Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ajinomoto® Umami Culinary Challenge Winning Teams

Every year since 2009, the Ajinomoto® Umami Culinary Challenge (UCC) gathers the Philippines’ most creative and innovative culinarians. The event is now one of the country's biggest intercollegiate culinary competitions. This year, Ajinomoto® UCC attracted thousands of visitors and hundreds of HRM and Nutrition students from 51 Universities and Colleges, not just coming from Metro Manila and nearby provinces, but as far back as Ilocos, CAR and Visayas.

Distinguished judges during the event included culinary experts Chef Bruce Lim, Chef Dino Datu, Chef Sau del Rosario, Chef Rosebud Benitez and nutrition experts Dr. Veritas Luna, Dr. Zenaida Narciso and Ms. Joan Sumpio to name a few. There were four (4) competition categories that included the Best Filipino Umami Dish, Umami Bento Meal,   My Eat Well, Live Well® Plate and My Own Umami Creation.

Best Filipino Umami Dish

For the first time this year, Ajinomoto® UCC introduced a National Cooking Showdown, where the winning team from Visayas competed with the best team from Luzon for the Best Filipino Umami Dish competition category. This category recognizes the significant presence of umami taste in Filipino cuisine. The Visayas contingent came from Hercor College – Capiz, they won in the Ajinomoto® UCC Iloilo and Cebu events. But it was La Consolacion College – Manila who came on top after winning in both the Luzon and national rounds for the Best Filipino Umami Dish. The winning entries of La Consolacion are a Capampangan delicacy called Sale Ebun Utik (Duck Egg's Nest), and  an Ilokano specialty called Dinengdeng Boquet with Crisp.

Umami Bento Meal

To highlight the discovery of umami in Japan, Ajinomoto® UCC created the Umami Bento Meal competition category. The task for the competitors is to come up with a Japanese-Filipino “fusion” bento meal that boasts of authentic umami taste and outstanding nutritional value. The 3rd place winner is De La Salle University – Dasmariñas with their dish Sinigang Rice Burger w/ Rellenong Bangus Maki, Ginger Calamansi Sauce and Fruit Tartlet. Colegio de San Lorenzo bagged the 2nd place with their Wayō Bento creation. The top team for said category is Rogationist College from Silang Cavite, their winning dish is called Bento Seafoods Galore.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Foodie Combo Treat at UNCLE CHEFFY's and KUSE

It’s my first time to eat dishes from two food establishments in one seating. Not because it was situated beside each other but they are owned and operated by the same company. The restaurant I went to are Uncle CHEFFY’s and KUSE at Venice Piazza in Taguig.

Uncle Cheffy’s offers a fine dining experience with Italian ambiance. Instead of pizza, Uncle Cheffy’s known for their own style of panizza. Panizzas are hand-rolled pizza.  Instead of the usual round shape we are accustomed with, it is rectangular and sliced diagonally. It is definitely more fun to eat than a regular pizza. Uncle Cheffy’s prides itself for traditional method using brick ovens.

The first course started with the salad for appetizers. Uncle Cheffy’ Salad can be a mouthful and it’s not for individual consumption.  We had the Lovely Jenny Salad, Grilled Prawns and Pomelo Salad, and the Uncle Cheffy’s Salad. My recommendation is the Grilled Prawn and Pomelo Salad because it’s a rare thing prawns are used for salads. The salad’s prices ranges from P230.00 to P495.00

After the salads, we were served three variations of panizzas: East Meets West, Uncle Cheffy Favorites, and All-Meat Barbecue. Each serving of panizza comes with three salad green and salsa ideal to roll with your panizza slice.

All-Meat BBQ is made up of beef teriyaki, pork, chicken barbecue, onions, chli flakes, basil and 3 kinds of cheese. East Meets West is made up of parmaham, salami, kesong puti. Salted eggs, tomatoes mango and 3 kinds of cheeses. Uncle Cheffy’s favorite is made up of oven-dried tomatoes, parmesan, cheddar, gyuyere, blue cheese, herbs and virgin olive oil. There are four more panizza selections and the price ranges from P195 to P250(Medium) and P380 to P495(Family).

Mostly, no Pinoy I know eat without rice. We now feasted on the different viands starting with the Asian Fried Rice.  What I like about their fried rice was that it can stand on its own even without a viand. The Asian Fried Rice cost either P120 for single serving or P220 for sharing.

The feast consists of noodles, grilled dishes, and more specialties and favorites from Uncle Cheffy’s and Kuse. I always like noodle dishes. Their Tuiey Noodles(P295)  is what I fancy during the food tasting. It is topped with meat and has rich flavor.  For Kuse, I fancy their Vigan Bagnet.  Nothing is new with it except that it is served with egg plants and bagoong isda.
Just when our tummies are about to give up, we must have room for dessert. The Chocolate Parfait is quite unique because it has pandan crepe. Most of the food here are unique. It’s a fusion of Pinoy and Western dishes.

Kuse and Uncle Cheffy's has various branches. The one I went to was at Venice Piazza. For more foodie updates and reviews, visit and like LENS blogs