Food fight! | Inquirer News

Food fight!

On a Sunday, which is supposed to be a day of rest, busloads of students are being dropped off at the World Trade Center and the least of their interest is rest. This is the last day of the most exciting food fight of the year—the National Food Showdown (NFS). The moment of reckoning is fast approaching for these culinary students.

Around 500 students from 89 schools participated in this cook fest that has done the rounds of Baguio, Cebu and Davao. In teams, they have been trying to outdo one another in everything, from preparing the amuse bouche to cooking the main course, from cake decorating to flair tending, from the pantry chef and the apprentice competitions to the chef wars.

Meanwhile, in the judges’ lounge, men and women in chef uniforms wander in and out as they take their turns in rating the students’ entries. The NFS has needed 80 of them and, mind you, these are not run-of-the-peppermill chefs.


Myrna Segismundo, who has been chairing the NFS for five successful years, has managed to call on the name names in the culinary world. The competitions have been co-chaired by chefs Norbert Gandler and Jill Sandique.


Glenda Barretto, president and CEO of Via Mare Corp., is chairperson of the judging and appeals committee. Leading lights of the kitchen stage who have served as judges are Jessie Sincioco, Ernie Babaran, Ed Quimson, Beth Romualdez, Sau del Rosario, Jean Pierre Migne, Claude Tayag, Heny Sison, Jackie Ang Po, David Pardo de Ayala, Franco Brodini, Warren Brown, Rox Cailao, Anthony Collar, Robby Goco, Arnold Guevarra, Martin Kaspar, Hylton Le Roux, Colin Mackay, Ian McKenzie, Roberto Molleman, Mel Taylo, Rowena Tindoy and Farah Ylagan.

“It is a chefs’ reunion,” says an amused Segismundo, managing director of Restaurant 9501 and TV Food Chefs.

Cooking demos

For some chefs, the NFS has presented teaching moments. Chefs Ryan Abejuela and Pauline Lagdameo, representing Frontera Brands, prepared Braised Lamb Shanks in Creamy Red Wine Sauce. Dianne Enrile Sy featured Steamed Vegetables and Prawns, Pork Barbecue and Grill Pan-fried Tuna using the Rational Self Cooking Center.

For Milk Maid, Melody Berries presented Crema de Mangga, Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake and Chocolate Eclairs.

On the stage this final day of the NFS, Candace Toribio Gomes is using McCormick herbs and spices on pasta and bread. Saranggani Bay is hosting a cooking demo with its bangus product as main ingredient, to be followed by separate competitions for professional cooks and for students. Up next is Quimzon, who is roasting a Magnolia Free Range Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic.


Student winners

As the NFS crewmen clear the cooking counters and stoves to prepare for the awarding, a collegiate sports tournament feel takes over the venue. Cheer dance, too. The schools begin rooting with passion for their respective teams, complete with drum rolls.

In the Chef Wars Modern Filipino Kulinarya, the Ultimate Chef Warriors are members of the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management team. The Golden Plate Award for Sweet Revenge also goes to ISCAHM.

The Presidential Trophy for the Over-all Winner, student division, is St. Anne College of Lucena. The Golden Plate for Compleat Chefs is awarded to St. Therese-MTC Colleges, Iloilo City, while the Golden Plate for Bar and Dining Showdown is won by Arellano University-Jose Abad Santos Campus.

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The NFS has professional and student divisions in its major events Battle of the Experts, Compleat Chefs, Bar and Dining Showdown, Sweet Revenge and brand competitions.

TAGS: cook fest, Food, Philippines, Students

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