverse events filled with #diskartips for a particular theme: a Manny Pacquiao-inspired game night (April 25), Summer or Nautical Theme (May 9), Children’s Theme (May 11), Birthday Party Theme (May 17), Singles’ Night (June 6), Movie Night (June 20), Entertaining the Balikbayan Theme (June 27), and the YOLO Night (July 11).
I was just as lucky, because they prepared a gastronomic feast that even a non-foodie can rate as off the charts for excellence. They showcased curious ways of mixing their jams and other products to traditional meals.
I helped myself to a heaping plate full of their arugula salad which had the Orange You Glad vinaigrette:
I was particularly intrigued with the surprisingly complementary mix of the guava jam with the Baby Back Ribs. On the other hand, the mango jam produced a non-explosive contrast in my tongue when mixed with the ribs.
The Kung Pao and One Mix Mo did not disappoint, as well:
The softness of the salmon blended so well with the Clara Ole Three Cheese product:
By the time I got to the crème brulee dessert which can be partnered with a variety of options (Clara Ole chocolate syrup, Clara Ole blueberry jam, etc.), I was already out of words and sincerely pledging allegiance to the art of innovating in the kitchen. It was already clear to me how much I was missing out in not trying to experiment in the kitchen with curious finds.
Given this momentous occasion, the face of Clara Ole, Mrs. Amy Perez-Castillo, graced the event.
She showed her cooking prowess using the Clara Ole Bechamel sauce for a personal pesto recipe which she fondly calls the “Castillo Fave,” as tribute to her husband and two sons.
Candidly, she pours in ingredient after ingredient while chatting until she created a subtly tasty and evenly oiled masterpiece which was later served for us to try (done in less than 8 minutes, tops!).
They also allowed questions from the audience for the Clara Ole bosses and the guest of honor.
I can confidently say that from the simplicity of the raw ingredients, great things can happen even in the most ordinary of kitchens. It’s not just food for the tummy, but also good food for thought to inspire those who may want to try overcoming the worst of their kitchen fears. Or even other fears, for that matter.
Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest: @ClaraOlePH