Rockstar in culinary scene – Manila Standard


Chef JR Royol still flirts with music. It’s already part of his DNA since he was a vocalist of a small underground band some years ago. But since winning a cooking reality show, the kitchen has become his stage and knives and pans are his instruments.

In GMA News TV’s Farm To Table, Chef JR, who is also a farmer with Bicolano roots and of Igorot descent, takes viewers along the journey of a dish from root to plate. He gives a peek into the fascinating process of food preparation – from growing and harvesting fresh ingredients to cooking and plating mouthwatering meals that aim to encourage viewers to rediscover the joy of eating home-cooked meals and living a healthy lifestyle.

 Speaking to Manila Standard Entertainment, Chef JR Royol said that he wishes to cook for the Pope. ‘I‘d serve him a fresh salad from my food forest. I’m also thinking of serving him pinikpikan, but I doubt he’d be down for it.’

“This is something that I’m really passionate about. The show trains the spotlight on regional delicacies, the integration of other industries related to food and beverages, including organic farming,” Chef RJ told Manila Standard Entertainment in a virtual interview.

“There is a need for us to focus on the entire process, not just the food. We eat as an end product but we also have to look into the entire process, which involves our stakeholders — like fishermen and farmers –in the food and beverage industry. The show has a holistic approach, showing a 360-degree view of how food ends up on our table. That’s the backbone of the show,” he added.  

In Farm To Table, Chef JR offers viewers a chance to vicariously experience food preparation in the rawest form as the hands-on chef visits interesting farms all over the country, sources locally-produced ingredients from rural communities and prepares food according to the ways of the locals – during which he applies his experiences growing up surrounded by nature and his expertise with rustic cooking techniques.

The resident food explorer expresses his belief in the importance of incorporating fresh ingredients into one’s diet.

“We saw the importance of having access to nutritious and fresh ingredients. Napaka-importante nito sa kalusugan natin,” he stated.

Chef JR also shares that he is most excited about the knowledge he will acquire from this show as well as the information he can impart to a larger audience, “I’m mostly excited about the information that I will get. For me, more than the exposure, I’m excited with the knowledge na makukuha ko working with different people. One of my practices is to really teach my staff before. Mas excited ako na mas malawak ‘yung audience na matuturuan ko with this show.”

Farm To Table premieres on Feb. 21 at 6:15 p.m. on GMA News TV. Viewers abroad can also watch Farm To Table via GMA’s flagship international channel, GMA Life TV. For the program guide, visit www.gmapinoytv.com.

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