by Lucia Austria
Gastronomy alumnus, accomplished baker, and cookbook author, Rudolf Vincent T. Manabat, knew that the multidisciplinary master’s program would be a perfect fit. After graduating with a degree in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts from De La Salle University – College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines, Rudolf searched for food studies programs in the United States. “BU’s Gastronomy program was my first choice. I’m an avid fan of its founder, Julia Child.” Rudolf dived into the world of gastronomy with his first class, Anthropology of Food taught by Karen Metheny. There he learned the relationships between culture, cuisine, and authenticity, setting the stage for his academic career.
Without hesitation, Rudolf immersed himself in Boston culture. Through the course, Culture and Cuisine: New England, he discovered the rich complexities of American foodways. By connecting with fellow classmates and local foodies, Rudolf enjoyed the metropolitan city’s rich diversity. “My friend and classmate, Ashley Pardo, taught me how to prepare vegan cakes and pastries. Tokyo native Sarah Kurobe shared her knowledge of Japanese food. It’s really about building a network, and the program helped make that connection!”
The Gastronomy program was also an opportunity for Rudolf to examine food systems in his home country. His final paper for the course, Understanding Food: Theory and Methodology, examined food insecurities in the Philippines. “Rice is every Filipino household’s basic security. In my paper, I discussed how social inequality in the Philippines deprives poor farmers from their social security needs. Moreover, I emphasized on how the local rice farmers practice their agencies to help demolish the social inequality that has been keeping them deprived.”
After graduating in May 2012, Rudolf accepted a position at his alma mater as a Culinary Lecturer. Rudolf shares his passion for cooking with his students and emphasizes the value of thinking critically about food, a skill he honed as a BU student. “In my lessons, I incorporate theories that I’ve learned in the Gastronomy program by making my students aware of the current food issues in developing countries, and how we could all help create long-term interventions to prevent food shortages and poverty. Majority of the colleges in the Philippines do not offer food policy courses, and one of my goals is to develop a course that deals primarily with the current food issues worldwide.”
When he’s not inspiring his students in the classroom, Rudolf bakes and writes recipes for his self-authored cookbooks. In 2008, he was recognized as the Philippines’ youngest cookbook author with his book, Gastronomy & I. His second book, Baking Secrets made the 2012 list for Top 5 Philippine Publication Bestseller, and was also awarded as the Philippines’ “Best Dessert Book” by Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Rudolf is currently completing his third work, More Baking Secrets.
While a student at BU, Rudolf took advantage of the learning and networking opportunities offered within and outside the Gastronomy program. “Never stop learning and exploring. It’s all about meeting and working with the right (if not the best) foodies, and the program made it happen for me!”
Lucia is a current Gastronomy student, gastronomyatbu.com 2012 Fall Editor, & Purchasing Coordinator for Taza Chocolate.