Tag Archives: filipino cuisine

Oct. 10, 2010: GMA Pinoy TV’s Celebrity Chef, Ron Bilaro, of “Life…Pinoy Style” Runs Race To End Poverty

CELEBRITY CHEF RUNS RACE TO END POVERTY

Chicago, IL—Chicago-based, celebrity chef Ron Bilaro runs his first ever marathon on Sunday, October 10, 2010 for the benefit of Gawad Kalinga (meaning “to give care”), a global anti-poverty movement that was founded in the Philippines.

Bilaro, the host of the popular Fil-Am TV show, “Life…Pinoy Style,” which airs on Comcast and GMA Pinoy TV, is a long-time supporter of Gawad Kalinga. He has been preparing for the 26-mile Bank of America Chicago Marathon since March.

Running the marathon is not the first of Bilaro’s efforts to raise funds for the poor in his native country. In recent years, he has exhibited his culinary talent by preparing sumptuous dishes for private dinners benefiting the movement.

Born and raised in the Philippines, Bilaro has found success in the United States. He is one of the top graduates of the Le Cordon Bleu Program of The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (now called the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts).

After schooling, he worked his way up in restaurants first as a line cook and then as pastry chef. He became sous chef to Art Smith, who was then Oprah Winfrey’s executive chef. This opened doors for him as a much sought-after event planner and personal chef to prominent corporate personalities in the windy city and the west coast.

For a couple of years, Bilaro was also a food columnist for the Chicago Tribune, and published his first recipe book in 2009, and is now working on his second.

While the Fil-Am chef prepares expensive meals for his affluent clientele, he remembers the less fortunate back in his homeland, where 45% of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.

“Not many people know about the Philippines or the Filipinos or the poverty that is plaguing the country. I want to be able to help get the message out and somehow make a difference,” Bilaro says.

Gawad Kalinga builds homes and sets up livelihood, nutrition, health, and other programs for the poor, not only in the Philippines but in other countries as well, including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Cambodia.

To make a pledge in support of Chef Bilaro’s run, please go to: www.active.com/donate/GKHeroesRun2010/chefronforgk.

Life...Pinoy Style host Ron Bilaro Nov 09
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Barry Picazo of Intramuros Restaurant Honors Pinoy Street Food With a 10-10-10 Festival

The first time I met Barry Picazo of Intramuros Restaurant, it was through Anthony Cruz Legarda of “Arkiteknik” fame who insisted on introducing both of us. Barry, a young retired financial wizard (at least, that’s what I thought of him) decided that his love for Filipino fusion cuisine was luring him to unexpected places, such as a Financial District “food court” on Third Street (about 25 steps away from Market Street) in San Francisco, California. His foodie experiment at that time was called “Mango Bay Cuisine.”

A few years later, Barry went on to help launch Patio Filipino Restaurant in San Bruno, California. It is well-known for its cozy ambience and Filipino-Spanish cuisine in a patio-like setting.

Then again, another restaurant concept that took advantage of multiple rooms and exponentially, more function room space, convinced this intrepid entrepreneur to take another leap of faith. Thus, a fine dining concept with banquet facilities named “Intramuros Restaurant” was born in South San Francisco, California.

I thought that Barry was quite innovative in using his social media techniques when it came to promoting Intramuros Restaurant. He would make me salivate with his short video clips on his Facebook wall about the lunch buffet specials, happy hour menus (It’s super-valued that I called them dinner menus!), Crab Feasts, Karaoke Nights, and lots of entertainment — from the classic to pop culture.

One of my friends once told me that Intramuros Restaurant is this decade’s version of the defunct Tito Rey’s Restaurant or the Mabuhay Gardens, where Filipinos and Filipino-friendly gourmands would gather to eat and make merry… and yes, especially to see who among their friends would drop in.

It’s all worth it, Barry! The late hours, the juggling of schedules, and aligning common purpose and vision with your business partners. I am so proud of your growth as a restaurateur (this is the foodie speaking!) because you have succeeded in making the Intramuros Restaurant an elegant “five-senses” delight that makes me proud to bring in my family and friends. I feel as if I’ve been a part of your growth… Yes, I still have some recipes to share but that will come during one of my visits (that is, if you can spare the time to foodie-chat).

Keep the Filipino cuisine coming! My cousin, Marisa Abad, was so happy that we took the time to enjoy your dining room (leisurely!) that she brought her friends there to celebrate someone’s 80th birthday party. Another classmate, Cynthia Bernaldez Gaabucayan, also brought her family there. So many friends are flocking to your sacred space in Filipino cuisine. Wait till I take my momblogger sister (aka a very popular food blogger in the Philippines with two blogs, Pinoy Food Blog and Food Photo Blog) to enjoy your exquisite culinary delights. I’m not saying anything to her. We’ll just go unannounced — and I will just have to see what my food blogger-sister has to say about the Intramuros Restaurant.

I’ll be coming back to this blog posting so I can update it.

Let’s ring in the TRIPLE 10 Celebration — on October 10, 2010 — or 10-10-10 — when Barry Picazo invites us to celebrate in style — where else? — at the Intramuros Restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bon appetit!

Pinoy Street Food Festival at Intramuros Restaurant, South San Francisco, California
Pinoy Street Food Festival at Intramuros Restaurant, South San Francisco, California

I’m also including one of your Crab Fest posters as a souvenir in my blog.

Intramuros - Crabs

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For those of you who want to know how to cook Intramuros Restaurant’s Crispy Binagoongan over Grilled Eggplant, click here for the recipe.

Here’s Christina Dunham from Filipinas Magazine Online with Barry Picazo in an episode from the Filipinas Magazine Show on GMA Pinoy TV.