EDITORIAL – THE ERWAN HEUSSAFF EFFECT

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EDITORIAL – THE ERWAN HEUSSAFF EFFECT

Photo is a screengrab from Erwan Heussaff’s vlog

UNLESS you were staying in a cave, you wouldn’t have heard of Erwan Heussaff and what he ate at Luisa’s Cafe.

Three weeks ago, Erwan Heussaff, whom most knew as the husband of Anne Curtis, launched his video of Baguio cuisine on his YouTube channel.

The 22-minute introductory video which was vaguely titled “The Best of Baguio Food with Erwan Heussaff” was launched on YouTube on March 27 and has since gained 550,000 views and 10,000 likes.

Unlike most food vlogs about Baguio, Heussaff and his staff decided to go where tourists rarely went, except for Good Taste Restaurant, which he described as a food factory.

The others he went to were The Farmer’s Daughter Restaurant, Mang Ed’s Bakareta, Ili-Likha, Katipunan Restaurant, and, of course, Luisa’s Cafe.

Heusaff is also a chef, something only his YouTube subscribers know. And that, by the way, is not a minority. He has 3.5 million subscribers.

Now what if these subscribers follow what he preached?

Well, there’s nothing more to be done for Good Taste, which already has a wide and voracious following even without Erwan. On weekends, the queue would almost go around the block with the inside space already filled with a multitude.

What about the other restos he went to?

Luisa’s Cafe, before the millennium, was among the many Chinese restaurants along Session Road. There was Dainty Cafe, Session Cafe, Manila Cafe, Mandarin Restaurant, Tea House, 456 Restaurant and Sunshine Lunch.

One by one, the other Chinese restaurants closed because of gentrification.

Now there are only Luisa’s Cafe, 456 Restaurant and Tea House.

Tea House is known mostly as a take-out area because of the limited eating space. Come during the holidays and witness the queue for pancit palabok and how it rivals the weekend queue at Good Taste.

456, once the busiest restaurant after midnight, has retrofitted its Chinese cuisine, going Hainanese.

Luisa’s Cafe, as described by Heussaff and Marlon Wong, the son of the owner, has become the favorite hangout of writers and journalists of the city.

They come here because of coffee, beer, and the patience of Chongloy, the owner.

But when Heussaff marveled about the siopao and the special mami, that’s when the phenomenon began.

Before the YouTube special came out, only thirty servings of special mami were being ordered daily. During the Holy Week, the order for special mami reached 100 to 180.

Now before you say this is still few, remember that special mami is their huge order, enough to feed two to three. It sells for P280 each. Many of the tourists who came just to get the Heussaff experience thought it was meant to serve only one person.

Because of the Heussaff effect, Luisa’s Cafe’s usual servings of mami have markedly increased.

As for siopao, they used to serve 300 siopaos daily on a good day. Now after March 27 and the Heussaff magic, 700 or more siopaos are served daily.

Not all celebrity vloggers have that effect. The only one we can think of is Kris Aquino, when she was healthy.

Heussaff, of course, is a chef and knows what he talks about.

When he said that the noodles of Luisa’s were hand-pulled, meaning the traditional Chinese way, people were intrigued.

Of course, Baguio residents saw nothing extraordinary about that. But now they know.

The Erwan Heussaff Effect is not just a celebrity vlogger appearing at your place and eating what you serve.

It is also looking at a familiar place with new eyes. Now, Baguio residents have come to realize that the second floor is where the interesting people gather.

Now, Baguio residents know that artists have also turned the second floor into an art gallery. Now they know that they can interact with the noisy writers up and below.

Now they are rediscovering their own art hub. The tourists come and go but the writers and artists are here to stay.

Editorial
Baguio Chronicle
April 22, 2023

Here is the link to the video by FEATRhttps://m.youtube.com/watch…

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