How being an actress helps Helen Gamboa be a good cook
‘When I do something, I put my heart and soul into it—be it acting, singing or cooking,’ said actress Helen Gamboa-Sotto, who currently hosts the cooking show, “From Helen’s Kitchen,” on Cignal cable.
She said she would never turn her back on her first love—acting on the big screen. However, she likewise finds joy in cooking for her loved ones and friends.
In fact, “From Helen’s Kitchen” already aired its first episode for the second season on Cignal’s Colours channel last Jan. 21.
“The atmosphere in this show is different. I noticed that all our guests leave the set happy. I guess it’s because even those who don’t know how to cook get to enjoy it because I give them tips on the side,” she told reporters during a recent luncheon. “I remember Janice (de Belen) and I discussing how to cook pasta the al dente way. We got so engrossed in it.”
She added: “I was once a guest in Janice’s cooking show before. We were so happy to have seen each other again in a similar setup. We traded lots of cooking secrets, especially on how to best serve pasta.”
Also joining her are Ai-Ai delas Alas, Lorna Tolentino, Eula Valdes, Mylene Dizon, Angelu de Leon, Bobby Andrews and Ryza Mae Dizon. Helen will be joined by her daughter Ciara Sotto and sister-in-law Paulene Luna-Sotto.
Helen said she would cook best when she’s in a good mood. “However, since I’ve been in show biz for so long, I can easily shift my mood. I’m a housewife, and Tito Sen (nickname of her husband, Senate President Tito Sotto) and I don’t always get along. When I’m having an off day, I just take a deep breath and tell myself that ‘this food is for my family, so I will do my best.’ Even though I feel like crying before I cook, all the bad feelings go away when I’m already immersed in what I’m doing.”
The actress recalled the first time she cooked to impress the senator.
“We just got married then. I cooked tenderloin strips for him. They were really, really tender. I also made sinigang, but I combined pork and beef. Most of those who tasted it said they liked it. Tito Sen loved it,” she said. “While he also likes kare-kare and adobo, he is contented with eating fish dishes.”
Helen added: “Tito Sen is a simple person. You don’t need to prepare a lot. He is OK with one or two dishes. He is easy to please.”
For her, the hardest ones to cook are those that are physically strenuous because they require a lot of stirring, like kare-kare and paella, said Helen. The most challenging is making fish sardines. “Would you believe if I tell you that it took me one whole year before I was able to perfect it,” Helen told the Inquirer.
“I envy my sisters whenever I see them eat tuyo and sinangag in the morning,” she added. “For some strange reason, my stomach always gets upset when I eat them in the morning, but not at lunch or supper. It’s weird. I love fish dishes like danggit from Palawan and pangat na tilapia.”
Asked for advice to women who love cooking but cannot afford to take up culinary studies, Helen said: “Get a copy of my book! In there, you can find the recipes that my mom made exactly for housewives with limited budget. You’ll be surprised because they’re really good. No need to study. Just put your heart into it—that’s what I do.”
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