For anyone remotely interested in food and restaurants, you’d have to be living under a rock for you to not have heard of Anton Diaz. One of the first to popularize the medium and arguably the most influential, Anton has made blogging a byword in the local food scene. While visiting restaurants and reviewing food is what Our Awesome Planet is mainly known for, they are also a popular travel blog, documenting their family adventures and sharing these with readers. The blog, as Anton himself discloses, started as a way of documenting their family journey through the years. It’s something their sons can look back to, a “record” of the milestones, the trips and the epic meals. That the public has taken to his blog and used his entries as a food guide wasn’t his initial intention.
Ultimate Taste Test
Apart from his widely read blog, Anton is also known as the creator of The Ultimate Taste Test series. For the past 10 years, together with his wife Rachelle, the Diaz couple have mounted events where amateur and professional food purveyors can showcase their products to the public. Unlike the usual weekend markets, UTT is more of a competition, where participants get the jump-start that their business needs, while the food-loving public gets to taste new and exciting offerings to their hearts’ content.
This year was my first-ever UTT experience (sad, I know). While I had a brief glimpse of the event last year (UTT Pro Edition 2017), I really didn’t get to sample the food on offer, as I was there not for the bites but to pick up a date (UTT is a great venue to pick up a lifetime date). My very first UTT experience, the Ultimate Taste Test Masters Edition 2018 was something I looked forward to. For their 16th edition of this popular competition/expo, they changed the setup a bit. Instead of holding the event in a mall or somewhere accessible to the public, this year’s UTT was held in private, at an events space in Quezon City. 100 invitees from the food industry (restaurateurs, chefs, food writers, bloggers) served as the judges for the event. We’d come at our convenient time and rate the food while we roamed the venue, tasting small portions from each of the participating purveyors. In years past, the event was open to the public and for a minimal fee, they got to taste and vote their favorites. This time, food-industry personalities became the judges, with each vote tallied and the winners declared the same day.
The UTT series is an example of turning a passion into something that helps promote small businesses and budding entrepreneurs. Getting much-needed media mileage and an “endorsement” from food lovers and influencers is what every start-up needs. Thanks to Anton, Rachelle and everyone involved in UTT, more top-quality food businesses are getting the nudge and encouragement they sorely need.