In Memory of Clinton Palanca

May 30, 2019

Many herald Clinton Palanca as a chef, writer and restaurant reviewer, his contributions to Esquire,, and The Philippine Inquirer helping steer our decisions on where and what to eat. But he was never just one to write what he liked and disliked; so always did his works go beyond the food on his plate and to the establishment’s surrounding context.

The respect, devotion, and attention we give to Filipino food at home, the fulfillment and delight we take in making it and expanding its boundaries—whether cooking at home or as expatriates abroad, our uncompromising pride in how it is satisfying as no other food can be: these, more than anything, are what will make the rest of the world give us the respect and attention we wonder why we’re not getting. –Bite Me, I’m Brown and Oily in The Gullet

To us, he was a model of how we wanted to write like—with authority, but with empathy and respect for the restaurant industry in which he himself used to be. With literary works that include The Mad Tea Party: The Pleasures of Taste and The Gullet: Dispatches on Philippine Food (among other non-food related titles), Palanca shared insights on the common cry for “authenticity” and international recognition that made us challenge our presumptions and changed the way we view Filipino food. Palanca looks to the past to understand the present, and the legacy he’s left impacts our writing towards the future. Thank you, Sir Clinton. You will be missed.

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