(reposted from http://ph.dining.asiatatler.com/features/louise-mabulo-culinary-prodigy)
A UK-raised home-schooled Filipina from Camarines Sur, the now 17-year-old Louise Mabulo grew up watching and learning from her TV chef idols, the adorable Jamie Oliver and the sultry Nigella Lawson, sparking and fuelling her insatiable curiosity and passion for food.
Little did she know, a young and impressionable Mabulo would later end up be on another popular cooking TV show that would change her life; in 2011, she became a MasterChef® Junior finalist, landing an impressive fifth place at the age of 12.
But the bright young Bicolano was far from done with the culinary world. Upon her return to the Philippines, Mabulo has since judged many a prestigious competition and given countless culinary talks and seminars across the country to aspiring youngsters and veterans alike. Along the way, Mabulo garnered even more recognition, winning the Best Dessert Award at the Disciples des Escoffier Young Talent Trophy Asia, which took place in Hong Kong. Recalls Mabulo, “It took a countless number of amazing mentors and invaluable advice before I took on the three-day competition against representatives from all around Asia. Being the youngest candidate and only girl, it was a shock to everyone when I took home the Best Dessert Award in Asia, which I admit, was pretty sweet.”
Last year, Mabulo went home with the Bronze Medal for the Creative Breakfast Challenge at the Philippine Culinary Cup and is, in fact, the youngest person to be awarded a National Certificate in Cookery by the Technical Education and Skills Development Administration (TESDA) and was a Philippine delegate to The Asian Student Leadership Conference.
The accolades don’t end there. At only 15, despite being underage, she graduated a course in Social Entrepreneurship at the Watson Institute. She also has an online wine course from Adelaide University under her belt and is concurrently studying at the University of the Philippines Open University and managing her own culinary studio where aspiring chefs, mothers and teenagers are learning to cook nutritious locally-sourced meals at home and to potentially kick-start their own business ventures, too.
As such, the accomplished Mabulo received invites left and right to be a guest chef at internationally acclaimed events such as the World Food Expo, Madrid Fusion Manila and recently, at a Moet & Chandon dinner hosted at the Pacific Club in Hong Kong. Boldfaced names in the Manila restaurant scene have also sat up and taken notice, inviting Mabulo to cook up dinner events such as at the Gallery at Vask, which has been awarded as one of the 50 best restaurants in Asia, as well as at the Smith & Butcher Grill Room, a Philippine Tatler Best Restaurants Guide Top 20 awardee.
Having left an indelible sweet mark on their palates since her Young Talent Trophy Asia win in Hong Kong, most recently, Mabulo collaborated with Escoffier (in fact, the Institut Culinaire Disciples Escoffier [ICDE] of Hong Kong will be partnering with the Center of Culinary Arts [CCA] Manila and offering courses at the new CCA Makati campus early this year).
The Escoffier-Mabulo collaboration, which took place at the Fairmont in Makati, comprised a five-course dinner. A mind-blowing culinary experience in itself but to have a gifted prodigy mastermind the entire menu from beginning to end was something else altogether.
The evening, which was attended by the esteemed members of the ICDE Hong Kong and top restaurateurs, commenced with a light appetizer of Cauliflower Cream with Chorizo Tartare to whet the appetite; an absolutely stunning combination was the roasted duck foie gras and tuna sashimi served with Granny Smith and ginger chutney; the rich and subtly sweet beef tenderloin on a delicate mushroom tart was a wonderfully flavourful main but it was the perfectly cooked tenderness of the lamb loin stuffed with herbs and Nicoise vegetables that elevated the savoury courses to soaring heights; and to cap it off was a gorgeous lemon, lime and brie cheesecake creation that Mabulo brilliantly formed into the shape of an actual bright yellow lemon fruit (see images for your yourselves!). These five phenomenal courses were each paired with some standout California wines from The Wine Club.
Humble, utterly polite and well-spoken, Mabulo reiterated at the end of the Escoffier dinner just how honoured she was to be working with such mentors and that she was excited about what the future had in store for her so she could, in turn, impart the precious knowledge bestowed upon her.
Mabulo dreams to one day revolutionize the Philippine food industry by promoting local ingredients, bringing back original Filipino cuisine, whilst modernizing the techniques to create world-class Filipino delicacies, which she is already applying to her newest inventions.
And who knows, this go-getting young lady just may become Asia’s next TV chef superstar. Nigella Lawson, watch this space…