Mama Sita Foundation Takes Traditional Filipino Food to the Modern Era with a Cook-Off Challenge
Taguig City, Philippines – Rich, savory, and diverse. These are just some of the words that describe the country’s culinary heritage which was celebrated last May 27, 2019 through a cooking competition held at the Women’s Center of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
In its first-ever Cook-Off Challenge, the TESDA Women’s Center (TWC) collaborated with the Mama Sita Foundation and tasked seven teams from the former’s current batch of Cookery NC II class to give their own on well-loved local dishes.
Women’s Center Chief Maria Clara, Ignacio and Mama Sita Foundation President, Clara Reyes Lapus formally opened the day’s cook-off with encouraging words that placed emphasis on hard work, honesty, health, happiness, and honor.
Using Mama Sita’s products and a basket of select ingredients, the seven competing teams wasted no time in putting their culinary skills and senses to work and creatively whipped-up their own version of traditional Filipino dishes. The cook-off entries included everlasting or embutido), pork binagoongan with lemon zest, smoked flavored humba with mango salsa, chicken adobo sa gata, chicken inasal with caldereta sauce, ginataang tilapia with vinegar and tomato sauce, and seafood bicol express.
The cook-off’s carefully-chosen panel of judges included prominent personalities from TESDA and the culinary community such as TWC Supervising TESD Specialist, Mylene Somera; Philippine Airlines Executive Corporate Chef, Noel Ramos; accomplished Chef and Patio Miguelito Owner, Don Edward Quito; renowned food columnist and Food Writers Association of the Philippines President, Michaela Fenix; as well as Gulf News correspondent, Barbara May Dacanay.
Entries were judged according to taste/sensory evaluation (40%), presentation (25%), production (20%), cleanliness, grooming, and orderly preparation (15%) with the smoked flavored humba reigning supreme. The seafood bicol express came in second, while the team behind the ginataang tilapia finished off third. Each participating team was given a Mama Sita Gift Basket while the 3 contenders received Special Mama Sita’s Gift Baskets and cash prizes amounting to PHP 10,000; PHP 7,600; and PHP 5,000.
Beyond skills training and agricultural development projects that provide opportunities for local farmers and other participating individuals, the TWC Cook-Off challenge is the first in a series of partnerships between Mama Sita Foundation and TWC focusing on traditional Filipino Cuisine for women.