The first episode of Mary Berry’s Easter Feast aired last week, Tuesday, 15 March. After months of keeping it under wraps from all my family, friends and Pepe’s followers. Now I can finally tell everyone about my experience. The second episode with me cooking with Mary Berry was on BBC two last night at 8pm. If you missed it it should be on BBC iplayer.
I was contacted by Shine TV asking if I would like that to participate in an Easter programme with Mary. My initial thought was yes of course! I was too excited to reply and I didn’t want to say the wrong thing, so I waited to tell my husband first and consulted him on what I should say without sounding too eager.
After the New Year we arranged a day where I can cook a few dishes on camera. I chose to cook some kakanin or rice cakes because this is also popular during Easter time in the Philippines. You can see rice cakes being sold outside of churches, markets and streets. At this time we were not sure which dish to show on TV. We were exploring different ideas on what I should cook. The director came to film me make the cakes and explained how I/we Filipinos participate and celebrate Easter. I showed some photos of the family, the tables full of food and lechon. I said that lechon is a centre piece in many Filipino celebrations surrounded with other Filipino dishes. I also talked about how my father Pepe encouraged me and my little sister to go to church with him and attend the procession during the Holy week. We would eat fish and vegetables during this week. My girls were also filmed cooking with me which shows the different generations of Filipinos in UK. They are the next Generation of Filipinos who will inherit all the things we do now. Which gives me a lot of inspiration to continue promoting Filipino food as well as our Culture & Traditions.
Easter Sunday is where all the family & friends gather after church. Food is a symbolic and social part of our culture. Filipinos loves food, we enjoy sharing food while catching up with each other’s lives, eating together and laughing together.
In the end we have chosen to cook some lechon or roast pork belly. My recipe is inspired by Cebu Lechon. I was born in Pasay, Manila. My father “Pepe” is from Batangas so we went in and out of Manila until I was 8 years old. We moved to Baybay, Leyte in the southern part of the Philippines close to Cebu City. There, I made most of my memories growing up. My outlook on food rooted in Leyte with my father’s guidance. The recipes made the lechon fragrant and exotic to the British palate. I served my lechon at my supperclub which was a hit! It takes a lot of time and effort to make lechon but it’s so worth it. My Lechon recipe here I also cooked atchara to go with the lechon but this was cut out probably because of time.
The programme was a good reminder of why we celebrate or participate in the Easter occasion apart from celebrating a new season it also celebrated life, hopes and beginnings. I am very happy of the positive image the BBC showed about the Philippines. Especially showing Filipino food on national TV (Prime Time TV!), it is a fantastic opportunity for the Community and for Filipinos in UK. Myself, my husband Adrian and my girls had an amazing experience! We are very proud of our heritage. Thank you to everyone who watched the programme and are following Pepe’s progress. For all the support and love. Many thanks to Shine TV too for contacting me! Maraming salamat po! Many thanks!