Television viewers feasted on ABS-CBN’s newest kiddie cooking reality show “Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition” as its enticing primer “The Appetizer” ruled the national primetime ratings last Saturday (August 20) with 22.9 percent, compared to only 14.0 percent of GMA7’s “Manny Many Prizes,” according to Kantar Media.
In the delightful primer, host Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo introduced the 60 impressive amateur chefs from all over the country, and the three revered chef critics, including Chef Fernando “Ferns” Aracama.
Chef Ferns, who hails from Bacolod, says he’s “ready to be wowed” by the dishes the kiddie cooks will prepare.
“If I had a similar opportunity when I was younger, I would sign up for this without batting an eyelash,” he says.
With almost 30 years in the profession, “The Maestro” gladly admits he started as a “saling-pusa” in the kitchen, assisting his parents in mixing and stir-frying food.
Cooking fascinated Chef Ferns when he was still six years old when he saw his father expertly making his way around the kitchen. Young and inquisitive, he already displayed utter interest and skill that would soon make him a great chef.
“To see a male figure in the kitchen was an affirmation that guys can also do the same thing. I had a small notebook when I was twelve; I was converting recipes, writing conversion from cups to table spoons,” he recounts.
“The Maestro” reveals that he was trained to be a scientist in high school. All this changed when he got accepted to the University of the Philippines’ Hotel & Restaurant Administration program, which had cooking classes that rekindled his “love affair” with culinary arts.
Later he gained training at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, USA where he received his Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts in 1993.
He currently owns and serves as Executive Chef in several Manila-based restaurants in Manila.
Because of his expertise in the field, Chef Ferns has judged in various local culinary competitions, and represented the country as member of the Philippine National Culinary Team. He’s also an active committee member of Les Toques Blanches, the premier chefs’ association of the Philippines.
Get to know the 60 young kitchen stars and find out who will advance to the Top 20 on the premiere of “Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition” on Saturday (August 27), 6:45 PM after “Wansapanataym” on ABS-CBN. For program updates, like the official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/jrmasterchef or follow @jrmasterchef_ph on Twitter.