Filipina chef introduces boodle fights to the French culinary scene, and Europeans LOVE IT

Filipinos have always been warm, friendly and hospitable. Our local way of dining, a boodle fight, is believed to build good relationships! Additionally, the way through one’s heart is through one’s stomach, and sharing food placed on banana tree leaves is just fitting.

Erica Paredes, who once worked in the publishing industry for a good 15 years, has developed a passion for cooking. Even though she’s got a knack for working around the kitchen at home, she only pursued it when she decided to move to Paris to study culinary. After having a stint and an internship at one of the most revered restaurants in the French capital, she is now bringing home to her new home by introducing boodle fights to the Parisian dining experience.

Culinary has always been thriving in France. Paredes wanted to set herself apart from others as a chef. All it took was a eureka moment and encouragement from friends that gave birth to Baguettes and Berets.

“I’ve already been doing French- Filipino / Asian fusion dinners, and one day I was asked by my small group of Pinay girlfriends to do a boodle fight for one of our get-togethers,” she tells WHEN IN MANILA.  “I then decided to try it in one of my open dinners which I have on Fridays- and it was so well received that I did it again a month later. Now, people sign up so quickly whenever I have it and even request it for private dinners in their homes.”

Although Paredes loved to cook, she disliked working in a professional kitchen.

“I was bored, tired, grumpy all the time and had no personal life. So I quit, and then after a month of traveling and trying to figure out what to do with my life, that [was when] I tried organizing a dinner as both a networking thing and as a way for me to test new recipes.

It was full from day one. I’ve never had problems filling up an open dinner since a lot of guests have told me that aside from the food, they like watching me cook and meeting others. It’s like restaurant quality food but in a less intimidating setting.”

Other than boodle fights, Paredes also does plated dinners. As a proud Filipina living in Europe, she often included Pinoy flavors into her food or does modern classics from the Filipino kitchen.

“My boodle fight is mostly very leaning towards Pinoy food but I do make some changes and adjustments to make the taste, and how it looks more universally accepted and foreigner friendly. It is very Pinoy still though – but it’s like I’ll do a beef shank adobo with balsamic vinegar and soy; also with burgundy wine and thyme. It changes slightly, but it is still essentially Adobo.”

What makes the boodle fight a fulfilling and memorable dining experience? “It’s our sense of community when eating, I think that’s very Pinoy,” Paredes Remarks. “I think for Paris, it’s definitely something new and different, but I also like that Pinoy factor is shown to foreigners.” 

One memorable dine-in for Paredes was the first boodle fight she conducted for non-Filipinos, where she was actually discovered on her Instagram. “They thought it was a fun, interesting and different concept.”

It may have taken a while for Paredes to pursue another passion of hers, but she encourages budding foodpreneurs and chefs to to ‘be yourself’ and to cook/sell ‘what you truly believe in’.

“People can totally tell if you are uncomfortable in what you are serving. Also, I think being able to know when to take risks reaps a lot of rewards as well. Find something that will set you apart because who wants to see the same trendy thing over and over?”

Congratulations and more power to you, Erica!

What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: WheninManila.com does not own any of the images. Credits go to Erica Paredes.






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