Food lover Justinne Lou Go casts a delectable spell
By Deneb Batucan
WHEN it comes to anything and everything about food, Justinne Lou Go is the perfect person to follow. She takes being a foodie to the next level as a food blogger, a chef and a nutritionist. For Justinne, food is what makes her world go round.
Born and raised in Cebu City, Justinne vividly remembers the start of her foodie instincts when she was just a little girl. “When I was around 3-4 years old, I couldn’t wait for my yaya to put the pancit canton on the table for me to eat. I went to the kitchen and tried to reach for the pancit in the pan, which was much taller than me at the time, and so my wrist landed on the pan’s rim,” she fondly recalled.
Her dad was a big influence for her love for food. Her dad, a Chinese businessman, is not a cook, but he would expose Justinne to uncommon food pairings like sweet mango and rice. He is also responsible for her love for veggies and made sure to develop the value of proper nutrition in her. That’s why until now, Justinne tries her best to incorporate healthy eats and maintain a balanced diet into her daily food grind.
During high school, Justinne was already set on a goal: to be a chef and a nutritionist. She first took up culinary arts at the International Culinary Arts Academy Cebu (ICAAC) and then proceeded to take up nutrition and dietetics at the University of San Carlos.
“I wanted to be a chef because I grew up watching Wolfgang Puck on TV and I was so fascinated with his Hollywood catering, with the long production lines and glamorous food. It opened my eyes to see food in a different way — that it can actually make people happy. As I was already dreaming of becoming a chef, I came across an article in the newspaper when I was in high school, saying that Shangri-la Mactan had hired a nutritionist. That was the first time I encountered that profession and I thought it would marry well with the being a chef,” she shared.
For Justinne, she feels that it’s natural for people who love to eat to delve into cooking. “For me, I wanted to cook because I wanted to recreate my favourite dishes to have more of them all to myself,” she said. “For me, eating is not just a necessity. It’s something we should enjoy. Eating is actually more sensual than it is essential, as I would say. I love how food brings people together like a common language and it really is a major part of our lives, being in every special occasion and emotional condition.”
Justinne’s love for food was then translated into articles. She started her food blog, Babe for Food, four years ago, just before she started going to college.
Passionate about food and dining, Justinne thought of promoting the food scene of her beloved city. “I wanted people to discover great places to eat at when in Cebu and I wanted to share my enthusiasm about it with others. I believe that one of the best ways to be acquainted with a culture is to explore the local food,” she said.
Babe for Food is generally focused on the food scene in Cebu, specifically hole-in-the-walls, which Justinne calls Cebu Secret Chows. She actually has a designated page that serves as a directory for hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Cebu. “Hole-in-the-walls are my fetish. They fascinate me because these places often have interesting stories behind them,” she said.
Justinne’s culinary background is an added strength to her food writing because she has an idea about what goes behind the dish, what it takes to create that dish, and how it should generally be like. Being a licensed nutritionist, she plans on creating more blog posts that center on proper nutrition and healthy eats.
What started as a fun outlet for Justinne’s passion has now created a lot of buzz from the media. Babe for Food has been featured in TV shows like Poptalk on GMA and Modern TV Living on ANC. Indeed, Justinne’s love for good food has got a lot of people talking.
Right now, Justinne is focusing on obtaining her food dream. She is dead set on honing her cooking skills since it’s really where her heart is. In the next five to 10 years, she hopes to become a successful chef with her own catering clinic and restaurant where people can learn that getting into a healthy lifestyle is not difficult. “I want to be able to contribute to creating an environment where having a healthy lifestyle becomes the natural thing to do and not something people have to stuggle with,” she said.
Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome
Make-up Artist: Carlo Damolo
Hair Stylist: Jerwin Bastatas
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