Plant-forward culinary education at CCA Manila



CCA_Singkamas, a modern Filipino Salad with plant-based Longganisa. Served with local salad greens, Jicama, Radish, Chickpeas and Tofu, with Kaong and Sesame Vinaigrette.

Back in the 2000s, there were limited sources of plant-based food in the Philippines. But through the years and as a result of the growing health and environmental concerns, consumer interest in plant-based diet and lifestyle has sparked a wave of innovation in the plant-forward movement.

Navigating your way toward a plant-forward lifestyle is not always an easy transition. There’s also the misconception that plant-based food is “just greens” — with limited or bland flavors.

Early this year, culinary school CCA Manila partnered with Guang Ming College to include plant-based education courses. CCA Manila’s programs are attuned to the times and it saw a growing demand for vegetarian and plant-based cuisine.

“Enjoying plant-based food in different cooking methods and flavors is possible through the advancement of technology,” shared chef Miguel Lorino of CCA Manila, adding that people should move on from the stereotype that plant-based food is just salad.

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With the fast evolving food, baking, and tourism industry trends, CCA Manila plays an important role by implementing a program like the Plant-based Foundation Course, this time in partnership with Rouxbe Online Culinary School.

Through the Plant-based Foundation Course, CCA Manila students will be exposed to a wide range of knowledge — from basic knife skills to basic nutrition, to learning about how to convert or substitute recipes, and understanding principles of flavor balancing, layering that can appeal to vegetarian and plant-forward lifestyles.

Students can learn how to start incorporating more plant-based ingredients into their daily lives as well as learning to appreciate different plant-based cuisines and food from around the world. This will help them create delicious and appetizing dishes that will significantly expand their repertoire of plant-based dishes.

Moreover, CCA Manila and Guang Ming College would like to showcase the possibility of offering plant-based meals other than what we are used to in the Philippine market by elevating vegetarian dishes through innovative culinary education.

A few months ago, CCA Manila and Guang Ming College hosted a plant-based lunch inspired by the traditional Filipino house — the Bahay Kubo. The lunch was a celebration and appreciation of the some vegetables mentioned in the song — upo, kalabasa, singkamas, kamatis, talong, and luya.

Students from CCA Manila and Guang Ming College showcased a wide variety of plant-based delicacies, including Coconut Pandesal with bitter gourd and pineapple jam, a contemporary Filipino salad with plant-based Soy Longganisa, Calamansi Tofu-Cheesecake, and more.

“We are lucky to have this partnership with Guang Ming College, to learn more about culinary arts, and to promote vegetarianism using Filipino ingredients,” said Dr. Veritas Luna, Chancellor for Education of CCA Manila.

Aside from the online courses, CCA Manila also has extensive hands-on plant-based training in its Maginhawa and Antipolo satellite campuses to fully equip the students with competitive culinary methods — from cooking vegetables, grains, legumes, and dairy-free alternatives.

“Plant-based food will become a staple and more common in the coming years. It is not just a trend, but a permanent choice of diners and consumers,” chef Lorino finally noted.

Whether you are an aspiring plant-based cook, healthcare practitioner, culinary student and instructor, or a serious cook who seeks an intensive immersion in culinary education, CCA Manila’s innovative programs can open endless flavors and possibilities for you to enjoy, create, and serve plant based food.

For inquiries, visit the website at http://www.cca-manila.edu.ph.

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