Humanities Guåhan has announced its fourth Eat Your Heritage food democracy tour, Fiestan Salu Salo: Celebrating the Flavors of Guam and the Philippines.
The tour, which runs from Sept. 30 to Oct. 5, highlights Guam’s important relationship with the Philippines through an exploration of Filipino and CHamoru food traditions, featuring special guest chefs Jo Ong and Mylene Valdez.
The Eat Your Heritage series explores the important connections between food, health, culture, and the environment in order to better “grow democracy” in the island community.
Chef Jo Ong’s passion for cooking was sparked in the Philippines at an early age in his grandmother’s kitchen, where he was surrounded by a myriad of combinations of flavor, texture, and color.
His professional experience in Guam includes the Hyatt Regency Guam and mentoring students in Guam Community College’s Culinary Arts program. After moving to Vancouver, Canada, he became the Executive Sous Chef at the Hyatt Regency where he started the hotel’s first roof-top garden and spearheaded the hotel’s project involving local farmers.
He earned his culinary degree from the Center for Culinary Arts in Manila and the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California. His experience was further enhanced through the mentorship of the great chefs of the Philippines, such as Chefs Norbert Gandler and Humphrey Navarro.
Chef Mylene Valdez is a pastry artist formerly with the Hyatt Regency Manilla and currently at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. She began pursuing her passion for pastry arts in 2004 at the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management, where she was mentored by the famous Filipino Pastry Chef Ernesto Babaran. She joined the pre-opening team of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver in 2016 and continues to make her acclaimed macarons there.
Valdez is also a chocolatier and cake artist and decorates custom-made cakes using hand-crafted sugar flowers and fine chocolate creations.
The two chefs will lead a week-long tour including workshops with culinary students in Guam’s public high schools and at Guam Community College, a pastry workshop, a community talk about the shared histories of Guam and the Philippines, and a chef’s talk on traditional Filipino gastronomy.
The tour will culminate in a five-course interpretive dinner event featuring a special menu of locally sourced ingredients. Chefs Ong and Valdez will collaborate with Guam chefs Peter Dueñas, Paul Kerner, Mirko Agostini, and Jasmine Nadres, in their making of a culinary interpretation celebrating the flavors and cultures of Guam and the Philippines.
The dinner event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Guam on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.