Pinoy celebrity chefs share their top kitchen picks

Starting out your dream kitchen can be overwhelming.  Once you head to the kitchen section of any store, you will be showered by aisle and aisle of options, promoting you to fall into impulse buying.

Before you fall into the trap and max your credit card, Modern Living talked to two of Philippines most applauded chefs during Lady’s Choice “Choice of the Nation Cook-Off” and asked them their favorite kitchen tools and appliances:

Chef Fernando Aracama

Chef Fernando Aracama

When it comes to all things food, Chef Fernando Aracama already has decades of culinary experience up his sleeves. As a proud probinsyano from Bacolod, Chef Ferns also grew up watching his parents in the kitchen. In college, he was also tapped to cook for his brothers while they were studying in Manila.

Apart from showcasing rich Filipino flavors at Aracama Filipino Cuisine, “The Choice of the Nation” chef judge has also been part of television shows such as The Amazing Food Challenge Fun in the Philippines, MasterChef and Junior MasterChef Philippines.

So who wouldn’t want the top three Chef Ferns Aracama-approved kitchen essentials?

“I really want a nice cast iron skillet. It’s for cooking everything from pancakes, fried chicken, to bacon, and steaks. I also want a charcoal grill because I like lighting things on fire. It’s perfect if you have a restaurant because cooking with charcoal and fire really something special for me — it’s how I grew up and I’m a probinsyano,” Chef Aracama told Modern Living.

“And if there is one last thing, I really want a sharp knife, which is essential for every chef,” he added.

Chef Robert Pengson

Chef Robert Pengson

If you are a fan of lifestyle channels and cooking shows, you have surely come across multi-awarded celebrity chef Robert Pengson. At 19, Chef Rob flew to America and took up a two-year associate degree course at the California Culinary Academy.

Since then, he started sharing his culinary knowledge through teaching and hosting. He was also the co-founder of Global Academy Culinary and Hospitality, a leading culinary school established in 2007.

If you want to feel like a celebrity chef in your own humble kitchen, check out Chef Rob’s kitchen essentials.

“Appliance-wise, I really like induction cookers because they don’t heat up the house so much and it’s also energy-efficient. I like a chopping board that is easy to clean and sanitize so that the food you serve your customers or eat with your family is clean and safe. I like hardwood, however, the plastic ones are easier to clean and sanitize,” he said.

“Of course, a sharp knife is also very important because a dull knife is a dangerous knife,” the “Choice of the Nation” the chef judge also recommended.

Choice of the Nation

Apart from Chef Ferns and Chef Rob, the country’s biggest names in the culinary industry such as Chefs Sau del Rosario, Kalel Chan and Brando Santos picked the first-ever Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) and Lady’s Choice “Choice of the Nation” chef.

Out of 87 entries, 10 talented Filipino cooks made it to the Choice of the Nation Grand Cook-Off last Sept. 13 at Glorietta 2 Activity Center.

After a day of whipping interesting mayo-based dips, Chef Edward Taponan’s Thai Chili Honey Dressings took home the title while Chef Villa Amor Loresca’s Alamang Con Mayo and Chef Jayrald Yambao’s The Fishmongers Remoulade bagged first and second place, respectively.

The UFS and Lady’s Choice’s Choice of the Nation competition aims to push the talent of Filipino chefs, pursue food innovation, unravel genuine kitchen, as aligned with UFS’ mission in helping push forward the food and service industry. To learn more about Choice of the Nation, visit