5th Western Visayas Tabu-an Ilonggo Heritage Cooking Competition
As a foodie from a culturally diverse country, I understand the importance of tradition in fueling the stoves that cook the different dishes which also somehow define the heritage of Philippine provinces. Whenever I travel, I try to immerse myself in the local culture as much as I can so I can fully savor the gastronomy of these places.
So when I was invited to the Western Visayas Tabu-An Ilonggo Heritage Cooking Competition in Iloilo, I did not think twice to respond in the affirmative. I was informed that, besides the cooking competition, there will be cooking demos, inspiring talks, and trade fairs, too. I could not miss this opportunity for the world.
A few days later, I found myself flying from Manila to Iloilo. Before proceeding to the cooking competition, I had a chance to visit the different booths in the trade fair that exhibited organic products both by small businesses and student chefs.
Before the judging started, we were able to witness the participants cooking their unique entries. An area outside the Iloilo Convention Center building was turned into a cooking area and I’m glad we were allowed to watch the teams as they prepare each dish.
During the Cooking Competition, the challenge is for each participating team to prepare Ilonggo Heritage Cuisine of 3 dishes (Appetizer, Main Dish, and Dessert) for 300 persons. Each team is also required to prepare separate plates for display and for the judging panel.
The cooking competition was also preceded by talks from renowned Filipino chefs, like Chef Don Colmenares, and food writers, like Micky Fenix, who has been a judge in the Visayan competition since 2013. Other notable personalities in the industry who were present in the event include Joby Arandela of Zarraga Integrated Diversified Organic Farmers Association, Pamela Henares of BuroBuro Spring Farm in Negros Occidental, Celebrity Chef Myke Tatung Sarthou, Clang Garcia – a book author and TV host and Chuck Janolino of AgriPacific.
There was also a panel discussion led by Book author Ige Ramos and later on a cooking demo by none other than Chef Boy Logro himself, who turned Iloilo’s local seafood produce into culinary delights right before everybody’s eyes. Chef Raphael Cristobal and Chef Jorn Fonseca of Purple Yam also demonstrated cooking onstage in front of more than 300 guests from various Culinary schools in Western Visayas.
|5TH WESTERN VISAYAS TABU-AN ILONGGO HERITAGE COOKING COMPETITION LIST OF WINNERS|
|Champion:||WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY|
|Coach: OJ Salazar|
|1st Place Overall:||HERCOR COLLEGE|
|Coach: Ms Neset Colona|
|2nd Place Overall:||COLEGIO DEL SAGRADO CORAZON DE JESUS|
|Coach: John Paul Frias|
|Best Appetizer Category|
|Best Appetizer:||WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY|
|1st Runner Up Best Appetizer:||HERCOR COLLEGE|
|2nd Runner Up Appetizer:||WEST VISAYAS STATE UNIVERSITY- Calinog Campus|
|Best Main Course Category|
|Best Main Course:||WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY|
|1st Runner-Up Main Course:||COLEGIO DEL SAGRADO CORAZON DE JESUS|
|2nd Runner-Up Main Course:||HERCOR COLLEGE|
|Best Dessert Category|
|Best Dessert:||WESTERN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY|
|1st Runner-Up Dessert:||CENTRAL PHILIPPINE UNIVERSITY|
|2nd Runner-Up Dessert:||WEST VISAYAS STATE UNIVERSITY- CALINOG CAMPUS|
After being inspired by all these talented chefs and writers in the industry, the cookfest began. And after a smoking battle and showdown, the young chefs from Western Institute of Technology emerged as the overall champions, followed by the team from Hercor College in second place, and the cooks from Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus at third.
The champions were coached by OJ Salazar, while Ms. Neset Colona backed the chefs from Hercor College. Meanwhile, John Paul Frias was the mentor of Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus chefs.
The competition also recognized the winners of three minor categories.
For Best Appetizer, Western Institute of Technology once again took the first place, with Hercor College coming at a close second. West Visayas State University- Calinog Campus was awarded second runner-up in the category.
The Western Institute of Technology also snatched first prize at the Best Main Course category with their Lengua Estofado sa Bugnay nga Vino. Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus came in at second place, and Hercor College received bronze.
The chefs from Western Institute of Technology showed everyone that they have the best of everything because they won first place yet again in the third and last category, which is the Best Dessert. Their Mantecado Ilonggo Sorbetes with Batuan Caramel and Camote Delight Duo bested the 6 dessert entries. Central Philippine University and West Visayas State University- Calinog Campus placed second and third, respectively.
The Western Visayas Tabu-An Ilonggo Heritage Cooking Competition that I attended is the fifth installment of the competition of the same name. The cookfest that showcased the talents of young cooks in Western Visayas is part of the two-day Flavors of Western Visayas: The Hidden Treasures, an exhibition, convention, and trade fair hosted by the Department of Agriculture Region VI, Department of Tourism Region VI, Bureau of Aquatic Resources and Commission on Higher Education.
Overall, It was another great year of showcasing Iloggo Cuisine. Thanks to Chef Rafael “Tibong” Jardeleza for inviting us and for continuously promoting the Ilonggo Food to the world. After seeing this successful event, I think other provinces should replicate this. As a traveler, I think one of the best ways to introduce a destination is by introducing a unique plate. If the palate is happy, everything else will follow. See you next year in Iloilo!