Makati City - Renowned Filipino chef Reggie Aspiras has been awarded the 'Ambassador's Commendation' by the Japanese Embassy for her significant contributions to enhancing cultural exchanges between the Philippines and Japan through cuisine. The award was personally presented by outgoing Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines, Kazuhiko Koshikawa, at his residence in Makati City this weekend.
According to Philippines News Agency, Aspiras played a pivotal role in promoting Japanese cuisine, which was recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013. He expressed his deep gratitude to Chef Aspiras for her dedication to advancing Japanese culinary arts and hoped her work would inspire others to become advocates for cultural exchange. "I'd like to express my deepest gratitude to chef Reggie for her efforts in advancing Japanese cuisine. May your exemplary work inspire others to be cultural advocate like you," he remarked during the commendation ceremony.
Aspiras, in response, committed to continue fostering the relationship between the two nations through culinary endeavors, emphasizing the unifying power of food. "Food is the best ambassador. You will always remember what you eat. Food is what brings us together. In my own little way, I will continue to bring our two nations together one dish and one bite at a time," she stated.
In addition to her culinary exploits, Aspiras has contributed to the cultural dialogue between the Philippines and Japan as a writer and interviewer in a documentary about Daisuke Suzuki, the envoy's resident chef. She collaborated with Suzuki on a recipe book that includes a guava sinigang recipe, a Filipino sour soup broth adapted to the Japanese palate with the addition of miso and sake lees, a dish highly favored by Koshikawa, who described it as a perfect blend of Japanese and Filipino culinary traditions.
Aspiras also leads the 'Kitchens of the World' international culinary tour, which offers participants an immersive experience into a country's culture through its cuisine. This year, the tour is set to explore Japan, further highlighting Aspiras's role in promoting cross-cultural understanding and appreciation through food.