Sunday, January 23, 2011

Umami Culinary Challenge 2011: Battle of the Umami Masters

Have you noticed I’ve been attending a lot of HRM-related events right now?  Well, that’s because of my brother taking up hotel and restaurant services.  I’ve written here in my blog just last week about a flairtending event, and now I’m sharing to you the 2nd Umami Culinary Challenge.

Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation (APC) in partnership with the Glutamate Association of the Philippines (GAP) presented the 2nd Umami Culinary Challenge: The Battle for the Umami Bowl at the A. Venue Events Hall in Makati. Eighteen schools were represented by student competitors who participated in both culinary and non-culinary competitions in a whole day event.

This inter-school, multi-category cooking competition puts a special emphasis on umami, the 5th basic taste. Umami is the tasty, rich or savory taste that was first identified and isolated by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University in 1908. The Umami Culinary Challenge involved and engaged student competitors both in group and individual categories and highlighted the creativity, innovativeness and culinary skills of students in creating dishes that bring out the best umami taste.

Ensuring that only those who met the highest standards of culinary excellence would join the UCC’s roster of winners were food experts and renowned Filipino and international chefs, a number of them are also in the academe, who served as judges for this year’s UCC. Among them were celebrity chef and endorser of ELBA Cookers Chef Sau del Rosario, Chef Pablo “Boy” Logro of Chef Logro’s Culinary and Kitchen Services, Chef Rosebud Benitez of QTV’s Quickfire, Chef James Antolin of the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines, Chef Colin Mackay of the Sala Group and the pastry chef and director of Lolo Dad’s restaurant, Chef Mia Manuel.
Another distinct characteristic that sets UCC apart from other culinary competitions is its emphasis on nutritious food. With Ajinomoto’s “Eat Well, Live Well” tagline as a guiding principle, the student competitors prepared scrumptious yet healthy dishes that were also judged according to their nutritional value. The separate panel of judges was composed of food and nutrition experts.

The 2nd Umami Culinary Challenge: The Battle for the Umami Bowl was sponsored by ELBA Cookers of Italy, Cookworks, Anvil Publishing, Petron Gasul, Chefs Garb, and Fujidenso, with media partners GMA Network, QTV, Summit Interactive, Appetite, BusinessMirror, and Cook Magazine. This event was also supported by the following culinary schools and institutions: Magsaysay Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts (MIHCA), Metropolitan Occupational Science & Technology (MOST) Institute, The Kitchen Academy, Chef Logro’s Institute of Culinary & Kitchen Services (CLICKS) and The Pastry Alliance of the Philippines.

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