Global Academy x SoMoms Workshop

I’ve always liked cooking and even before I got married, I already knew how to cook because my mom would ask for my help in the kitchen. When I moved out from home and started a family of my own, I already have a few family recipes which my mom taught me. Still, I like learning new recipes and I mostly get it on the Internet. Sometimes though when the schedule is too pressing, I end up preparing what I already know how to cook by heart. I do miss the times when my mom would teach me new recipes. In this day and age, there’s really no excuse not to try and learn how to cook because there’s a lot of platform online that you can use in order for you to get started in the kitchen such as YouTube or Pinterest.

Still, nothing beats learning firsthand and through experience. I guess it’s really different because live demonstration makes it easier to understand. Lucky for me, Global Academy opened its doors last week to me and my fellow SoMoms for an afternoon of cooking and learning. The exclusive cooking demo was headed by Chef Erika of Global Academy and I, together with five other momma friends of mine had a taste and feel of what its like to cook in the epicurean lab of Global Academy.


Global Academy is a culinary and hospitality school founded by Chef Rob Pengson and Chef Benjamin Ledesma Jr. The professional culinary school provides the highest standards of education and training for the benefit of its students, customers, partners and country. Today, Global Academy is located in Pasig, Alabang, Quezon City and Makati, making it the only professional culinary school that has four branches in Metro Manila.

In 2012 Global Academy is the first culinary school in the Philippines to receive The World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) Recognition of Quality Culinary Education. This means that the school’s culinary programs have met WACS’ high quality standards of culinary education. With this new recognition for quality culinary education from WACS, it does not only bring the school to the next level but it also raises its profile in the international global culinary landscape. (source)


We were so excited to learn more about cooking under one of Global Academy’s chefs, Chef Erika De Leon.

After meeting up with her sometime last year, we finally pushed through with the workshop which was held last Saturday. We were able to cook three recipes: Carrot & Zucchini Muffins, Citrus Braised Chicken with Turmeric & Mediterranean Rice Pilaf, and Whole Roasted Fish with Herb Sauce.

Before we had our chance to cook in the kitchen, we first watched Chef Erika’s demo.

 Carrot & Zucchini Muffins



3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground ginger
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 pieces eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 grated zucchini
1/2 carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup desiccated coconut


Pre-heat oven to 400ºF
In one large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
In another bowl, combine eggs, canola oil, grated zucchini and carrots. Mix well then pour into the bowl of dry ingredients.
Mix gently and then when it’s almost well combined, add the walnuts and coconut and fold gently. Do not over mix.
Portion into muffin tins and bake for 30-35 minutes.


You can use substitute flour (cassava,  if you don’t like whole wheat flour but you have to check the label if the measurement is the same).

Do crack the egg on a separate bowl and not directly on the mixing bowl. Doing it this way will save you enough trouble should you have a bad egg.

Sift baking powder and baking soda before adding it in the mix to avoid lumps.

You can also switch white sugar with brown or muscovado sugar if you want it more healthier.

You can also use almond instead of walnuts. Toast first on low heat before adding it to the mix.

Don’t forget to coat your muffin tin with oil before putting in your muffin mix. You can also get those canned oil spray to make it easier.

Prep time: 10 minutes Baking time: 25-35 minutes Yield: 12 pieces

You can check your muffins halfway through baking. If you like it a tad bit chewy and soft you might want to take it out from the oven at 20 minutes.

Citrus Braised Chicken with Turmeric 



2 pieces chicken leg quarters, cut in half

2 pieces chicken breasts (bone-in), cut in half

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 piece lemon, zested and juiced

1/2 piece large orange, zested and juiced

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

pinch ground black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

1-1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 piece large white onion, cut into 8 wedges

1/2 piece lemon, sliced thinly

1/2 piece orange, sliced thinly


In a mixing bowl, combine chicken pieces, mustard, garlic, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, ground turmeric, salt and pepper.

Toss well and allow chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, cut the large white onion into 8 wedges. Slice the lemon and orange and set aside.

In a large saute pan, over medium heat pour in olive oil and wait until it gets a little hot.

Remove excess marinade on chicken pieces and place the pieces in one even layer. Do not overcrowd the pan.

Cook for about 1 minute or until the skin turns brown and turn the chicken pieces over.

Once all the chicken pieces are browned, set aside.

In the same pan, you will find brown bits at the bottom so pour a little chicken stock and deglaze the pan.

Return all the pieces of chicken into the pan. Add in the rest of the chicken stock and leftover marinade. Taste the cooking liquid if it needs salt and pepper. Adjust if needed.

Tuck in the pieces of onion wedges. Top the chicken with a layer of sliced lemon and orange.

Cover well and lower the heat. Braise for about 20-25 minutes.

Check if the chicken juices run clear, no trace of blood. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Mediterranean Rice Pilaf


1 cup long grain rice

1/2 cup cracked Burghul wheat


2 cloves garlic, minced

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 piece lemon, zested and juiced

1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes, OPTIONAL

1 piece small green bell pepper, seeded then small diced

1 piece tomato diced

1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped

1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley, chopped

salt and ground pepper to taste


In a small sauce pot, add rice with equal part water. Cook until fluffy.

In another small sauce pot, boil about 1 1/2 cups water. Add burghul wheat and stir. Turn off heat and cover well until wheat absorbs all the water.

While waiting for the starches to cook, chop green bell pepper, tomato, dried apricots, and fresh herbs. Toast the shaved almonds. Set aside.

Before the starches are done cooking, prepare the vinaigrette.

Combine the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, lemon zest and juice.

Season with chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

In a big mixing bowl, pour in the warm cooked rice and cooked burghul wheat. Toss in a little of the vinaigrette to give it flavor.

Once the starches are fluffy and not sticky, add in the chopped ingredients.

Toss and add more of the vinaigrette.

Serve with the Citrus Braised Chicken and Turmeric.


You can substitute Dijon mustard with white wine & vinegar.

Best to zest a fruit whole (don’t cut it yet) with a fine grater. Do not zest the white skin of the fruit.

Use the head of the knife to butcher the chicken. Break it first at the hinge and do not cut through the bone. (See photo below).

Fry the chicken inside down first.

You can braise in the oven at 400ºF for about 20 minutes and uncover for another 5 minutes.

The minimum time you can marinate is at least 30-40 minutes. This gives enough time for flavors to seep into the meat, while maximum time is 24 hours. Be sure to refrigerate your marinade and cover it  (a cling wrap will do if its in a mixing bowl) to avoid contamination.

Prep time: 20-30 minutes Cooking time: 30-45 minutes Yeild: 6-8 servings


 Deglazing is a technique for removing brown residue (caramelized bits) in a pan to flavor sauces. It is simply adding stock or water to soften these brown residues.

Whole Roasted Fish with Herb Sauce



2 pieces whole Barramundi, scaled and cleaned

2 pieces large tomatos, cored and sliced

2 pieces lemon, sliced into round

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1/2 bunch fresh parsely

2 sprigs fresh thyme

4 pieces dried bayleaf

1 kilo potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8 thick rounds

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Herb sauce:

1/2 piece lemon, zested and juiced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano

1 table spoon fresh chopped Parsley

1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil

1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped mint

salt and pepper to taste


Pre-heat oven to 450ºF

Clean the fish by removing the scales, the gills and any innards. Rinse well.

Inside the cavity, lightly season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the cavity with slices of lemon, tomato, and garlic and continue to stuff more with fresh parsley, thyme and bay leaf.

Line a baking tray with foil. Arrange a bed of sliced potatoes. Drizzle a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place the fish on top and rub some olive oil onto the skin.

Roast the entire stuffed fish in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving or cutting into the fish.

To prepare herb sauce:

Gently warm the olive oil and butter in a small pot or pan. Remove from heat.

Add in the garlic and fresh herbs. Whisk in the mustard, lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust if needed. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes.

Serve with the herb sauce on the side.


To avoid scales fall over, when scaling the fish put it inside a plastic bag. This will contain the scales in, making it less messy.

You can opt to use a food processor or a blender to chop the herbs.

If you’re going to use dry thyme, use only half of the measurement of the fresh one.

When storing fresh herbs in your refrigerator, line the container with tissue at the base and at the top before sealing it with a cover. The tissue will help absorb the moisture, making your herbs fresh for days. You can also place it in a container, add water and cover with cling wrap.







 After Chef Erika’s demonstration, it was our turn to cook in the kitchen through their Epicurean Lab.

The Epicurean Lab is a unit in Global Academy that specializes in short courses for those who can’t commit to a full time culinary education. Since we’re all moms who want to learn more recipes and tips in cooking but couldn’t really commit to a full culinary course, we opted to learn through their Epicurian Lab. Epicurean Lab is also adding seminars for those aspiring to put up their own food business called L.I.F.E. (Lessons in Food Entrepreneurship). I was partnered with Mish while Michelle was with Neva and Cai was paired with Tina.


 Cai & I were joking around as we peel potatoes. “So, ganito pala ang feeling ni Princess Sarah pag nagbabalat sya ng patatas!” 😀

One thing I notice while we were preparing our dishes is how efficient we are. Having the right kitchen tools can really cut your time in preparing the ingredients for your dish. We were crushing on Chef Erika’s ceramic knife in limited edition black. It can slice the lemons and oranges effortlessly. We’ve added it to our wish list! 🙂

It’s my first time to cook in an epicurean lab and it was a really good experience for me and the rest of the SoMoms. We managed to finish all three dishes within one and a half hours. I love that we were so efficient! I guess it helps that we have the necessary kitchen tools we needed and have different stations to prep our food. This saved a lot of time and effort on our end. Plus, we didn’t need to worry about cleaning up after. This last part made us enjoy cooking even more! Heehee. Although we felt like we were in Hell’s Kitchen or Top Chef, still this experience is one for the books. Now I want to do another demo cooking class.


 I have much respect for all the chefs who are so passionate in preparing wonderful dishes for their clients. It’s really not easy to pace around the kitchen going from one station to another, simultaneously doing things under time pressure while making sure the dishes come out delicious. Thank you again Chef Erika and Chef Bianca for an informative and yummy afternoon!


What makes demo cooking more fun? Doing it together with people you like. I’m so glad I did this with Michelle of Momma N’ Manila, Cai of Apples & Dumplings, Tina of Phenomenal Mama, Neva of Manila Mommy and Michelle of My Mom Friday.

If you’re looking into enrolling yourself to short courses through Global Academy, I suggest go with a friend or with a group of friends. It’s less intimidating and really more fun!

Global Academy offers different short courses in all of their 4 branches. For more information visit their website at


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  1. says

    Jackie!!! This was so much fun! I’m so glad we got to attend this class together with Cai, Tina, Neva and Michelle! Plus-now we have some new recipes to adapt and make our own!! Hooray for fun in the kitchen with friends!


  1. […] was taken during the day The SoMoms & I had our culinary class at Global Academy. Cai of Apples & Dumplings, Michelle of My Mom-Friday & I met up an hour before our cooking […]

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