Cooking Outside the Can

Graphics by Jose Garcia

After the first installment of The Great Food Challenge, the IHM Special Projects Team was back last April 15 with the second iteration of their event series which was The Slice ‘em Spam Contest. The event was divided into The Spam Cutting Challenge and The Spam Plating Challenge and was again hosted by Jose Garcia and Archellaine Panganiban. As for the competitors, the contest was joined by returning contestants Gianne Ubalde and Jose Villareal and newcomer Anjelo Manliguez.

The event started out with an introduction for the Spam Cutting Challenge. The participants were given 5 minutes to cut as many slices from a single block of Spam. They also needed to make sure that their cuts yielded to a whole slice of Spam or it would not be counted. Afterwards, anticipation grew from the participants to audiences alike who were all excited to see who would win the first competition. When the host gave the signal, the participants hastily started cutting their Spam blocks, while the audience were cheering for their favorite participants. When the timer reached the end of 5 minutes, the official counting began. One by one, the participants presented their slices of Spam to the audience while the hosts counted each of the slices made. The challenge ended with Gianne Ubalde and Jose Villareal as the winners, both with 19 slices of Spam.

Moving on, the next event which was the Spam Plating Challenge. The participants were asked to make use of Spam and incorporate it into their dish. Their dishes were judged on the following criteria: Aesthetics, Creativity, and Complexity. As for the judges of this challenge, the audience was given with the opportunity to vote for the winning dish. Participants were also given 5 minutes to plate their dishes and 3 minutes to present this to the audience.

First one to present was Gianne Ubalde, with her Spam Musubi Two Ways, showcasing the classic version with egg as well as one made with kimchi fried rice. This dish also was accompanied with spicy mayo and kimchi.

Photo Credit: Gianne Ubalde

Next up was Anjelo Manliguez who presented a play on nachos with his Rice Paper Chips with Spam Cheese Dip.

Photo Credit: Anjelo Manliguez

The last participant to present was Jose Villareal with his version of “Spam and Rice” which featured a fried sticky rice cake at the bottom, a layer of homemade Spam, homemade banana ketchup, and roasted garlic.

Photo Credit: Jose Villareal

After the participants presented their dishes, the audience were given a poll on who they thought made the best dish. And in a landslide of votes, Jose Villareal was declared the winner of the second challenge.

Despite the differences in the contest compared to last week, it was nothing short of exciting for the students not only because there was a contestant not from the Hospitality department but also because of the new skills showcased. From an impressive show of knife skills to the creativity it takes to reimagine a canned staple, all the contestants showed an amazing performance. And surely, with the last day of the event series coming up next week, there are still more surprises coming.

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