Chef Anna Olson whips up locally inspired dishes

On the premiere episode of Inspired with Chef Anna Olson, the Canadian celebrity chef puts the spotlight on Filipino cuisines as she kicks off her culinary journey across Southeast Asia.

In the show, Chef Anna works with local celebrity chef, Rob Pengson. She allows Rob to demonstrate three local recipes from his restaurant – Squab Inasal (grilled pigeon served alongside seasonal vegetables), Kinilaw (tuna ceviche) and Tocino del Cielo (bite-sized custards).

Drawing inspiration from Rob’s Squab Inasal, Anna prepares Maple BBQ Chicken Wings with an affordable and popular cut of meat. Salmon Tartare on Cassava Cakes showcases the ceviche method of preparation used in Kinilaw.

Chef Anna Olson visits the Philippines to promote her cooking show Inspired with Chef Anna Olson

In a meet and greet with her fans and the local press, Chef Anna staged a cooking demo on July 15 at Sage Bespoke Grill in Makati Shangri-La where she recreated the recipes featured on her new 10-episode cooking show.

We were treated to a five-course meal starting off with Vietnamese-inspired Chilled Chicken Pho Salad, and then followed an Atlantic Lobster Chowder, which was served on a hot deep dish before pouring the soup that almost smelled like pure lobster extract.

The main entrée was Rosemary Roasted Venison Rack with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce. It was paired with steamed asparagus, wild Canadian rice pilaf and whipped mashed potato. Before they landed on our table, Chef Anna together with her husband, Chef Michael, allowed the guests to have a peak on how the beef was roasted to perfection.

Next to the main course was Chef Anna’s version of Tocino del Cielo. In a nutshell, it’s leche flan, wherein she used egg yolks and condensed milk as base and infused it with lemon zest and lime, which lends a citrus fragrance and a tangy taste. The dessert was garnished with blueberry, raspberry and edible gold with whipped cream for accent.

Chef Anna’s version of  Chef Rob Pengson’s Tocino del Cielo

And finally, coconut donuts, dark chocolate macaroons and flower shaped youtiaos called Rosette Cookies were served.

Red wine and ice wine were served in between entrees. And also, in between courses, the amiable culinary icon sat on each table and entertained questions from the invited diners. She was more than willing to share with us the secrets to her recipes and what we could do to improve the taste of the dishes served during the cooking demo.

Anna’s emphasis is always on respecting the techniques, the ingredients, and the people she learned from, while finding new ways to use them. Anna is recognized internationally for many culinary television programs such as Bake with Anna Olson and Sugar and Fresh with Anna Olson, all previously aired on AFC.

In line with the program premiere on July 29 at 9 p.m., AFC will also stream ‘live’ the pilot episode of Inspired with Anna Olson on its website

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