It’s an Egg-cellent Day to be Cooking
Last April 8, the IHM Special Projects Team held the first part of a new event series called The Great Food Challenge, where students can compete against one another in a set of challenges centered around a specific theme. This first installment called the Egg-tastic Challenge had two main events: The Egg White Whipping Challenge and The Egg Dish Plating Challenge. Hosted by Jose Garcia, Archellaine Panganiban, and Michella Dib, this event had nine competitors: Nicole Accad, Lance Ang-Santo, Alessa Chua, Samuel Gloria, Mikhail Nierras, Matthew Santos, Gianne Ubalde, Jose Villareal, and Marc Yuvienco.
The event started out with the introduction of the judges, Nikki Beato (2014 Enderun Colleges alumna, former supervisor of Misibis Bay, The Manila Hotel, Ascott BGC and owner of The Brownie Girl Kitchen), Eros Kampitan (former baker of Princess Cruises, Sofitel, The Manila Hotel, and Makati Diamond Hotel), Bel Castro (Associate Dean in Hospitality Management, Master of Arts focused in Gastronomy, and WSET Course Educator for Level 1&2), and Cyrene De La Rosa (Graduate of Institute of Culinary Education with Master’s in Food Studies and Food Management from New York University, and columnist for Metro. Style and ANCX).
The first event, The Egg White Whipping Challenge, began with a brief explanation of the rules and mechanics. Participants would have six minutes to use only their elbow grease to whip egg-whites into a stiff peak consistency, afterwards they need to flip the bowl, and say “Don’t egg-nore me!” as a way to signal they are done and for the host to know who finished first. With anticipation and excitement coming from both the audience and the participants, the competition started and the participants started whisking their bowls full of egg whites in the hopes of winning the first challenge. As the time drew closer to the limit, one by one, the participants managed to achieve the desired consistency and were able to flip their bowls without the egg whites falling onto their heads. The event ended with Lance Ang-Santo, Alessa Chua, and Samuel Gloria as the first three to finish.
In the second event, the Egg Dish Plating Challenge, participants were asked to create an egg dish utilizing the leftover egg yolks. The dishes were to be judged on the following criteria: Aesthetics, Complexity, and Components. The participants were then given 10 minutes to prepare and plate their dishes and were also provided with 2 minutes to present their dishes in front of the judges.
First one to present was Gianne Ubalde with her Leche Flan topped with a Sugar Cage and Berries. She explained that she made this dish because each of the components was something well liked by someone in her family.
Going to the next participant, Marc Yuvienco presented his dish, Île Flottante (or Floating Island in English) with a Molasses Semifreddo, Beetroot Pearls, and Citrus Crumb.
Moving on to the next participant, Lance Ang-Santo presented his dish, “Egg Toast” which featured confited egg yolks on toast topped with caviar. He shared that the dish was inspired by one made by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Afterwards, the next participant to present was Alessa Chua and her dish of a Souffle Omelet. She shared that she utilized the whipped egg whites from the earlier challenge and incorporated it into her dish.
Next up to present was Jose Villareal with his dish of Confit Salmon with Egg Yolk Coins. These were served with parsley mayonnaise, crispy salmon skin, and squash cubes.
The presentation was followed by Samuel Gloria and his Sausage and Basil Frittata with garlic bread and a set of sauces on the side.
Going back to the sweeter side, Nicole Accad presented her dish which was a Milk Chocolate Mousse with a layer of vanilla custard and strawberry puree at the bottom and topped with a brownie thin and fruit.
Jumping to another participant, Mikhail Nierras presented his rendition of a college classic: Ramen with Egg. His version was a combination of Korean fire noodles, Filipino chili-mansi pancit canton, and eggs. To add more flavor, he also mentioned adding garlic powder, mirin, sesame oil and finished with a garnish of crispy seaweed.
Going to the last participant, Matthew Santos presented his twist on Deviled Eggs by adding contrast to the creamy egg yolk filling with a punch of flavor from the spicy Cajun shrimp and bacon.
After all the participants presented, the judges took some time to deliberate who would have the Top 3 Dishes of the competition. Placing in third place was Nicole Accad, followed by Alessa Chua as first runner up, and the judges then declared Lance Ang-Santo as first place.
With that, the competition ended with six winners amongst the two challenges. But more importantly, everyone in the event was able to have fun and practice their cooking skills. From the manual labor of egg whipping to mastering the intricacies of plating, everyone learned something new from the dishes of the competitors as well as the comments from the judges. Surely there is still more fun and things to be learned in the upcoming installments of this event series.