Meet Gideon General, a Fil-Am chef who shares Pinoy cooking recipes on Tiktok – Manila Bulletin

“Filipino food will always be special”

Over the past few years, we have seen Filipino cuisine make its way onto the international food scene. We’re not just talking about the ube (purple yam) craze or the exotic balut and classics like adobo and lechon. More and more Pinoy eats, from humble street food or turo-turos and favorites like sinigang and lumpiang shanghai to locally grown cocoas, are becoming famous in different parts of the world. And to be honest, there is still more to discover.

While our local dishes have the ability to wow diners everywhere, the recognition they gain today is entirely due to Filipinos who continue to champion their home cooking abroad and even online. As we celebrate Filipino Food Month in April, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle chats with Filipinos abroad who are honoring their food heritage one plate at a time.

General Gideon

In this feature, we chat with online content creator Gideon General, 25, from Daytona, Ohio, who uses his Tiktok account to share recipes and meals he grew up with. He started doing food content on Tiktok at the start of the pandemic, featuring Filipino and international dishes. Today, he now has a million followers with over 1.6 million likes. Check out our conversation with Gideon below.

Hello, Gideon. First of all, what has been keeping you busy in recent years during the pandemic?

Exactly that. I was a full-time chef before creating content, but I stopped working at the start of the pandemic because I live with my parents. They are obviously older and they didn’t feel safe with me working in a restaurant when it was very bad. I talked to my boss about it and they understood. I left for a month. I was so bored and I was like, “Okay, I have to do something.” My friend who is also a chef, we went to cooking school together, mentioned Tiktok. I always wanted to make videos, not on YouTube anymore, but nobody really pushed me to do it until the pandemic. So instead of starting on YouTube, my friend and I started doing Tiktok content. Luckily my second video went viral. I had 10,000 subscribers after about two weeks of starting. I would say it was very overwhelming at first, but you get used to it. Later in the pandemic, I quit my job and became a full-time content creator.

How was it growing up there in Ohio?

So my grandmother has been here for 40 years. She was a gym teacher for almost 30 years. At the time, when my father was looking for work, she told him to come here to the United States. We already have a few family members here, so it’s easier to move. After moving, he ended up having us. I came here when I was 12 or 13. I grew up there in the Philippines and I can speak Tagalog and Bicolano.


I did it for you 😉

Gitara – Parokya Ni Edgar

Where does this passion for cooking come from? Did you inherit it from a family member or did you just discover it on your own?

I have always liked to eat. I grew up eating grandma’s cooking and my dad’s and mom’s. Fortunately, they are very good cooks, in my opinion. I have a good idea of ​​how good Filipino food tastes. If I ate anywhere else I would still compare it to home cooked meals. I just have an opinion. I realized I had this passion for cooking when other members of my family would call me and ask me to taste their food and tell them what was missing. I started cooking when I was in college at 14. Since I was a child and had no money, I couldn’t go anywhere. Every time I saw a food I wanted to eat, I cooked it myself. I would just go online and look at recipes and sometimes when I couldn’t even find a recipe I would just imagine how they would make it. I started experimenting and that’s when I fell in love with cooking.

On your Tiktok and Instagram pages, you also cook other cuisines. For you, what do you like about Filipino cuisine and how does it compare to other dishes you cook?

Filipino food will always be at home. I love trying different cuisines, but it’s like traveling. You can go to other countries and see the cultures taste the food, but you will always come home. For me, it brings back memories of meals with my grandmother, other family members, and classmates. Filipino food will always be special.


It’s stew season baby

Harana – Parokya ni Edgar

Where did you study culinary arts?

I went to Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. I was originally in the nursing program, typical Filipino culture. Growing up, I wanted to be a chef. But in college, they asked us to look for our dream job. While I was looking to become a chef I wasn’t too happy with the salary and I compared it to a nurse and it’s almost double the salary. It made me change my major to nursing, but somewhere along the way I felt unhappy. I thought about it a lot. I thought if I would be happy to work as a nurse for the money or pursue my passion as a chef and see what would happen. I don’t want to wake up at 70 and realize that I wasted my life by not doing what I wanted to do. It made me decide to switch from nursing to cooking, and luckily my parents support me all the time.

Regarding your content, do you shoot by yourself? And how do you design the dishes you offer?

I do everything myself. I would love to have a cameraman and an editor, but obviously that costs money. Somewhere in the future, I hope I can afford to hire staff and have a team. My manager helps me negotiate and stuff like that so I’m going to focus on creating content.

When deciding on recipes, I write down the things I want to do for the week or for the month. It also changes all the time depending on what I feel like. If you look at my Tiktok page, I wrote in my bio, “I want, I do.” I like the freedom to do what I want to do.

I love when people make my recipes and tag me on Instagram. It means that I do my job well, like when people are inspired when they prepare food. It reminds me why I do this and it’s worth it every time I see people enjoying it. This is, I think, the best part of being a content creator.

@gidsgids Reply to @deemer73 Easy – Mac Ayres

Other than making content, what other things keep you busy?

I try to collaborate with my friend that I mentioned earlier. He stopped making videos because he started his own food truck business. We are talking about a partnership, making special dishes and advertising them on Tiktok and Instagram. I will be working with him with the food truck and maybe pop-up restaurants in the future. I also think about designing merchandise.

What do you think is the key to becoming successful on Tiktok?

I think it’s just knowing where your strength lies. I learned early on that people love fried chicken videos. So I make sure I have fried chicken videos at least once a month. And then most of the time, it goes viral. I don’t want to be known only for being a fried chicken, but sometimes you have to give people what they want. For the rest of the month, I’ll do whatever I want.

Also, you should be professional as much as possible. I started by using my phone to record my videos. Eventually I bought a camera and then moved on to a better camera. You had to invest in yourself and maintain high quality.

Finally, consistency and not losing who you are as a creative. Don’t be someone you’re not just because that’s what people will like. Make sure to show your personality in your videos. Show your face because ultimately it’s you people will follow and not your content. People love food but they want to know who is behind the camera, who is cooking. Just have fun with it.

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