A culinary contest aims to cultivate appreciation among young Filipinos of the Philippines’ rich gastronomic culture.
Taal Vista Hotel’s Junior Chefs Cup Challenge recently gathered 31 kid chefs from 335 aspirants from schools in Manila and the Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) during the event’s curtain-raiser at the Grand Ballroom last Sept. 3.
“Our endeavor is to promote and encourage children to use locally grown organic ingredients found in Tagaytay,” said Celine Arenillo, marketing supervisor of SM Hotels and Conventions Corp.
Following the formal introduction of students who qualified for the competition after passing the cooking aptitude test, the junior chefs prepared their appetizing hometown recipes made of chicken or pork, such as Pininyahang Manok, Crispy Chicken Adobo, Pork Humba and Pork Medley for the first elimination round.
The students were given 90 seconds to select the necessary ingredients and put them in their basket. They were given 90 minutes to prepare their dishes.
Before the contest proper, the kids had an early-morning farm visit at Gourmet’s Café in Silang, Cavite. A fine roadside restaurant established in the early ’90s, Gourmet’s Café boasts of a wide menu of organic produce, freshly handpicked from the farm at the back of the café.
Celebrity chefs Sau del Rosario, Reggie Aspiras, James Antolin, Jay Gamboa and Nancy Lumen served as judges for the first elimination round.
A total of 20 junior chefs bested the opening round: Marianne Ferry, Madilyn Grace Cudiamat, Christine Louise Torres, Francheska Roque, Nicole Mae David, Ericka Mae Lanting, Gian Paulo Rozul, Ivan Jaire Nicdao, Khane Mikkel Ko, Jammie Lee Andres, Johanna Mikaela Bayot, Samantha Andrea Mutuc, Bettina Nicole Sy, Jemuel Abner Dagu-ob, Alexandra Rabaya, Rose Maxine Velasquez, Abigail Louise de Vera, Glynizz Veronica Ibea, Niña Rizzi Kaye Timbol and Nicole Benette Brusas.
The 20 young chefs will move on to compete in the succeeding Sundays of the month until the Top 5 junior chefs remain for the grand finale on Sept. 25.
The Junior Chefs Cup Challenge is a culinary competition that supports its official beneficiary Project Brave Kids, a volunteer group that seeks to help children with cancer.
Theme of the contest is “Kids Cooking for Kids.”
The charity event was conceptualized by Taal Vista GM Bernardo Corpus Jr. and executive chef Babes Austria.