Skin Food: Are We What We Eat?

The F Word: Food By Chef Chris Lachenal

A few days ago, I saw this quote on Facebook.


It made me pause and think for a moment: does that also apply to the food we eat?

Growing up with a strict aunt, you probably had experienced a lot of killjoy moments just like me. Some occasions when you can’t watch any more TV after dinner, or you can’t leave the table unless you finish the vegetables on your plate! I remember we, my Auntie Lelen and I, had a standoff because I did not eat my ginisang ampalaya! Who would want that as a kid? I still don’t eat ampalaya until today, haha, even if I know it’s one of the most nutritious vegetables. Instead, as my family does, so do I enjoy rich and fatty foods—tendons, bone marrow, butter, bacon fat, to name a few. When we (cousins) hit puberty we were faced with that horror of horrors!

Hormones and food suddenly caused, reacted, or produced some chemical backlash in our bodies and breaks on our skins. But I loved the fat of steak, lechon, pork chops, sinigang liempo, chicken skin, bulalo, name the fatty ones and I was deeply attached to them, including dishes rich in cream and butter. The consequence was not really so far off, we had pimples, and black- and whiteheads started to show. My face got super oily, the oil can fry an egg!

So my mom brought me to a dermatology clinic on appointment for a facial treatment and that was the first time I heard of fat deposits. I was signed in for a regimen and after every session, it felt like I lost a pound or two. I was told to cut down on the favorites—oily and fatty foods, even chocolates. In high school that sounded like a life sentence! In college, the bumps lessened but left craters on my face! Still, there were the stubborn ones that overstayed. I think I have used most of the commercially available facial cleansers and products the market could sell but nothing seemed to work.

A classmate advised, “why not use calamansi?” Hmm, at least that’s a natural alternative to the chemical. And my oh my, she had flawless skin and used calamansi. So I tried it. Oh, dear! My cheeks and forehead became smooth but the nose area and skin around my lips burned from the citric acid.

There are other natural remedies and solutions from plants that I remember because we used them while growing up. My Ninang Nita has super soft and baby smooth hands from making achara, the papaya enzymes did that. My mom would apply fresh coconut cream on our hair for a few minutes before taking a bath, and the result was even better than commercial hair conditioner! I got to try fresh aloe vera extract on my skin when at a classmate’s house doing a group project, she handed me a pot. It was cool and soothing. Resting cucumber slices on our eyes soothe and rid the eye bags and has its own cooling properties. There are a lot of natural sources that naturally beautify,  detoxify, hydrate, smoothen, and soothe our skins, hair, and our digestive organs. Have you tried the coffee scrub, oatmeal milk, or honey mask? There are a lot more. 

In recent years better and more skin-friendly face products have been available in the market. After that calamansi incident, I did not touch any other preparation without professional advice. Now I use Jeju Aloe Ice by Fresh. It’s a soothing gel lotion my sister has been using for so long which I decided to try. It has become my only nightly pampering system; it makes my face softer, lighter, less oily, and glowing! The Jeju Aloe Ice is natural aloe vera less the slime. 

Jeju Aloe Ice

FRESH products are available at Watson’s and other health and beauty bars. visit them on their social networks for more information.

Dermatologist Dr. Cristine Claire Uy-Mesias provides her most invaluable pieces of advice: “observe what you eat” and “eat in moderation”. She also said that skin problem is treated on a case-to-case basis as there is no general treatment that fits all. Not all products that work on one person may work on the other; similarly, it is the same case with the food we take. Our skins react differently. Dr. Cristine’s advice is a holistic approach because skin problems are usually a manifestation of other underlying health problems. It is not just skin-deep advice but one that is applicable for our overall health and wellness.

Seek professional medical help before trying anything on yourself because damages on the skin may be permanent. For consultation and treatments you may reach Dr. Cristine Claire Uy-Mesias at the following clinics:

Amazing Skin Derma and Medical Clinic, or 

JC’s Derma Clinic

Ahem, so there, you read what the doctor said, eat in moderation, and see you all in the next issue!

Chef signed

Photo credits: photos shown here are captured from their respective Facebook pages.

Featured image: Skin Food by Polina Tankilevitch

Chef Chris Lachenal strives to elevate Filipino cuisine and revive dishes that are slowly losing popularity. A former chef instructor, he emphasized the importance of understanding the process of things in order to grasp refinement in food. As a chef-for-hire he satisfies his clients, always. He is creative, passionate and believes that everything must be done with love. He strongly believes that the smallest detail makes a difference.

Adobo, adobo, ADOBO!

The F Word: Food By Chef Chris Lachenal

When asked about Filipino cuisine the popular items that make the list are sinigang, sisig, ube, balut, and adobo. The adobo originated in Spain, as with the paella. But with three hundred years of colonization, we learned to make it, the adobo, ours. The Spanish version known as adobar, consists basically of vinegar, salt, garlic, paprika, and oregano. It is a marinade used to cure meats to avoid easy spoilage. That seems like a far cry from the Adobo we love. Here’s how things got into the mix. 

All that time while under the colonizers, we were also trading with the Chinese. Aside from silk vases and porcelain, they also brought with them concoctions, spices, their culture, and practices. Their influence is as deeply rooted in us as does Spain’s, despite the fact that they did not conquer us by might as the others did. Our Chinatown in Binondo (Manila) is the oldest in the world and, would you believe, that the humble soy sauce is China’s most significant influence on the anti-spoil adobo. Sourced from pickled raw materials in salt to preserve it was how the soy sauce came about where grains of wheat, rice, and soybeans are known to be its prime specimen. 

And as much as we have so many languages in the country, so do the multiple variations of adobo that took form, its many versions in many regions grew richer. Now every region, province, or household has its own Adobo rendition. It has become part of every cook’s story in the family. Adobo became personal. Yet the basic ingredients remain vinegar, garlic, and salt or soy sauce. 

Growing up a Filipino-Chinese with roots from Navotas and Bicol made me try as many Adobo versions as I  could while my titas, titos, lolas, and lolos from both sides of my parents spoiled me too much with their varied versions that every bite I took was like they were always the first time. That said, my Lola Rosa makes the Adobong Puti where she uses pork belly and patis. On the Chinese side of the family, I learned cooking Adobo from my Mom, who uses chicken parts, liver, and gizzard with the use of soy sauce. As I learned new methods, I found my own taste. So I have come up with my adobo recipe with a slight variation on the protein or meat used. And, here, I will share this recipe with you. It’s a mash-up of Adobo Sa Gata, the adobo from my Mom, and the basic adobo recipe. This won a bronze medal in 2018 at the most prestigious culinary competition in the country where the best meet to compete.

The following recipe is downloadable and print-ready: The F Word: Food, Recipe 3


Pint This!

Chicken Adobo with Three Sauces

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour (depending on chicken size and oven)

Good for 4-6 persons

Ingredients for the Roast Chicken:

2        whole        Spring Chickens (split open)  or 

1         whole        Chicken (halved)


Ingredients for the 500 mL marinade

240    ml         Vinegar

240    ml         Soy sauce

30      ml        Turmeric juice, fresh

¼       tsp           finely crushed Laurel Leaves

30       g              Peppercorn, crushed

50       g              Garlic, minced

30       ml           Oil

500     g             Garlic, rough chopped

3          stalks     Lemongrass, lightly pounded

Procedure. In a bowl, combine the Vinegar, Soy sauce, Turmeric juice, Laurel leaves, Peppercorn, and Garlic. Place Chicken in the mix and set aside to marinate. Lay roughly chopped Garlic and Lemongrass on a roasting pan. Place marinated Chicken in and brush with oil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour at 450F.


Sauce No. 1 Ingredients 

80       ml        Liver sauce

30       g           Chicken Liver

20       g           Garlic, minced

40       g           Onion, minced

180     ml        Water

120     ml        Vinegar

60      g           Brown Sugar

10      g            Bread crumbs


                        Peppercorn, freshly cracked

15       ml         Oil

Procedure. Heat oil in a pan, then saute Garlic and Onion. Add in Chicken Liver. Pour in Water, Vinegar, Peppercorn, Bread crumbs and brown Sugar. When Liver is cooked, pour in Blender and blend until fine. Set aside.


Sauce No. 2 Ingredients 

80      ml         Coconut Cream sauce

150    ml          Coconut Cream

1         pc          Bird’s Eye Chili, chopped

10      pcs         Chili leaves, finely chopped

15      ml          Oil

                         Fish sauce to taste

Procedure. Heat Oil in a pan, sauté Chili leaves then pour in the Coconut Cream, season with Fish sauce, and set aside.


Sauce No. 3 Ingredients 

80     g            of Chicken Drippings

Procedure. Chicken Collect Drippings from the roast after the Chicken has been roasted. Place drippings in a bowl and mash in the Garlic with the drippings. When done, transfer in a condiment bowl, and set aside.


To serve:

On a serving platter, place banana leaf and lay on it the roasted chicken and all three dips on the side.

Enjoy!Chef signed

Gift ideas for the holidays don’t need to be expensive. It’s the adventure you give that matters. Try out these other cooking styles of basic Pinoy dishes: Tinuktok na Laing or Chicken Tinola and then share the cheer, as much as we see that the holidays are fast approaching.

Chef Chris Lachenal strives to elevate Filipino cuisine and revive dishes that are slowly losing popularity. A former chef instructor, he emphasized the importance of understanding the process of things in order to grasp refinement in food. As a chef-for-hire he satisfies his clients, always. He is creative, passionate and believes that everything must be done with love. He strongly believes that the smallest detail makes a difference.

Homemade Dog Treats? Here’s One For You

The F Word: Food By Chef Chris Lachenal

If you’re a dog lover, already, your life is fun. You’ve got an instant best friend, a baby, a cute thing you can pick anytime. It makes life a bit easier just having a dog. Imagine if you have more than one! Like most, I love dogs, too! I grew up living with them in whatever form or size. My aunts who used to stay with us had Panda, a Japanese Spitz. She had half a black mask on her face, hence the name. After that we had a big Aspin named Ducky, after the little dinosaur character with the same name from that 80s animated movie The Land Before Time. We now have Girly, my German Shepherd-Aspin mix; Poopi, that all-white Scooby Doo; and  then there’s Charlie, a Yellow Lab; Cow, meanwhile, is an Australian Sheepdog wannabe; Lilo is the rescued beagle; and, of course, Sachi, the spoiled brat Husky.

Baked dog treats

Homemade dog treats. Take control of your pets’ nutrition by adding fruits and veggies to their treats. Photo by CCL

All these dogs are fed table food. Back in the day we give them our leftovers mixed with cheap rice. It was in that time with Girly when we learned of dog nutrition from our then vet Dra. Chua. These days, one gets a little mixed up and confused with dog food. It’s like a clash between branded medicines versus generic formulations. 

Charlie, my yellow Labrador had skin problems every so often. Her vet prescribed Mycocide, a medicated shampoo; it’s a bit expensive and reacts slow. So my pharmacist sister decided that Charlie had to use sulfur soap instead and that we have to change her diet. A veterinary nurse I met in a dog group on Facebook advised me to feed her with boiled pork and rice because chicken, beef, and seafood have allergens. It worked! The itching, flaking, and wounds were gone. 

When our dogs are good, extra special, or are just being sweet, we reward them with bread or biscuits, any treats from time to time. Not so long ago, I came across these dental care sticks for our canine friends. They smell like bacon but are hard! They also have this “plasticky” scent about them and dogs just love them, especially that husky Sachi. I wondered what those sticks are made of, even the dog pellets (kibble) and the canned dog food. After some reading of posts, news, pet articles, and blogs, I learned they are meat trimmings or scraps, the parts not sold but used to make other meat products. What’s scary is that because not all meats are created equal, some meat trimmings might cause serious problems for our fur babies, especially when they come from old and mishandled batches. 

What do you feed your furry babies? My dogs eat pork and rice for their meals. For their treats, I bake them! Dogs need vegetables too and you can search online as to what fruits and vegetables are good for them. This dog treat recipe shared here is basic bread or semi biscuit type, and you may add your veggies or fruits of choice. If you have no time to bake these ‘rewarding’ crunchies, you may order from FB: @FoodCreationsbyCCL for the all-natural, no-preservative, no-salt, and no-sugar Doggie Treats.

Baked dog treats

No time to bake? Place your order of healthy homemade dog treats. Photo by CCL


Basic Doggie Treats


4 c            Flour

1 tsp        Instant Yeast

1 Tbsp     Oil

¾ c           Water

1 c            Veggies, shredded, your choice

Procedure. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until well incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap or damp cloth and leave it to rise until it doubles in volume at room temperature.

Approximately, after an hour and a half, remove plastic wrap and punch down the dough to release air. Knead on a clean surface for about 2 minutes. Spread by use of a rolling pin or clean smooth bottle. The dough should be about half a centimeter thick. 

Cut out with a cookie cutter or simply cut strips with a knife and lay each “cookie” on a baking sheet at least one centimeter apart.

Bake for about 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius.

Let cool and treat your fur baby with some!

Note: Preheat your oven just before you cut out the treats.

Send human treats, too, with:

Gift ideas for the holidays, or check out how you can prepare usual table items differently and with style: Tinuktok na Laing or Chicken Tinola and share the cheer.

Featured image: Pups by Bill Emrich

Chef Chris Lachenal strives to elevate Filipino cuisine and revive dishes that are slowly losing popularity. A former chef instructor, he emphasized the importance of understanding the process of things in order to grasp refinement in food. As a chef-for-hire he satisfies his clients, always. He is creative, passionate and believes that everything must be done with love. He strongly believes that the smallest detail makes a difference.

Tried And Tested With A Twist

The F Word: Food By Chef Chris Lachenal

REMEMBER WHEN your mom or lola would give you sopas or arroz caldo when you’re sick? Wasn’t that the fun part of being sick then? Well, the Westerners have their own chicken soup versions, too. It is universally accepted that chicken soup boosts the immune system. Apart from that, it provides a sense of comfort and warmth. This warm and delicious soup dish, and all its other versions, is beneficial because it is packed with vitamins and minerals we get from the vegetables, meat, and broth. 

However, there are times we find the usual preparations boring that we want to add deeper flavors just to whet our appetites all the more. It’s the same with moms looking for ways to make their children eat vegetables or feed on healthier options instead of fast food preps or processed meats such as hotdogs, chicken nuggets, tocino etc., or with chefs who make fusion dishes to come up with more interesting offerings.

Recently, a dear friend of mine went through radiation treatment and we know how restrictive and limiting patient diets are. Sending a fruit basket is a no-brainer, but it lacks the touch of TLC—tender loving care. So I went for the tried and trusted Chicken Tinola, a.k.a. Chicken Meatloaf in Sayote Purée with Sili Leaves and Malunggay Pesto. It’s hot, healthy, comforting, and such a familiar dish! Or is it? There’s the mystery and of course, you can try this at home. 

Have fun with the recipe!

Chef signed

 If this is your first time here, you may be interested to check on my previous feature: Tinuktok na Laing.

Gift ideas? ‘Tis The Season provides them to you, ready to engage with a tap of your finger.

The following recipe is created by Chef Chris Lachenal and is download- and print-ready: The F Word: Food | Series 1 | Recipe 2

Tinola or

Chicken Meatloaf in Sayote Purée with Sili-Malunggay Pesto

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes

Good for 2 to 4 persons

Broth Ingredients

1/2 kg    Chicken bones 

2 Tbsp    Oil

1 Tbsp    Ginger, sliced thinly

1 Tbsp    Garlic, minced

1 Tbsp    Red Onion, chopped

1 Tbsp    Tomato, chopped

Salt         to taste

Water     to cover 

1 kg         Sayote, cubed

Procedure. In a saucepot, heat oil then sauté first the Ginger and Garlic until lightly golden. Add in Onions and Tomatoes and season with a pinch of Salt. Cook over low heat until onion and tomatoes are a mush.

Add in chicken bones and mix until it turns slightly gray in color. Pour water until bones are fully covered. Bring to a boil then simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Add in Sayote and cook until fork tender. Remove Sayote and strain the broth. Place Sayote and broth in a blender and blend until fine.

Chicken Meatloaf Ingredients

350 gm   ground Chicken

1 Tbsp     Ginger

1 Tbsp     Garlic

1 Tbsp     Red Onion

1 pc          Egg

1/2 Tbsp  Flour

1/2 tsp     Salt

1/2 tsp     ground Black Pepper

Procedure. In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Spread into llanera or baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and steam for 30-40 minutes. Test with a toothpick, if it comes out clean then it is cooked. Set aside and let cool. When cool, cut into cubes. Set aside.

Pesto Ingredients

1/2 c        Oil

1/4 c        Sili Leaves

1/4 c        Malunggay Leaves

Procedure. In a blender, combine the ingredients and blend until fine. Pour into a sauce pan and bring to simmer. Cook for about 2 minutes and set aside.  

In a saucepot, pour Sayote Purée and add Chicken Meatloaf cubes. Bring to a quick boil.

Serve in a bowl and drizzle with Sili-Malunggay Leaves Pesto.

Note: This Tinola version may be enjoyed with either steamed rice or toasted bread.  Enjoy!

Chef Chris Lachenal strives to elevate Filipino cuisine and revive dishes that are slowly losing popularity. A former chef instructor, he emphasized the importance of understanding the process of things in order to grasp refinement in food. As a chef-for-hire he satisfies his clients, always. He is creative, passionate, and believes that everything must be done with love and that the smallest detail makes a difference.

‘Tis The Season

The F Word: Food By Chef Chris Lachenal

It’s that time of year again. Despite the difficulties of 2020, Christmas is something we will always celebrate. It may not be the season of plenty as we had been used to in the past but we know it is the season of giving, of sharing. 

This pandemic is tough, we know. It got everyone off guard. No one was prepared for it. Many lost their jobs, their sources of income, businesses shut down and employees got laid off. 

But we are a nation of strong-willed people that do not just stand and watch things happen. We get things done. We are known for our resilience; no matter how difficult life is, we smile and face the day as usual. Our happiness meter is hard to break. Resiliency, ingenuity, perseverance, and love for family fuel our hearts to seek ways to survive, to live. 

And then there were those who discovered they can get by with cooking. So they opened their tiny shops, small businesses that have mushroomed via social media. Food delivery services helped a lot in this area, too. If you were like me, you won’t mind paying a little more for quality food—cooked and prepared soulfully and lovingly, just how food should be. 

So here is a list of food that you can enjoy and share with everyone you love. With less than 40 days to Christmas, these gift ideas and delectations for the holidays could be a better option to feel the season’s cheer and the warmth in giving and sharing. Do contact them through their social networks and/or numbers while it is early! And yes,  you’re welcome in advance.

Until our next encounter, 

Chef signed

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A pack of delicious, frozen, and ready-to-cook Gyoza @P255.00

Make that call now: 09175339394

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Kusina ni Moring by: Jinky 

Caramel Cake (lemon chiffon with caramel frosting) @P590.00 per 8 x 10-inch tray. There are also other delectable offerings that you may try so check her page.

Give them a call: 09989527868

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Evil Sister’s

An assortment of baked loaves and treats ranging from P130.00 to P400.00. 

Call now 09227990125

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Mc and Cheese

This shop is known for its Blueberry cheesecake, rice bakes, and party trays. Prices range from P130.00 to P1,300.00.

Mcall them:  09369680298

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Bunns x Spices

They bake soft and yummy cheese buns. They just came out with meat buns, too! Prices range from P200.00 to P275.00.

Their goodies are also on Instagram

Call now: 09619356660

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Putahe ng Mama Mo

One upcoming tiny shop, this is made popular by their crunchy chilak (chicharon bulaklak that is ready to eat or ready to cook) plus that homemade vinegar with that oomph! 

Their bestsellers: Chili Garlic sauce and Bagoong.

Price points for their offerings range from P60.00 to P375.00. Try them!

Their messaging features easy and intuitive options. Message now!

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Mumzilla MNL

Try their Gourmet Tuyo and Samgyupsal meat products! These two stay-at-home moms in a joint venture offer products they love to prepare.

They also have plain and marinated meats, filleted salmon and other parts, and boneless smoked Bangus in their arsenal. 

Price points are from P140.00 to P950.00.

Now, let them know you’re interested: 09491678197

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They offer roasted coffee beans, bottled sardines, and fabric bowl covers. Ask about their bundle packs.

Prices range from P150.00 to P450.00++.

Call now: 0916 737 8240

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Louise in the Kitchen

Uber-ly delicious Nacho Dip trays! They also offer crunchy Chili Garlic in Oil and cabbage pork rolls. Direct message them on Instagram.

Prices vary from P70.00- P580.00

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Manutong ng Ichan

Known for their paluto style of menu, their prices range accordingly.

They also have menu offerings you would love.

Get curious, call 09459909186.

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Handmade Confections

Here’s another mom who loves baking, and her Puto Overload is something to crave for (@P140.00 for a box of 12)!

There are other bakes you can try, so check her page. 

Connect now: 09773362197

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SanLu’s Kitchen

Customers keep coming back! They can’t stop asking for more of their Salted Egg flavored potato chips in regular and spicy variants!

Let them know you want to try their exotic offerings via direct message on Facebook or Instagram

The tasty chips are priced @P280.00 per pack.

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Food Creations by Chef Chris Lachenal

We offer an array of heirloom recipe dishes passed down from generations of great home cooks.

Please see our menu on our Facebook page.

Prices range from P300.00 to P2,300.00

Call us now: 09178520606

Hero image: Gift by Kim Stiver 

Photos for each entry above were either provided by the business owners or captured from their social network pages or sites.

Chef Chris Lachenal strives to elevate Filipino cuisine and revive dishes that are slowly losing popularity. A former chef instructor, he emphasized the importance of understanding the process of things in order to grasp refinement in food. As a chef-for-hire he satisfies his clients, always. He is creative, passionate and believes that everything must be done with love. He strongly believes that the smallest detail makes a difference.