Hearty Talk with Celebrity Chef Donita Rose

Disclaimer: This is the full feature from The Royal Chef column on Edge Davao.

The culinary realm is a journey in itself that gratifies one’s hunger and thirst for knowledge. It is not just about food, ingredients and the process of cooking. It is about conveying the many faces of food hence allowing the self to experience a holistic dining experience unlike any other.

Chefs, foodies and food enthusiasts understands that a dish is more than just a dish. The before, during and after of creating a dish symbolizes an endeavour that translates the many emotions of the one manning the kitchen. True for me … and too holds true for Celebrity Chef Donita Rose.


Known as an international VJ, many are surprised to know that she also has a culinary degree under her belt. That she spent some years behind kitchen doors to fully appreciate and understand the ins and outs of the culinary world. That includes scrubbing the floors, washing dishes and every thing else in between.

Last Kadayawan, Chef Donita gave us a first-hand experience of how she is inside the kitchen and how she is able to come up with dishes that she loves until the last bite. Her passion for food and cooking is inevitable. Her mom, who is a Kapampangan, loves to cook. Her dad, who is an American, loves to eat. She inherited both.


Being in Davao, she whipped up an appetizing dish that used our very own durian. As a main course. Yup, you read that right. Swaying away from the typical use of durian in dishes, she decided to create a dish that’s already familiar …but with an added twist. Her chicken curry with durian was surprisingly delicious. Not pungent, as we would expect from any dish with durian, and satisfyingly creamy but without the umay factor.


As an ambassador (Jolly Heart Mate Canola Oil), Chef Donita is all about creating dishes that are easy to prepare and of course, healthy for everyone to enjoy. Talking to her, she shared that she fancies using ingredients that are readily available. Local fresh produce are the gems for her dishes. Oh and she has an herb garden too that she always turns to when cooking.


Another factor for Chef Donita is using the right oil when cooking. Be it for frying or sautéing, she says that a good foundation, when cooking, is the oil you are using. Canola oil, unlike our regular vegetable oil, contains Vitamin A and has a paler colour compared to others. It has a light texture and a very neutral taste that makes it perfect for all any kind of cooking.

This I know to be true. My mom loves to use canola oil and keeps a stash back at home. At first, I thought all oils are the same. When Mom introduced me to canola oil, I found out that it contains the least amount of saturated fats (considered bad fats) and contains omega 3 and omega 6 — good for the heart.


Personally, what I love about it is that it has one of the highest smoking points. In short, this kind of oil is very ideal for frying. For someone like me who loves to experiment and mimic the recipes I see on Youtube (thank you, MyVirginKitchen, SortedFood and Jamie Oliver), I have become conscious of what kind of oil I use for the type of dishes I cook. Honestly, knowing and using the right oil makes a big difference.


Here’s a recipe that I love and that uses canola oil. This is very easy to prepare and uses minimal ingredients.


Pesto and Gourmet Daing Pasta
1 – Cook pasta according to package. Set aside with a little of the pasta water (to keep it from drying).
2 – In a pan, pour canola oil. Sauté minced onion until translucent. Add chopped garlic and sauté until a bit brown.
3 – Add chili flakes and garlic powder. Mix well.
4 – Add Gourmet Daing and mix.
5 – Add pesto.
6 – Toss in pasta.
7 – Transfer to plate and serve with cheese and fresh basil.

Follow my messy food affair at IG: @iamleebai



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