De Guia, chief storyteller of the video blog, Food Curated, is a young and multi-awarded Filipina journalist living her dream in New York. Here’s the story of her stories.
The Food Curated video captured it. The chef spoke no English, but I understood.
“I give people my torta, I say ‘good luck,’” says Chef Galdino, a New York food trucker, as he piles ingredients into tortas, Latin sandwiches with pan-seared pork slices, cheese slabs, slivers of lettuce, tomato and onion, slathered with seasonings. The camera zooms a close-up as he serves a sandwich to a hungry customer. The food truck is in Corona, Queens, NYC, but who can resist getting a torta after seeing this?
De Guia’s biweekly FoodCurated.com features story after story of the undiscovered food artisan, chef, restaurant, or craft. She presents a finely produced story with every edition on her TV series. After every show, the unknown person, product, or place featured becomes so well recognized business booms for them. De Guia has helped so many with her storytelling. It is no surprise she has been recognized by peers and received so many prestigious awards.
Food Curated went on the air in 2009. De Guia has earned four James Beard Award nominations, 2010 to 2013 (a Beard is the “Oscars” in the food world) and was 2012 Webby Awards Official Honoree, 2012 NYC Food Film Festival Food Filmmaker of the Year.
Press mentions have been phenomenal: Forbes Best Video List 2013; CNN’s Eatocracy; features on highly curated sites: Serious Eats NY, NY Mag’s Grub Street, the New York Times “Must See Videos” to name a few.
To her throngs of followers, De Guia is @SkeeterNYC on Twitter, a take on “Mosquito,” her mom’s maiden name. Whether you search for Liza Mosquito de Guia, SkeeterNYC of Food Curated, she is easy to access globally: on New York TV, Huffington Post, YouTube videos, AOL or just logging on the site.
“I like to tell the story of the underdog. I want to show the undiscovered. I want to support people’s dreams,” says De Guia.
She adores her family for seeing her through. “My parents, Danton de Guia and Jean Mosquito, and my two siblings, are very giving and generous. They taught me to be kind. It has helped me deal with others. It’s the ‘loving others’ aspect, the good values that I learned from my family.”
Born in New York to Filipino parents, both doctors, Liza grew up in Florida. She went to Georgetown University in D.C. for a marketing degree, and moved back to New York to work in TV production. The thought of branching out on her own, holding her own camera lured her to quit a three-year-old job. One of her first video assignments was in the posh Hamptons for Plum TV; she recorded vacations. That was the start of her dreams. She never held back.
What makes Food Curated so compelling is De Guia's unseen personal touch. You don’t see or hear her on camera.
“I want my audience to have an intimate moment with the story, the person. I remove myself completely from different shows that commercialize a story.”
She's been around the world. “In the Philippines, I saw so much joy in people’s hearts,” she recalls. She describes Mindanao, Cebu, Baguio, Surigao, Anilao, Manila, the Chocolate Hills and most especially Butuan, her mom’s hometown.
De Guia expertly finds the magic and the special in a person, place and every story. She sees beauty in what looks ordinary at the start.
Sharp-eyed and intuitive, she can discern then carefully peel off the layers of every person, to reveal a gem within. Whether it’s a new product, nondescript eatery, or humble fisherman, De Guia will take it, elevate it and present it to her viewers in a vivid video. This results in vast media exposure for the unknown artisan. Business success follows.
The executive of the one-woman production company from Brooklyn NYC plans to travel more and go back to the Philippines to do research. “There are 7,100 islands! There is a story in every one. I’d love to tell it!”
Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey, is a journalist, food writer and member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). She blogs about Filipino home cooking and culinary travels to the Philippines on her site AsianInAmericamag.com.