Just a few weeks after arriving from a Filipino food festival in New Delhi, India, Myrna Segismundo had to prepare for another at the Edsa Shangri-La, Mandaluyong. The next day, she had to fly to Bacolod to judge in the Sabor Bisaya culinary competition, where the winners of the Chef Wars (professional and students) will represent the Visayas at the National Food Showdown, Sept. 16 and 17.
Yet in front of the buffet at Heat, Edsa Shang, she looked none the worse, save for a bit of a limp after slipping in one of the Indian temples she visited. Of that trip, the reviews we received were mostly in favor of the new flavors they were tasting, though it was obvious that this was the first time the writers were tasting Filipino cooking.
One of them liked the fact that there are Indian influences in our cooking, such as achara, pickled vegetables that adopted the Indian name.
As she introduced the food, Myrna said she thought to do it the way she presented the dishes in India, with a different take on classic cooking. What caught our eye was the carvery table where, instead of plain roast beef, Myrna had the meat cooked as adobo.
The estofado, she said, had been cooked by her yaya Luz for that day because she didn’t have time. The pork was braised in soy sauce with fried bananas and garlic bulbs until the pork meat was shredded, then topped with a crust much like a pastel. Her take on paella was to make it like Thai bagoong rice, with salted eggs and mango strips, as well as binagoongang baboy. She served a bulalo soup, the bone marrow at the center of the plate topped with a corn custard and leek then poured over with rich beef broth.
Those are just among the dishes to be offered in the Filipino Culinary Traditions promotions of the hotel. This started in June with Chef Jessie Sincioco, whose dishes are mainly from her home province of Bulacan, just as Myrna’s are from Batangas, particularly Lipa, her hometown. The festival featuring Myrna’s cooking started July 22 and runs until the end of the month. For information and reservations, call tel. no. 633-8888.
Myrna manages Restaurant 9501 at ABS-CBN. She established the National Food Showdown when there was no venue for chefs and aspirants to test their skills against their peers. This year, the competition rules of Showdown have been adopted by major regional competitions such as the Kumbira, based in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, and Baguio’s Hotel and Restaurant Tourism Week for northern Luzon. This makes Showdown really national in scope.
“Power of Pen,” the food writing seminar on its third year, will be held today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) at the Philippine Stock Exchange Auditorium, Tektite, Ortigas. Among the speakers are Felice Sta. Maria, Claude Tayag, Nana Ozaeta, JJ Yulo, Mark and Linda Floro, Ines Cabarrus, Gwenn Galvez, Spanky Enriquez, and myself. For information and to register, call Jonna or Joyce of Stramm Inc., tel. nos. 352-3187 or 927-6206.
The talks will be on subjects such as research, publishing your work, travel, wine and dining reviews, editing and blogging standards. My talk will also touch on the Doreen Gamboa Fernandez Food Writing Award, on what it has accomplished in the eight years of the competition.
For 2011, pancit will be the subject matter, the general word for Filipino noodle dishes. The contest is open to everyone except for the major sponsor, International Wine and Food Society Ladies branch, and their immediate families.
This year, a donor has offered as prize a Montblanc Meisterstuck Solitaire Gold & Black Classique Fountain Pen that retails for more than $1,000. There will also be cash and books for the winners.
The entries should be in essay form, at least 800 words and not more than 900 words. It should be written using Microsoft Word. The entries can be sent through email to [email protected] If mailing or sending through courier, send to DGF AWARDS c/o PRISM, 5/F PDAF Bldg., Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City 1200.
Every entry should include the pen name of the competitor. There should be a separate sheet (if mailed) or a separate file (if emailed) indicating the pen name, real name, contact details such as home address, and telephone numbers (cellphone and/ or landline).
Deadline is Aug. 31, 2011. For inquiries contact Girlie Canlas at tel. nos. 895-2021 or 895-8184 or e-mail questions to [email protected]