Newcastle singer, songwriter and musician Crocqhenri Lucerno – better known as Crocq – says he “makes music to feed your soul”.
Now he’s taking that one step further and sharing his other creative passion in life: Filipino food.
As a child he dreamed of being a chef but Lucerno’s is a family of musicians and talented singers and performing became a full-time job. Fast forward a few years, though, and his passion for cooking has been rekindled.
“I developed my own Filipino-style marinade and would prepare it for all sorts of occasions – parties, fiestas, you name it. If there was food, I made sure my marinade was there,” he said.
“For years I had tried and tested, watching people’s reactions as they tried my marinated delicacies.
“I created Mini Pinoy Grill in 2015 and ran a fully licensed mini food trailer for a number of events around the area, including Groovin’ The Moo. However the competing priorities of my music career meant that I decided instead to concentrate on bottling my Mini Pinoy Grill All Purpose Marinade.”
Lucerno is hoping an online Kickstarter campaign will help raise the money required to start larger-scale production of his marinade at a factory in Marrickville. He says, laughing, that “the secret ingredient is passion”.
“Cheesy, I know. To me, it’s a rounded, well-balanced flavour of sweet, tangy, salty and soy with a slight bite of spice that draws you in with its smell and has you hooked on its taste. I would have to say Filipino food is very soul enriching.”
What’s clear is that the marinade – and the food he is now serving at Mayfield Bowling Club on Monday and Tuesday nights – is a nod to his Filipino heritage and the distinct flavours and smells that filled his family home growing up.
“It’s hard to explain just what the flavour of the Philippines is, which is why it’s so often overlooked as a cuisine.
“I’m definitely no Gordon Ramsay but I love food. I have all the necessary qualifications to be in the kitchen but I’ve learnt most of my culinary skills through tasting and cooking for myself.
“The pop-up restaurant was a by-chance happening. After a gig one night, I was speaking to a friend’s partner who mentioned that they had recently taken over the Mayfield Bowling Club’s bistro. The next day I thought ‘What better way to get the flavour of the Philippines out to the world by allowing people to sample Filipino cuisine, coupled by my signature marinade?’. I’ve been there four weeks now.”
The marinade pairs well, he says, with pork, beef, lamb and chicken but also works well with fish, tofu and vegetable stir fries, or as a dipping sauce for dumplings, spring rolls and any deep-fried cuisine.
Pre-sales of the marinade are being taken online on Lucerno’s Kickstarter page.