One Last Food Fight
Good things come in threes and the IHM Special Projects Team definitely showcased that with the third and final installment of their event series, The Great Food Challenge, held last April 24. After an exciting day with eggs and another thrilling day featuring Spam, the event organizers did not disappoint with this team challenge called the 2 Course Meal Contest. Hosted by Michella Dib and Archellaine Panganiban, the event had 2 pairs of competitors: The Destroyers (with Gabriel Santos and Jose Villareal) and SA-2 (with Kass Damuy and Joanne Ng).
The event began with an introduction of the judges who were composed of: Chef Suzette Montinola (Academic Section Head of Enderun Colleges), Chef Laetitia Moreau (Executive Pastry Chef of Enderun) and Bel Castro (Associate Dean in Enderun Colleges and the Dean in Hospitality Management). Afterwards, the teams were provided with mechanics of the competition. The teams were tasked to incorporate chicken in their dish for the main course and a custard-based element for their desserts. They were given 5 minutes to plate and 4 minutes to present their dishes to the judges. Each of the dishes was judged based on the following criteria: Aesthetics, Complexity, Creativity, and Coherence.
Both participants and the audience were excited to see both teams battle it out through their wonderful and scrumptious dishes. With the go signal from the host, the plating contest began and the crowd started cheering for their favorite group. As the contest progressed, both teams were able to finish the first part of the contest within the given time limit.
Going to the presentation portion of the contest, the first team to present was The Destroyers group where they shared that the overall theme of their 2 course meal was recreating dishes from restaurants that are part of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List.
For the main course, Jose Villareal presented his dish which was inspired by Thailand’s Gaggan Anand’s Crab Curry, but instead using chicken as the star of the dish. It was accompanied with basmati rice and topped with crispy chicken skin, egg yolk coins, and chili oil.
On to the dessert, Gabriel Santos presented his take on Singaporean restaurant Odette’s Yuzu Tart by using local ingredients such as Dayap and Calamansi for the custard, biscocho for the crumbs and kesong puti rocks. The dessert also featured a Basil Mint Custard and Custard Cremeux.
Moving to the next group, SA-2, who had a theme of comfort food for their 2 course meal.
Diving into the main course, Joanne Ng presented her dish which was Baked Chicken with Star Anise, Thyme, and Apples on a bed with mashed potatoes with a side of vegetables, enoki mushrooms, and bacon.
Going to the last meal for the contest, Kass Damuy presented her dessert which was a Banana Bread Pudding with Vanilla Custard and Marshmallow Meringue, topped with a banana chip, candied carrot, and vanilla chocolate syrup.
After the teams had presented their course meals, the judges were given a moment to deliberate the winner for the final contest of The Great Food Challenge. Afterwards, the judges announced that the winner was The Destroyers.
While winning prizes may be fun, the judges did not forget to remind the participants and the audience that the experience of doing this and honing one’s skills is the true prize in all this. Seizing any opportunity to practice and show creativity through food is vital to helping yourself grow and learn in the kitchen. As Chef Leti said in her remarks to the contestants, “It’s what makes a big chef, when you’re able to show your personality and to really share an emotion through your dish.” because anyone can just make a version of a dish, it is a whole different story to take your own personality and put it on a plate. So do your best to cultivate that. Try that new dish you’ve been reading about. Practice those knife cuts even if it feels like they’ll never be completely even. Just get in the kitchen and start cooking.