The National Food Showdown (NFS), now on its 12th year, holds competitions for cooking, baking, bartending and table service. It affords students and professionals the chance to flex their culinary muscles.
It is also a time for others in the food industry to have a reunion—hotel managers, marketing and public relations people, the service people and food writers.
NFS founder and head Myrna Segismundo travels around the country to organize the contest, making sure it is a truly national event.
Finals for this year’s NFS edition were held at Elements in Centris, Quezon City.
Regional contests were held in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and National Capital Region in the run-up to the Quezon City finals.
Specifically competitions were held in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Baguio cities.
St. Anne College in Lucena, Quezon, got the NCR Presidential Trophy for winning the most number of medals. St. Therese Maritime Training Center of Iloilo and Our Lady of Fatima University in Valenzuela also won major awards.
The contest is challenging for the contestants, but it is also harrowing for the judges, who have to try many entries.
In the case of Klasika Kulinarya, judges had to try 30 preparations of prawns cooked two ways—classic and modern
—both using coconut milk. Judging wasn’t just about the flavor, but also correct cooking, the smell and the presentation.
Meanwhile, McCormick and Innobake sponsored side contests.
The California Milk Advisory Board served a buffet of their cheeses and also held a contest in which winners got a free trip, stay and lessons at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. Enderun Colleges students Jodana Yun and Alonzo Arancel won those prizes.
In the most important category, Chef Wars, the chief task for the finalists from the four regions were to make three dishes out of chicken with liver and gizzards.
The winner in the student division was Enderun Colleges (NCR) for its relleno adobong manok on a bed of adlai, sinampalukang manok with molo dumplings and chicken empanada.
Winner in the professional division was Movenpick Hotel Mactan Island, which joined for the first time. The regional representative from the Visayas won for its breaded poultry quenelles with kare-kare sauce, turmeric-enhanced chicken consommé with smoked eggplant tortellini and chicken oysters with a side dish of vegetables.
The NFS also awarded the winners of the 2017 Doreen Gamboa Fernandez Food Writing Award. Judges and the board of the Food Writers Association of the Philippines read excerpts from the winning essays of first-placer Raymond Macapagal and second-placers Giney Villar, Grace Celeste Subido and Rebecca Torres.
Main sponsor was Mama Sita represented by Clara Lapus, who also gave baskets of products and a bagful of coconut products from Axelum.