Chef Regina “Reggie” Aspiras bestowed with prestigious Japanese Ambassador’s Commendation
Chef Regina “Reggie” Aspiras bestowed with prestigious Japanese Ambassador’s Commendation
Chef Regina “Reggie” Aspiras bestowed with prestigious Japanese Ambassador’s Commendation
by Karen Ow-Yong12 February 2024
On 09 February 2024, Ms. Regina M. Aspiras, widely known as Chef Reggie Aspiras, was bestowed with the prestigious Ambassador's Commendation in recognition of her exceptional contributions to the Culinary Cultural Exchange between Japan and the Philippines. This distinguished honor underscored Chef Reggie's pivotal role in deepening mutual understanding and fostering enduring friendship through her culinary expertise. Photo shows Chef Reggie receiving the Commendation from Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko. (Photo courtesy of Karen A. Ow-Yong)

MANILA – Filipino chef Regina “Reggie” M. Aspiras was awarded the prestigious Ambassador’s Commendation for what the Japanese Embassy called “her exceptional contributions to the Culinary Cultural Exchange” between Japan and the Philippines.

In a ceremony hosted by Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko at his residence in Makati City last Friday, Chef Reggie received the “Ambassador’s Commendation” for her efforts in advancing the ties between the Philippines and Japan through food.

In his speech, Koshikawa thanked Chef Reggie for her “exemplary work” and said that “through the promotion of experts, tourists and appreciators like you, in 2013, the Japanese food was recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage under the title of “Washoku: traditional Japanese cuisine,” the Ambassador added.

Meanwhile, Chef Reggie said that “food is the best ambassador” and it is what brings people together.


“Food is the best ambassador. You will always remember what you eat. Food is what brings us together. In my own little way, I will continue to bring our two nations together one dish and one bite at a time,” she said.

According to the Japanese Embassy, Chef Reggie has been their close friend and collaborator, particularly with Executive Chef Daisuke Suzuki, where she undertook numerous projects with the Japanese chef, including the acclaimed documentary "SUZUKI DAISUKE: Diary of an Ambassador’s Chef" as its interviewer.

Aspiras, who is also a writer and food columnist, co-wrote the cookbook "GochiSo Sarap: Homestyle Japanese Dishes for Everyone" featuring the famous guava sinigang, believed to be a personal favorite of Ambassador Koshikawa.


(Photo by Karen A. Ow-Yong)

This particular version of the sinigang uses sake lees and traditional Japanese seasonings to fit the Japanese palate.

After personally presenting the commendation, Ambassador Koshikawa said that he hopes Chef Reggie will inspire others to be cultural advocates through the power of gastronomy in building connections and transcending cultural boundaries.

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