Kulinarya ’13 leaves munchers drooling for more | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Winners Sheryn Jo Peneza of LA (left) and Neil Syham of NY flanked by judges. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Winners Sheryn Jo Peneza of LA (left) and Neil Syham of NY flanked by judges. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

SAN FRANCISCO—More than a thousand hungry food fans dropped in or lingered, but most definitely grazed, throughout Saturday, Nov. 23, at Kulinarya 2013 at City View in the Metreon.


Judge Geraldine Solon sampling entries. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Between watching chefs in the amateur and professional Kulinarya Showdown prep and serve their creations, eager snackers made a beeline for Ramar’s for free samples, or at Tastebuds’ for lechon or sisig wraps for sale. Iloilo La Paz Batchoy, Pinoy Handaan, Cabalen and Binka Bites also caused mouths to water and wallets to open without struggle.


Amateur winner Sheryn Jo Peneza’s kaldereta pasta. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Los Angeleno Sheryn Jo Peneza’s beef rib kaldereta with pasta bested Chicagoan Kathy de Leon’s kare-kare in the amateur category. Peneza, who was once a prison staffer, most likely didn’t learn to cook the dish inside, while De Leon said she liked to cook because her mother didn’t.


In the professional division, New Yorker Neil Syham of Lumpia Shack peeled off with the grand prize, leaving behind LA’s Karl Orlanes, in-flight chef for Philippine Airlines at Hacor’s Inc.; Inay Filipino Kitchen’s Manuel Ramirez of San Francisco; and Paul Rivera of Hula Grill in Honolulu. Syham opened with lumpia wrapped sisig with scotch egg and closed with halo-halo with ube whipped cream.


The winners were served a cash prize ($500 Amateur, $1,000 for Professional), a free trip to the Philippines and a culinary/heritage tour while there.


Judging the competition were chow pros Francis Ang, executive chef of Fifth Floor restaurant; Evangeline Quesada of Ramar Foods; Geraldine Solon, managing editor of Gastronomique en Vogue; James Lim, area managing director of Joie de Vivre hotels and resorts; and Jefferson Sevilla, sous chef at Google in San Francisco.


Pro winner Neil Syham’s lumpia wrapped sisig with scotch egg. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

New America Media’s Odette Keeley, Lee Robin Salazar of TFC “Adobo Nation,” and PJ Quesada of Ramar Foods emceed.


For bloodier fare, in the evening a hundred or so enthusiasts watched a reinvigorated Manny Pacquiao make mincemeat of Brandon Rios, while enriching the “Yolanda” relief coffer. The Philippine Aid Network (PAN), comprised of Bay Area organizations, raised over $22,000.


Kulinarya, now in its fourth year, was initiated by the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco and the Philippine Department of Tourism to celebrate and elevate Filipino cuisine and help make it “the next big thing” in the American palate.


Consul General Marciano Paynor Jr. explained that organizers decided to go on with Kulinarya despite the typhoon disaster in the Philippines, in the spirit of “enjoying the present” while crying “tears of gratitude for the kindnesses given to our people—we will definitely bounce back.”



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