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One .. or a few personal stories I have for you readers

I’ve never done it – an omnibus post about a huge corporate entity – but I think it’s about time I send this one out of draft. It’s been sitting here for weeks. The reason mostly was because I had burned my fingers from the Fearless Cooking Challenge, went to Singapore for Nokia Connection and got food poisoned on the last 2 days, and then huge cramps from Lazer Tag which really made me feel like a lolo.

But anyway the fog has cleared up and I now have some time to write about my experiences with Unilever. You see, I’ve had strong epiphanies before but owe it to the timing of several Unilever events in the span of a month and you can really get immersed in the brand.

OK, here goes nothing.

Unilever and Lipton
Look, I love tea, but not a huge fan of milk tea. I drink it, but it’s not something I rave about (even Kevin Rose thinks that Lipton isn’t really the gourmet choice of teas). So what’s odd? Why is it that whenever I think of Lipton I’m always reminded of good things? No it had nothing to do with their “feel good” events organized by Bridges. Whenever I think of the brand Lipton the following good things come to mind:

## how Minnie Fong (from Unilever) and Alexei Villaraza (from Bridges) took great concern over Phoebe’s hospitalization and sent her a get well soon package. A lot of the tea that they gave were also used to warm people at her lolo’s wake. That’s how much they gave, and it’s something I really appreciate.

## (this one is funny) Waaaaaaaay back, I suffered from a huge depression bout (one of those rare things that happen to me) and I was in front of the computer with no one to unload my impediments. But yeah, someone WAS online and I had to pardon myself to her as I ranted about a bunch of things which are now very trivial. So Kate Torralba was all ears and it was the strangest exchange I’ve had with someone I barely knew. But I knew Kate to the extent that she’s been through stuff and she understood a lot of the things I burped out in chat. AND THEN I found out she was doing a shoot – FOR *freaking* LIPTON MILK TEA. So for the sake of empirical science I have a formula:

Kate + Unload problem = Lipton + Feel Good.

And now she’s a fan of Phoebe’s food blog too ๐Ÿ™‚ (Phoebe has plenty fans!!!).

Such stories!

Which brings me to my point. It’s hard to find good brand / marketing managers, PR partners and product endorsers / ambassadors who really care for the brand they represent. OK maybe part of this statement is a load full of bull but that’s how I experienced it and because of that I only have very good things to say about their campaign. Sure, it may seem like a hodge podge of timely events put together but that my friends is my personal “customer experience.” ๐Ÿ™‚

Unilever Fearless Kitchen Challenge
You know how one can be at a loss for words for something and not know how to quantify …. what’s the word … an “epiphany” into an article?

For the longest time I’ve been keeping a secret from a lot of people.

I always wanted to be a chef.

But I had this feeling I sucked big time. When I was small, my favorite restaurant wasn’t the fast foods. It was that Japanese restaurant across what is now Greenbelt 2 (Makati Bowling?) that had a wide selection of misono tables. Misono tables + children equaled loads of fun cooking! Yup, you guessed it. I’d have my little nook where I’d cook my own version of “Jayvee’s Fried Rice,” and then burn it (hence, tutong! and scrape the sides onto the rico bowl.

Fast forward to today, I still had no personal successes in cooking until recently when Phoebe taught me how to cook. And then Pam from Ogilvy calls inviting me over to this thing called a “fearless kitchen challenge.” I didn’t know exactly what that meant but to hear that I’d get a chef’s jacket was the deal breaker. At least I could pretend to be a chef.

I won’t go into much detail about what transpired because she really explains everything better. What I do remember the most was chatting up with Tessa – which continued to part II in the HP mini launch (from what I know she’s become highly curious as well with Phoebe’s food blog), and a slow motion recount of the Unilever chefs criticizing my cooking. And that my friends is the crux of the matter. I was tasked to make the lamb bistek on a risotto bed (risotto wasn’t made by me). So i did the marinating and the grilling and I can remember the words of the chefs – that the lamb was perfect.

Wow. Completely floored. Time stopped. I really couldn’t believe it. Look, I’ve done a couple of relatively “hard” things in my life – get stranded on an island when i was 12 (Batanes) and fly back unscathed, build my first company, speak before a crowd of 800. But these were things that were, I guess, expected of me. Nobody ever expected my hands to churn out relatively good food, especially only now in my “late 20’s” (hah! I’m in my late twenties). So really, thanks UFS. This isn’t a sucking up to PR thing. It’s just how I really feel.

So there you have it. There are indeed defining moments in your life that make you want to think about the decisions you’ve made. I guess this was one of them. I’d actually want to seriously consider cooking as an active hobby and maybe even study for those certificate courses.

But as for now, I will drool in front of the TV as I watch Nigella cook. She’s yummy! On the lighter note one of the learnings I discovered is that Phoebe is becoming a hit with her (kitchen) knife skills in the same way that she was with her MAC makeup skills and she’s attracting fans from all over the industry. ๐Ÿ˜›

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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