SM Hypermarket Crowns a Lugaw and BBQ Stall Owner as the Best Pinoy Street Food Champ

If you followed the SM Hypermarket’s Best Pinoy Street Food cooking competition, you know that there were 10 finalists who battled it out for the ultimate Street Food Champ. The 10 finalists went through grueling challenges that not only tested their cooking skills, but also their patience and perseverance to win the grand prize.

100 people tastes the pansit of the top ten finalists    during the first round of the Grand Finals
100 people tastes the pansit of the top ten finalists during the first round of the Grand Finals

After an epic battle that included cook-offs and stall visits, the last 10 men (and women) standing of the Best Pinoy Street Food fought one last time for the Grand Finals of the SM Hypermarket Pinoy Street Food where they tried to impress not only the top food critics and celebrity Chef Boy Logro, but also hundreds of people in the audience, who are the very customers that patronize the kinds of dishes they serve every day.

The Final Four
The Final Four

The finale of the cooking contest was divided into two and each one pushing all the contestants to their limits. As street food cooks, they’re only as good as their most critical customer is. This is the reason Chef Boy Logro’s first challenge to them was to cook a noodle-based dish of their choice for a hundred people together with a partner.

Tasting the top four's dishes
Tasting the top four’s dishes

With their own techniques, skills and knowledge as well as everything they learned from Chef Boy and all the other famous chefs they met, all of the 10 semi-finalists gave the challenge their best shot to cook a pancit dish that’s unlike any other.

Crispy and Creamy Pancit
Crispy and Creamy Pancit

The hundred people in the audience then had a taste of the dishes made by the contestants. After that, the audience voted for their favorite dish, the final four was revealed. They were:

• Hercules Umali of Star-BAKS Sizzling and Frappe in Quezon City
• Jose Nestor Guevara II of Lola Ebeng’s Lugawan & BBQ-han in Las Piñas
• Merly Dulay-Co of Merly’s Gotohan in Pasay
• Eloisa Cabrales of Cab’s Burgeria in Batangas

“Maraming maraming salamat sa SM Hypermarket, di ko inaasahan ito. Akala ko hanggang pagluluto lang ako ng lugaw. Napapagod ako pero ayaw ko sumuko. Kahit di ako manalo basta makasali ako,” said Merly Dulay-Co.

The battle of the best of the bests
The battle of the best of the bests

According to the final four, the most challenging part of the cooking contest was Chef Boy’s ultimate challenge, which required them to re-create his signature “Crepe Surprise”, an innovative way of preparing and serving crepe that’s filled with cream and seafood. To make the process more difficult, the finalists were only given 30 minutes to make the unusual crepe.

Teams planning for their menu
Teams planning for their menu

The best street food vendors come together for the best    Pinoy street food fair.
The best street food vendors come together for the best Pinoy street food fair.

As soon as the timer went off, the final four started making the Crepe Surprise and proved why they made it that far into the competition as they displayed presence of mind, impressive multitasking skills and impeccable kitchen prowess. In the end, the challenge all boiled down to who made the best-tasting crepe.

The champ with Chef Boy
The champ with Chef Boy

Along with Chef Paulo Sia of Unilever, Chef John Valley of Purefoods, Chef Niño Logarta of CDO as well as other guest judges took a taste test of the each individual crepe. After carefully and thoroughly comparing all the finalists’ creations, a final decision was made as to who will take home the title of Best Pinoy Street Food Champ and win a SM Hypermarket business.

The final four in a group hug after winning the first    challenge.
The final four in a group hug after winning the first challenge.

Jose Nestor Guevara II, also known as Jones, bagged the winning title. As soon as he heard his name called as the first grand champion of the country’s epic street food battle, he jumped high and stomped hard on the stage.

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Top 10 finalist, Madel Lopez (wearing blue) and semi-finalist Chef Melo (center) at the street food fair
Top 10 finalist, Madel Lopez (wearing blue) and semi-finalist Chef Melo (center) at the street food fair

“Elementary pa lang magaling na akong mangopya,” Jones joked. On a more serious note, he explained, “marami kaming street food vendor. Dito (Best Pinoy Street Food) napapakita namin ang galing namin sa pagluluto. Na ang kalidad ng pagkain namin ay di nalalayo ang lasa sa mamahalin.”

Eloisa's crepe surprise
Eloisa’s crepe surprise

Having won the first ever Best Pinoy Street Food contest, Jones will have his very own food stall at SM Hypermarket, which will be rent-free for 12 months. On top of that, he will also take home 100,000 pesos worth of prizes, including an SM Prestige Card loaded with points, large food packs, ingredients and cooking equipment, among many others, courtesy of SM Hypermarket’s Food Service Center, the perfect source of all HORECA needs.

Hercules' crepe surprise
Hercules’ crepe surprise

Chef Boy Logro said, “Maganda itong ginawa ng SM dahil dapat talaga mabigyang pansin and street food. Unang una, maraming Pilipino ang mahilig sa street food. Mayaman (o) mahirap mahilig nito. Miski ako. Nakalakihan na yan ng masang Pilipino…. We have to inspire them kasi mapagmamalaki talaga ang Pinoy street food.”

Jones' crepe surprise
Merly’s crepe surprise

The first ever Best Pinoy Street Food champ

Jose Nestor “Jones” Guevara II is the owner of Lola Ebeng’s Lugawan and BBQ-han. It’s a small food business he named after his mom. He opened the “lugawan” and “BBQ-han” in their garage. And because his house was in front of a church, most of their customers were those who came to hear mass or those who works in the parish.

Pancit Canton Anyone
Pancit Canton Anyone?

However, the business only gets a lot of customers whenever there’s a mass, which is why it’s only open during weekends. While the small restaurant is closed, Jones finds other means to earn. According to Jones, he didn’t open his food business elsewhere because rent is steep for his trade. Now that he’s won the first ever Best Pinoy Street Food, Jones said that he’s looking forward to a future filled with delectable goodies.

“Maraming salamat sa SM Hypermarket at binigyan niyo kami ng opportunity na ipakita ang aming talent. Marami kayong matutulungan na tulad ko (street food vendor). Promise, babalik-balikan niyo ang signature dishes namin.”

Merly's crepe surprise
Jones’ crepe surprise

Street Food of Epic Proportions

During the grand finals of the Best Pinoy Street Food, there was also one of the best-tasting street food fair ever. It featured the contestants who won in the elimination rounds that were held at 30 different SM Hypermarket branches. Each of the contenders battled it out to make the final cut for the semi-finals by impressing culinary experts from different brands and kitchens. The street food bazaar feature d only the best when it comes to street food.

The Team of Jones and Eloisa
The Team of Jones and Eloisa

Additionally, anyone who witnessed the grand finals was also able to join in on the fun with numerous games, exciting promos and freebies, which were contributed by the event’s sponsors:

Purefoods Funstuff Nuggets, Tender Juicy Hotdog, Fiesta Ham, Crisp n’ Juicy, Star Chickn’ Tasty Hotdog, Thick Cut Bacon, Unilever Food Solutions, Nestle All-Purpose Cream, Maggi, Knorr, Bounty Fresh Chicken, Bibbo Hotdog, Bibbo Cheesedog, CDO Ulam Burger, Funstastik Young Pork Tocino, Del Monte, P&G, Joy.

SM Hypermarket Best Pinoy Street Food was able to accomplish their goals, which is to highlight the exceptional cooking skills of those selling popular Pinoy street food.

“Malaking opportunity ito sa maliliit na negosyo. Dahil sa contest na ito, dumami customers namin at, higit sa lahat, nagkaroon kami ng mga bagong nanay at mga kaibigan na di mapapantayan ng salapi,” said Hercules when asked about his Best Pinoy Street Food experience.

If you want to relive the events of SM Hypermarket Best Pinoy Street Food 2014, watch Basta Everyday Happy on December 2 and 9.

The grand finals of Best Pinoy Street Food was held at SM Hypermarket Cubao last November 28, 2014 where Jose Nestor Guevara II was crowned the grand prize winner after two rounds of intense challenges by Chef Boy Logro himself.

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