Julia Barretto took an intense culinary course in preparation for her chef role in Viu's Secret Ingredient

With the series' tag line, "Kilig sa feels, sarap sa taste buds," Viu's multicultural show Secret Ingredient indeed boasts of presenting the perfect concoction of romance, culture, adrenalin within the culinary space, and the you-can-almost-taste visual feast in the dishes presented in every episode.

With the series' tag line, "Kilig sa feels, sarap sa taste buds," Viu's multicultural show Secret Ingredient indeed boasts of presenting the perfect concoction of romance, culture, adrenalin within the culinary space, and the you-can-almost-taste visual feast in the dishes presented in every episode.

April 30 saw the streaming premiere of Viu’s Secret Ingredient, a six-part mini-series starring Viva's pride, Julia Barretto, who plays Maya, a commissary chef who aspires to become a top chef, "either as an executive chef or sous chef," said Julia during the series' launch last April 28 at the Activity Center of Ayala Malls' Market Market in Taguig.

In the story, Maya wants to join—and win—a cooking competition so she can use the prize money to pay for her mother’s medical bills. Unfortunately, her chef boss Arif (played by Indonesian "George Clooney" Nicholas Saputra) thinks she is yet ready to compete. A mysterious rich fella, Ha Joon (played by South Korea's Sang Heon or SH), suddenly enters the picture and helps her qualify and eventually win the competition. Needless to say, a love triangle's also warming up here.

Unknown to Maya, Ha Joon's sudden appearance in her life had a back story of its own.

Secret Ingredient is Viu’s first original regional show. It's a cross-cultural collaboration among three countries with four languages—English, Korean, Filipino and Bahasa—used in the script. Written by Korean writer Baek Dong-Hoon and directed by Korean director Cho Young-Gwan (with Ian Takashi as director of photography and Corinna Vistan as the series creator and showrunner), it is presented by Viu in collaboration with Unilever Southeast Asia.

"We wanted to highlight food," says the series creator and executive producer Corinna Vistan. "That is why all the main characters are chefs. We wanted to show the connection between love, life, and food."

It's the first time that Julia is playing a chef role and to prepare, she reportedly took an intense culinary course at the Magsaysay Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts (MIHCA), which facilities in Mandaluyong City also became the central locale of the shoot.

"More than the cooking, it was the preparation, the fabrication, the deboning. Mas technical 'yung tinuro sa amin,” said Julia, a self-trained cook herself, in another interview.

With the series' tag line, "Kilig sa feels, sarap sa taste buds," the multicultural show Secret Ingredient indeed boasts of presenting the perfect concoction of romance, culture, adrenalin within the culinary space, and the you-can-almost-taste visual feast in every dish presented (be it a Pinoy dish, Indonesian, Malaysian, or Korean) in every episode.

"Love comes in all flavors," said Unilever SEA's Digital Marketing Medium and Commercial head Macce Samarista. "Food and love connect us all."

Catch the initial episodes of Secret Ingredient on Viu, and the remaining episodes every Tuesday (May 21, 28 and June 4).

 

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