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HomeArts & CultureFocus on the Philippines: Filipino Sheldon Simeon serves pinakbet and kinilaw on Top Chef

Focus on the Philippines: Filipino Sheldon Simeon serves pinakbet and kinilaw on Top Chef

Filipino-American chef Sheldon Simeon has made it as one of the final seven contestants competing on Top Chef, the American reality-television cooking show.

Simeon previously appeared on the programme’s 10th season in 2012, finishing in third place among 18 chefs and winning the “Fan Favourite” audience award. The current 14th season features eight returning contestants from previous editions competing against eight new chefs.

Raised in Hawaii by Filipino parents, Simeon is the executive chef of Tinroof, a restaurant in Maui that he owns with his wife Janice. The food at Tinroof combines Simeon’s Filipino roots and Hawaiian upbringing.

On Top Chef, Simeon has served several Filipino dishes including pinakbet (mixed vegetables steamed in fish or shrimp sauce) and kinilaw (raw seafood with vinegar dressing, similar to ceviche). He has often told the show’s judging panel that his cooking is inspired by recipes from his Filipino grandmother.

Simeon has thus far survived nine eliminations and will compete in three more rounds of competition before the final. Broadcast on the American network Bravo, Top Chef is presented by Indian-American star Padma Lakshmi and features judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Graham Elliot.

Filipino giant ‘kapre’ features in HBO’s Halfworlds

The Philippine mythical creature “kapre”, an enigmatic, cigar-smoking tree giant, will feature as one of the new lead characters in the HBO series Halfworlds. Set in present-day Asia, the fantasy thriller chronicles the story of an underground society populated by creates from Asian folklore. The show’s first season premiered in late 2015 and received numerous citations from the Asian TV Awards. The second season premiered this week on HBO.

Filipino actor Jake Macapagal, a prolific theatre actor based in Manila, will play the character, named “Kaprey” in the television series.

“It’s very exciting. Kaprey is being introduced in season two,” Macapagal told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “It is absolutely thrilling to jump into an international production knowing that your character is Filipino.”

Directed by Thai filmmaker Ekachai Uekrongtham, the show’s second season filmed in Thailand and Indonesia last summer. Halfworlds also features actors from all over Asia including Tia Tavee (Asia’s Next Top Model) and Teresa Daley (Transformers: Age of Extinction).

“HBO is doing something important — giving voice to minorities, giving life to characters from the region in a TV series that shows the richness of different cultures in Asia,” said Macapagal. “At the same time, the themes in the series are universal.”

Macapagal, 50, headlined the 2013 British drama Metro Manila, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie, directed by Sean Ellis, was also the United Kingdom’s official entry to the 2013 Academy Awards.

The Voice Teens Philippines coaches revealed

Broadway star Lea Salonga will serve as one of the four celebrity mentors on The Voice Teens Philippines, a special edition of the global reality-television singing competition for singers between the ages of 13 and 17.

The Voice Teens Philippines will be the second teenage edition of the show internationally – after Colombia – and the first in Asia. It is due to debut in the summer.

Salonga told reporters this week that Sharon Cuneta, one of the country’s biggest stars, and rocker Bamboo Mañalac will also coach on the show. The three served as the mentors on the most recent edition of The Voice Kids Philippines.

“We will start filming in late March,” Salonga told ABS-CBN News. “I will be back, Sharon will be back, I think Bamboo will be back. But we have a fourth coach and I know who it is but I can’t say yet. There will be four of us.”

The first round of auditions for The Voice Teens were held in Manila on January 14 and on the central Philippine island of Leyte on January 14 and 15. Additional auditions are scheduled across the country.

The Voice franchise, which began in Holland in 2010, arrived in the Philippines in 2013. Since then it has produced two regular seasons and three editions for children between the ages of 7 and 13.

Filipino kid’s drumming video goes viral

A video clip of Filipino teenager Dineson Cañeda beating to the tune of The Chainsmokers’s hit track Don’t Let Me Down, using just his fists and a pair of pens, has gone viral on social media — and eventually caught the attention of the American DJ duo.

The video has racked up close to 5 million views on YouTube. On Tuesday, January 24, The Chainsmokers — comprised of Drew Taggart and Alex Pall — shared the clip on their official Facebook page with the caption: “You work with what you got! Respect this legend.” The post has since garnered 5 million views and close to 300,000 likes and comments.

Cañeda replied to the duo: “Thank you very much, Chainsmokers. It really made my dream come true.” Taggart and Pall then responded, “Much love, you killed it.”

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