Year 2013 was a busy one for the culinary scene, with lots of culinary competitions, food festivals, celebrity chef cook-offs, food and wine pairings, degustations, book launches and the coming together of food companies, establishments and foodies to extend help to survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”
Last year’s highlights:
Thousands of culinary students, chefs and food enthusiasts trooped to SM Mall of Asia for the Celebrity Cook-Off Challenge, part of the 1st Manila Food and Wine Festival.
Chefs Sau del Rosario, Robby Goco, Florabel Co-Yatco, Bruce Lim, Marvin Agustin and Tristan Encarnacion battled it out to showcase their skills on their respective food trucks.
Yatco won the friendly competition with her “sausages of the world” sandwiches served with gourmet nachos on the side.
The yearly Chefs on Parade organized by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines gathered professionals and students for such activities as Bread Making, Cake Decoration, Chocolate Making, Cocktail Mixing, Fruit & Vegetable Carving.
(Check out https://www.facebook.com/ chefsonparade for the complete listings of the winners.)
The National Food Showdown 2013 also featured food service professionals and students of culinary and hotel and restaurant management schools and universities from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The crowd enjoyed the Bar and Dining Showdown, Plated Desserts and Klasika Kulinarya contests. (Check out thenationalfoodshowdown.com/competitions? for complete listings of the winners.)
New dining hub for students
UP Town Center (UPTC) became the next popular eating hub on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. Located in the 7.4-hectare University of the Philippines Diliman East Campus, UPTC is a merry mix of food shops targeting diners’ diverse food preferences—from ramen, steaks and pizza to Vietnamese and Filipino favorites to cupcakes and doughnuts.
UPTC, Ayala Malls’ first university town concept, is a haven for students, professors, young professionals who unwind in a relaxing indoor-and-outdoor environment.
It also caters to students who are after affordable dining or a hang-out place to do study group.
UPTC presents new dining concepts with new entrepreneurs.
Help for ‘Yolanda’
Culinary schools, hotels, restaurants and bakeshops, with foodies, restaurateurs, chefs and their staff, sprang into action to help affected Filipinos in the Visayas in the aftermath of “Yolanda.” Some groups donated cash or solicited cash donations, while others collected food items such as canned goods, biscuits, noodles, rice and clothing materials that were then given to various relief organizations and the Philippine Red Cross.
Among the organizations that did their share were Enderun Colleges, Center for Culinary Arts-Manila, Goldilocks and The French Baker; hotel and restaurants like Sofitel Philippine Plaza and Mandarin Oriental-Manila; and chefs such as Margarita Fores, Johnlu Koa, Miguel Alba and Vicky Pacheco.
Off the press
The book “7000 Islands: A Food Portrait of the Philippines,” written by Yasmin Newman, is a gorgeously illustrated comprehensive cookbook on Filipino food, and a look into the culture and history of the country, that will appeal to foodies and travelers alike.
The book, divided into 13 chapters, has authentic and delicious recipes, from breakfast to party food, and information on staple ingredients.
“Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine” presents its second expanded edition by Anvil Publishing, Inc. and Asia Society Philippines.
The recipes were developed for modern kitchens by top Philippine chefs Glenda Barretto, Conrad Calalang, Margarita Fores, Myrna Segismundo, Jessie Sincioco and Claude Tayag.
The new edition contains new recipes, updates on the original recipes, new photographs and expanded sections on best practices in Filipino cuisine.
The connection between Filipino cuisine and those of its Southeast and South Asian neighbors are also discussed. The book contains an additional section, “The Filipino Table,” which suggests ways to serve and present our cuisine.
“From Our Table to Yours: A Collection of Heirloom Recipes and Family Memories,” written by chef Angelo Comsti, shares generations-old and time-tested recipes.
It is a treasure trove of stories, heirloom recipes and family memories from some of the country’s most influential foodies, such as Antonio Escalante of Antonio’s, Joel Binamira of Zubuchon and Aileen Anastacio of Goodies N’ Sweets.
The book celebrates and immortalizes over 50 dishes that have been forgotten, and personal narratives that make the dishes more special and worth sharing. It has main dishes, snacks and desserts, with personal photos and short stories accompanying each recipe.
“Best Desserts: Inquirer Lifestyle Most-Read Ultimate List” is a guide to the finest desserts across the Philippines. About 90-plus mouth-watering desserts—from Ilocos in the north to Davao in the South—are featured in this first-ever book by Inquirer Lifestyle.
The 109-page book features profiles and photos of cakes, pies, tortes, ice creams, chocolates, among other sweets.
Apart from the description of each dessert, there are contact details to guide readers.
Compiled by this writer, the book is categorized according to the type of desserts, such as chocolates (truffles, chocolate ganache, brownie walnut cluster); frozen delights (halo-halo, frozen brazo de mercedes, rouge); and fruit-based (apple pie, mango torte, strawberry charlotte).
Each dessert in the book comes with a photo of the baker or the establishment. The book’s foreword was written by Inquirer Lifestyle editor Thelma Sioson San Juan.
Chef and food columnist Reggie Aspiras described the book as “the bible for the sweet tooth; it provides valuable information on where to get the best-tasting cakes, pastries and everything in between. The book honors bakers whose desserts are the best expression of themselves. And it is also a timely guide for those who want to give the best desserts this Christmas.”
The book is now available at National Book Stores, Powerbooks and Fully Booked.