Culinary student’s “Bisperas ng Pista” wins

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    Donie Bigcas

    THE East Meets West Culinary Competition’s grand prize went to DonieBigcas, a student at the Center for Culinary Arts-Manila, for his “Bisperas ng Pista” which is based on a dish called hamonado, mostly prepared during special occasions like Christmas and fiesta.

    He used kamote (sweet potato) and made pineapple atchara (pickled pineapple) as one of the components because of the flavor. Bigcas said the bright and colorful dish reminds him of the fiesta banderitas (buntings). He joined the competition to share his ideas as well as the Filipino cuisine to the world.

    Francis Dave Lacson Seloriowas named the first runner-up for his Laing-stuffed Pork Belly with Adlai in Rambutan Sauce. Nathaniel Deocaris, the second runner-up, made the Crispy Pork Belly Kare-Kare with Homemade Peanut Crackers and Tomato and Shrimp Fondue.Marichu Jung, the third runner-up, prepared her Classic Filipino Pot Roast Beef Ribs with Pureed Baby Carrots and Balsamic Caramelized Shallots. Karl Kenneth Watson won fourth runner-up for his Medium Rare Beef Striploin with Roasted Onions, Calamansi Gel, and Bistek Sauce.

    The judgeswere chefs Billy King, executive chef owner of Le Chef Restaurant at The Manor Hotel Baguio; Mark Hagan, executive chef of Grand Hyatt Manila; and Philip John Golding, founding chairman of Disciples de Escoffier International Asia-Philippines.

    The criteria were taste and texture (50 percent), correct professional cooking and preparation (25 percent), mise en place (10 percent), presentation (10 percent), and authenticity and originality of the recipe (5 percent).

    All five winners will enjoy a culinary tour experience in Ireland, planned for 2021. This trip will give them a chance to visit Irish food producers and top restaurants in Ireland to get a first-hand feel for the excellent quality of the Irish produce. They are set to attend a cooking class with King and receive other prizes.

    King, a respected Irish chef, believes the five winners showed the best potential to excel in the food business. He said exposure with a professional can help them refine their cooking and guide them in their culinary journey.

    Impressed by Bigcas, Hagan said the winner was able to link the heritage of the old Filipino dish – the story of fiesta or holiday and family gatherings, recreating what his grandmother used to make.

    Golding for his part said the dishes had high standards, were very tasty, and had lots of great ideas using Filipino fusion and stories from different provinces. He was pleased that the chefs and cooks were able to use Irish pork and beef in their recipes.

    Jack Hogan, Bord Bia/Irish Food Board market specialist, said the Irish beef is available in Healthy Options and Delidrop Gourmet Grocer, while the Irish pork is primarily purchased by specialist food processing companies and large quick-service restaurant groups in the Philippines.

    Marion Rogan, EU Pork and Beef Programme manager at Bord Bia/Irish Food Board, was extremely happy with the professionalism of the candidates’ entries and the enthusiasm they displayed in the competition.