STI College, Santa Rosa recently celebrated its Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) Week last September 28 to October 01, 2011. They held a cooking competition among its students that entailed challenges such as table setting, vegetable carving, and food express. It was a privilege to have been invited as one of the judges.
It was my first time to judge such a competition and I am very happy and thankful to the people who considered me.
When I asked the coordinators how they decided to invite me as a judge, they informed me that they have been following my blog — Bongga Ba?! — and thought that I was appropriate for the job. I tackle several categories in my site that includes being a food critique and a restaurant hopper, that helped in being selected as one of the judges.
I was both excited and nervous on the day of the competition. I really didn’t know how to go about judging a cooking challenge. All I know, as what I usually do, is to eat and compliment people or restaurants who really deserves it.
It was a relief that the organizers gave the judges instructions and criteria for judging. NOW I KNOW! Hehehe! Now, it’s time to enjoy!
There were 8 groups competing for the Chef’s Express challenge. It was really a tight match. Group 2 won first place with just a few points ahead of Group 5.
The former prepared Dori Creamy Soup for appetizer, Ginataang Dori for their main dish, and Apple Cobbler for dessert. They were the only group that served soup that their menu complemented one another really well. That is rare!
Group 5 of the Chef’s Express challenge prepared Garlic Apple Mushroom Explosion for appetizer, Honey Mustard for the main dish, and Apple in Sweet Coconut Milk for dessert.
The main dish really caught my attention. It was made by John David Retis and I really can’t imagine how honey mustard can complement a cream dory. Their dory was fried perfectly and was well blended with spices. It was a perfect partner to the honey mustard sauce.
The Table Setting competition had 4 groups competing against one another. In the end, Group 1 bagged first place, which comprises of Japh Joseph Garcia, Arjie Maglangit, and Amarie Castro. I saw how they worked and all I can say is … they were awesome!
They have chosen a nice table cloth, the setting was artistically done, the setup was neat, clean, and wares was in their proper places.
The final challenge was Vegetable Carving, that I found really tricky. You really have to take a closer look to see mistakes. Yes, the results are beautiful.
However, it is important to be able to consider how these centerpieces were created. What were the tools used? I considered least those that had toothpicks, sticks, or the like in the final exhibit. In this division, Jason Latorre, Angela Castillo, and Ken Aldueza of Group 2 emerged as first placers.
In the end, I really enjoyed myself and was thankful for the invitation and to all those responsible for the competition, especially to Mr. Edwin Casilla and Mr. Dennis Yoro.
It is surely a BONGGANG EXPERIENCE for me. To all the winners, GOOD LUCK and ENJOY THE KITCHEN!