Chef Celina David uses constant resourcefulness and creativity to “stand tall” amidst New Normal
The “New Normal” has become an inescapable fact of life, one that would likely extend for the rest of the year. For the food and beverage industry, the “New Normal” became the very definition of survival amidst the changing times. This is the very purpose of the first episode of TasteSetter’s webinar series dubbed, “The Age of the New Norm” where experienced chefs share their experience and skills in navigating the trying times especially for industry.
One of the featured chefs is Chef Celina David, a recipe and menu developer and pastry chef instructor with an extensive list of collaborations with some of the country’s top brands. Chef Celina also dabbles in cake decoration, conducts workshops and is also well-known as one of the go-to resource persons when it comes to bringing creativity and innovation in the kitchen.
Chef Celina believes in using creativity and resourcefulness as a means to navigate the tricky “new normal” nowadays. Using her innate talent in responding to the needs of the times, the talented chef transitioned to a full hometrepreneur offering good food to her community. In her presentation “The Tall Kitchen: My Delicious Kick-Off in the time of COVID-19,” Chef Celina highlighted the need for constant innovation, mixed with resourcefulness and creativity, as essential means of survival especially for those in the food and beverage industry.
“Food for me is an extension of life. Food, similar to life, is meant to be nourishing, to be enjoyed and shared,” shared Chef Celina, whose passion and love for food shows through the delectable meals she has developed and cooked through the years.
For other home cooks offering food selections straight from their very own kitchen, the Cebu-based chef shares key pointers that served as the very foundation of The Tall Kitchen.
First and foremost is to offer food that brings people joy. People will always navigate towards food that reminds them of good times, perfect examples of these are sisig which always reminds people of a good Friday night spent chilling with friends, and pizza which is a staple comfort food regardless of the age of the client.
Maintaining a home-based food business calls for resourcefulness and creativity at all times, especially if you have a market that gets easily bored. Chef Celina advised home cooks to maximize use of ingredients, or explore alternatives that don’t affect the taste. Do not be afraid to look for substitute ingredients as the current situation nowadays will not always guarantee a steady supply of your staples.
It’s also important that home cooks put cleanliness and maintaining food quality as one of the priorities of their business. Chef Celina emphasized, “Treat your home kitchen as your work kitchen.” Ensuring that strict food quality measures are in place at all times assures your clients that what you’re offering is truly good food: both in quality and in taste.
Lastly, Chef Celina made sure that she was open to feedback. She made use of social media to ask her clients for feedback or recommendations, and saw it as an opportunity to personally engage with the people who enjoyed her food. The constant dialogue with her community ensured that what she offers is well-received by the community; while the open mind to receive feedback ensured that she maintained the best possible quality in any of her meal offerings.
For aspiring chefs and home cooks, she encourages them to always have zest for learning and innovation: “Be humble and be curious. Recognize that we have limitations and we are not perfect. To be curious, allow yourself to know more – to be open to new discoveries and opportunities. That’s how we will grow.”