Celebrity Filipino chef Luis Rey ‘Nino’ Logarta enthralled the audience at the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) 2018 in Doha on Friday with his live demonstration of two seafood-themed Filipino recipes. Logarta is among the 14 internationally-renowned chefs who have been invited by Qatar Tourism Authority to share their “secret ingredients and techniques” at the QIFF Cooking Theatre.

The live cooking demonstration is one of the highlights of the 11-day culinary event, which will run until March 25 at the Hotel Park. “I chose to do the ‘aligue’ rice with a lot of lump crab meat and a lot of vegetables to add colour and texture. I also prepared a dried squid floss to top that off,” he said.
“Filipino food is very simple, easy flavours, very straightforward,” Logarta stressed. “All our recipes don’t go over 10 ingredients, which are very easy to source.”

The QIFF 2018 features cultural performances throughout the 11-day culinary event at the Hotel Park. 

The Filipino chef was preceded by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s presentation on stage, featuring the art of preparing tuna sushi and sashimi. About Logarta’s participation at QIFF, he lauded the event saying he was impressed with the organisation, the set up and “everything happening here.”
QIFF, dubbed as the country’s longest-running food festival, presents a bigger celebration of Qatar’s cultural diversity and home-grown talent this year through a rich mix of culinary delights and entertainment.
The festival brings culinary and cultural experiences from all corners of the globe to Qatar’s residents and visitors. “I am really proud of representing the Philippines and the embassy told me I am the first Filipino to be part of the presentation and I am very proud of that,” Logarta said. 

A large number of festival-goers enjoying the food and the ambience. 

Shawarma is a big hit at the culinary event. PICTURES: Ram Chand

About popularising the Filipino cuisine, he hopes it will get into the global market like famous dishes of other countries in different regions. “We can probably just inject it or marry it with other techniques to make it more interesting and more appealing to other cultures, especially that way it looks,” Logarta said. “How can you make ‘Laing’ (a popular local Filipino dish) look pretty (for example)? What do they usually say when other people see that?”
Besides injecting certain techniques to Filipino dishes, he also suggested infusing ingredients from the Arabic culture with the food, which can heighten the flavours. “We can use other food techniques and ingredients to make it more familiar to their palate, slowly introduce it to them,” said Logarta, who is currently the corporate chef for Mega Global in Manila.
The Filipino chef is also an endorser of a number of food products, together with popular female artiste Marian Rivera. Apart from teaching some TV celebrities on food preparations, he also teaches at the Modern Culinary Academy. 
Sharing his passion for cooking, Logarta said he likes preparing Asian cuisines, which he described as flavourful, more dynamic and “more interesting for me.” “If someone asks me what is my specialty I really don’t want to answer them -- it is Japanese or it is Filipino -- but I always say I like cooking,” he pointed out. “But again I can cook anything but I don’t want to be bashed by anyone who feel that they are actually more of connoisseurs in a certain cuisine.”