by RONALYN BANAKEN
The UB team (from left): Alvin Patrick Sabado, Robenson Dassalla, Maricris Agas, Melvin Canti, Nicholson Fermin, and Danielle Olcim
Snatching the second highest accolade, the University of Baguio (UB) was presented the silver medal at the Philippine Culinary Cup (PCC) – the country’s biggest food competition endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) – on Aug. 9.
UB is the only academic institution to join the event and is the lone entry from Northern Luzon.
The UB team – composed by Maricris Agas (head chef), Robenson Dassalla (assistant chef), Melvin Canti (student chef), Nicholson Fermin (student apprentice), Danielle Olcim (student apprentice), and Alvin Patrick Sabado (student apprentice) of the UB School of International Hospitality and Tourism Management (SIHTM) – prepared four dishes – bangus pampagana na pinasarap sa sinigang sarsa at ensaladang sayote (appetizer); relyenong pato na pinalamanan ng laing (main dish); nilatikang kanin na may ube at kamoteng kahoy (starch); and inabraw na gulay/dinengdeng (vegetable).
Fernando Aracama – who sits as a member of the competition’s executive committee and who served as a judge in the reality cooking show MasterChef Pinoy Edition – reveled in the group’s appetizer, describing it as “refreshing” and that “it is what we are looking for.” The critics also took pleasure in the team’s starch dish. “The judges were very delighted. They mentioned enjoying the recipe,” noted Dassalla.
“This year, our cooking approach was molecular,” added Dassalla. Molecular cuisine encompasses the social, artistic and technical aspects of food preparation.
Held at the SMX Convention Center, UB battled against 29 participating establishments, most of them culinary schools and restaurants. They include, among others, Diamond Hotel Philippines, Global Academy, Unilever, Orange Whisk Restaurant and Patisserie, Resorts World Manila, and Solaire Resort and Casino –some of the nation’s biggest firms. Participants from Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore also flew to join the competition.
Five teams were awarded the bronze medal, two were given the silver medal, while only one bagged the gold medal. Multiple winners can fall under a single award.
“Competing with prominent restaurants and culinary schools – it is tough, especially that we are not a culinary school. But, at the School of IHTM, we are taught and trained extensively. I guess this is one reason we nailed it,” said Sabado.
UB has been joining the competition for the last five years, consistently securing top spots. Last year, UB picked up the bronze medal.
Organized by Les Toques Blanches Philippines, the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines, and Premiere Events Plus Group Inc., PCC is the only WACS-endorsed culinary competition in the country and is held in consonance with the standards of the International Exposition on Worldwide Food and Beverage, Technology and Machinery (also called World Food Expo).
Bangus pampagana na pinasarap sa sinigang sarsa at ensaladang sayote (appetizer)
Relyenong pato na pinalamanan ng laing (main dish)
Nilatikang kanin na may ube at kamoteng kahoy (starch)