July 14, 2004  (STAR) KITCHEN SPY By Heidi Ng  -  Senator Richard "Dick" Gordon proved his charisma still works. Gathering 12 million votes for a seat in the Senate, this man, recognized by Asiaweek Magazine years ago as one of the top 20 great Asians for the future, is living up to the challenge. We are all eager to see how he will perform in the Senate and if he does deserve our vote.

At a very early age, Senator Dick Gordon was already exposed to politics. His dad was also a mayor of Olangapo, and so was his mother, when his dad was assassinated while in office. Maybe he was destined to really be in politics, but what made him shine was his gung-ho attitude that earned him numerous spots in the media. He was present when Mount Pinatubo erupted. He also figured prominently when the killer quake severely hit Baguio and its neighboring provinces.

Many still remember how he led the people of Olangapo City in the historic conversion of the Subic Naval Base to a freeport zone that it is today. He propelled 27,000 volunteers to help in the project, as an estimated $3.5 billion investment from about 300 foreign investors went into the freeport. The neighboring provinces of Zambales, Bataan and Pampanga also benefited from this, with the conversion creating 70,000 jobs.

Subic now boasts a modern airport and economic zone infrastructures. Since then, it has become known as one of the countryís tourist destinations. Perhaps its crowning glory was hosting the 1996 APEC Summit Conference.

It was during Senator Gordonís recent term as Tourism secretary that the now popular WOW Philippines tag was coined. He was DOT chief from January 2001 to January 2004. During his term as tourism secretary, he revitalized Intramuros and built the Clamshell where exhibits from various regions of the country are now held. Queen Sofia of Spain was toured around Intramuros in a kalesa, while countless dignitaries have been shown the Walled City, sharing with them our rich culture and history. The renovation of Fort Santiago, Hilaga, which was the former Paskuhan Village, Museo ng Kagitingan and Lapu-Lapu monument were some of his pet projects. During his term, tastefully done television advertisements promoting Philippine tourism were shown throughout the whole world over channels like CNN. The Tourism department was also active in the local media, presenting ads and billboards showcasing various activities, such as whitewater rafting in Cagayan de Oro and swimming with the whale sharks in Donsol, Sorsogon.

He has been a governor for the Philippine National Red Cross for the past 12 years. He actually flew in from Cebu for his cooking shoot with the Philippine STAR, but not before first dropping by the Red Cross offices. He was still full of energy when he showed up at Mamma Italian restaurant in Malate.

Dick Gordon was exposed to cooking at a young age, just as he was exposed to politics, since his family was into the food and the hospitality industry. They had four restaurants in Olangapo that serviced American troops during the Vietnam war. They also owned a theater and a hotel. His mom is legendary cook Amelia Juico Gordon, and he was surrounded by people who worked in their hotel and restaurants. In fact, his sister is also in the restaurant business to this day. He loves to grill and cooks a mean sinigang na ulo ng salmon and sugpo. In life, as in cooking, this perfectionist would not settle for anything half-baked.

So, Mister Wow Philippines shares with Philippine STAR readers his recipes for grilled chicken barbecue and sinigang na sugpo. Wow, he can actually cook!

Sinigang Na Sugpo

200 g. prawns

5 cups water

150 g. tomatoes

1/2 bundle kangkong (trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces)

20 g. labanos (sliced into 1/4-inch rounds)

40 g. eggplant (sliced into 1/4-inch rounds)

2 Tbsps. salt

1 Tbsp. patis

3 Tbsps. Knorr sinigang soup mix

3 string beans (trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces)

2 okra

Prepare and cut all vegetables. Set aside.

Put prawns and water in a saucepan.

Add chopped tomatoes and labanos. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium.

Add Knorr sinigang powder, then season with patis and salt.

Stir occasionally. Add remaining vegetables except kangkong. Cook until vegetables are half done. Add kangkong. Remove from heat.

Dick Gordonís Barbecue Chicken

1-1/2 Tbsps. olive oil

1/4 cup diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

5 Tbsps. ketchup

3 Tbsps. honey

3 Tbsps. brown sugar

2 Tbsps. vinegar

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

chicken, skinned

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Lightly oil the grill.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Sautť onion and garlic until tender. Stir in ketchup, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes to thicken sauce. Remove from heat and let cool. Coat chicken pieces in sauce. Marinate for two hours.

Cook on grill for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once. Move chicken back to skillet with sauce. Cook over medium heat for five minutes on each side, or until no longer pink, and juices run clear.

* * *

Special thanks to Mamma Dining Room and Bar at 1808 Maria Orosa St., Malate, Manila. It is open for dinner Mondays to Saturdays from 7 to 11 p.m., while The Bar at Mamma is open at 6 p.m. until late in the evening from Mondays to Saturdays. For inquiries and reservations, call 525-0363.

* * *

E-mail your feedback at

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved