A 'balancing' food tale

FOODIE Francis Onglatco is savvy in the yin and yang of dining, balancing combination of ingredients like spices and herbs to nourish the diner’s body and health.

His penchant for food started early and he wanted to nourish his “post-natal” energy of the universe. It sounds deep, but it really boils down to living a healthy lifestyle.

Yin (literally the “shady place” or “north slope”) is female and is perceived as dark and passive; while yang (literally the “sunny place” or “south slope”) is male and is perceived as heaven, light and active.

There is a side of Francis relating to this Chinese philosophy that is worth noting.

He is a no-nonsense, active gentleman whose advocacy is to share what he has till it hurts. He has upcoming business ventures that are more philanthropic than self-gain.

He is helping to build a formation house for the Incarnate Word Congregation. With a degree in business management (from Ateneo de Manila University) tucked under his belt, there is no doubt he can succeed.

There’s more to this journey in dining memories where balance is a factor. Francis does not consider himself a gourmand but a gourmet. He prefers degustation menu over a full course anytime and he loves a cup of good, aged tea or wine. Being a connoisseur is a work in progress for him. 

His most unforgettable meal with his wife would have to be a full moon dinner in May in Venice, enjoying Bellinis and beef carpaccio as well as tasty seafood risotto at Harry’s Bar in the best corner table at the mezzanine. They had the best view seat in the house when they were in this restaurant in Venice.

In this meandering food tale of ours, the most versatile ingredient he has in the pantry is rock salt, black pepper and black sesame oil. When asked what shopping tricks he has, he said there are no tricks—just fresh goods from the wet market.

Having a butcher as a friend is vital. He also loved going with his mother to the wet market.

Today, he tries to duplicate his mom’s no-frills, slow-cooked food and he can serve a nasty steak barbecue and grilled prawns at dinner—matched with cold beer. What could be more perfect?

The dining reverie ends with the fact that all styles of cooking are there—from Persian ox brain to Cebu’s dugo-dugo and lechon leftovers for paksiw to Chinese Peking duck—and they offer some kind of balance. Francis says his knowledge of Taiji (also T’ai Chi) allows him to balance the food he loves to eat with a healthy lifestyle.

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