Strengthening promotion of Canadian agri-food in the Philippines 

Filming the use of Canadian food products

Filming the use of Canadian food products

Chefs showcase Canadian food products

Ambassador Thornley and the hotel’s general manager, Henry Lee

The Embassy of Canada in the Philippines recently led a successful campaign to promote Canadian agri-food products directly to consumers through a food promotion event at a leading five-star hotel, and a television cooking show.

The Embassy partnered with the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel Manila to hold a Canadian food festival at their restaurant HEAT from November 8 to 20, 2011. Dubbed "Canada HEATs it up", the festival featured an extensive selection of ingredients flown in from Canada. The hotel’s Canadian executive sous chef, Damon Campbell, drew inspiration from family recipes and diverse regional cuisines.

Two weeks prior to the promotion, an exclusive preview lunch was held for the country’s top food media representatives. The event was designed to offer guests a sampling of menu items set against a backdrop of Canadiana, featuring a setup of cocktail tables and live cooking stations, resulting in lively interaction amongst attendees. From the décor to the background music, everything had a touch of Canada, including a ceremonial hockey puck drop by Ambassador Thornley and the hotel’s general manager, Henry Lee. The 'buzz' at the event quickly translated to tweets and posts on various social media sites, with more than ten print and online features highlighting the event. A local cable channel, The Lifestyle Network, also covered the event for a short segment program.

Following the collaborative efforts of both the hotel and the Embassy in promoting the event, the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel reported that it was their most successful food festival to date, based on the record-breaking turnout of diners over the 2-week period, as well as positive feedback on the dishes prepared. According to figures from a local media monitoring agency, the food promotion translated to at least CAD 53,000 worth of media coverage, with more expected from possible post-event features in magazines. 

In another food promotion initiative this past October, the Embassy partnered with the producers of Curiosity Got The Chef, a Filipino cooking show hosted by Canada-trained chef Sharwin Tee, on leading cable channel The Lifestyle Network. For the show's season finale, Chef Sharwin used Canadian ingredients to create Filipino dishes for a tasting dinner with guest of honour, Ambassador Christopher Thornley, and other members of the Embassy.

Using Canadian ingredients such as oysters from British Columbia, beef from Alberta, canola oil from the Prairies, ice wine from Ontario, and maple syrup from Quebec, the end result was a delightful fusion of Canadian food products and traditional Filipino fare. The episode aired several times in the Philippines and may soon be broadcast in Canada on The Filipino Channel.

The success of these food promotion initiatives has served to strengthen Canada's reputation in the local market as a reliable source of high-quality food and agri-food products.