By SOL VANZI
Images by NOEL PABALATE
Culinary arts continues to be the most popular course among the young, with demand so high that it is now offered not just by small cooking schools. Venerable established educational institutions now include it in their curriculum.
We witnessed the enthusiasm of culinary students and faculty a few days ago during the country’s most popular cooking competition, the Jolly University (JU). The most promising culinary students in the country displayed immense food knowledge and kitchen showmanship at the successful finale of JU Year 5 Grand Cook-Off held at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila last weekend.
The culinary competition among the top 20 elite finalists focused on cultivating culinary passion and recreating everyday dishes with this year’s theme “Innovate. Create. Share.”
JU Year 5 tested the kitchen skills and creativity of the challenges in coming up with their best dish creations under the modern Filipino and fusion categories. The Grand Cook-Off attracted hundreds of culinary and HRM college students from campuses all over the metro and nearby locations.
A program that began in 2013, JU encourages diversity as well as collaboration across and beyond academic borders while effectively transferring key skills to talented young students. Serving as a springboard to prepare aspirants in their future careers, the highly successful campus-wide competition nurtures cooperative relationships among students and institutions in promoting culinary excellence and food business innovation in the Philippines.
“A successful program takes time to build. We are still overwhelmed by how it sparked the flames of curiosity, creativity, and the cooking abilities of so many students in the past five years. JU indeed has grown to become a long-running program that is greatly supported by the academic communities as well as partners from various industries. Everyone took part in making the program thrive dynamically throughout the years,” Lucio Cochanco, Jr., president of Fly Ace Corporation, commented.
As of press time, the winners under Modern Fusion category had been announced.
Grand Winner, Tyrone Lemuel Ty (University of Santo Tomas)— dish entry Hainanese Chicken Binakol Noodle Soup (using Jolly mushroom & young corn, stuffed chicken roulade with egg noodles, vegetables, and coconut shreds in creamy coconut broth)
1st runner-up, Richmond Joseph Suntay ( University of Santo Tomas)— Shepherd’s Rendang
2nd runner-up, Patricia Ong (Chiang Kai Shek College)—Thai Pork Mushroom Longganisa, Suman with Crispy Shallot-Garlic Latik, and Coconut Cream Foam served with Fried Egg and Green Mango Salad.
The complete list of top 20 finalists included Richmond Suntay (University of Sto.Tomas), Jericho Pareja (Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila), Jenald Pascual (NCBA Fairview), Phoebe Punzalan (CEUMakati), Zire Oliver Romero (Lyceum of the Philippines UniversityManila), Andrea Marie Saclao (Lyceum of the Philippines-Manila), John Phillip Brocoy (Emilio Aguinaldo College), Moeko Shinshi (San Juan de Dios Educational Foundation Inc. College), Jesch Bodano (Far Eastern University-Manila), Tyrone Lemuel Ty (University of Sto. Tomas), Rafael Imalay (NCBA Fairview), Camille Dizon (Metropolitan Medical Center College of Arts, Sciences, & Technology), Ma. Trixia Joyce Sevilla (St. Scholastica’s College-Manila), Patricia Ong (Chiang Kai Shek College), Dustin Ryan Agoncillo (Metropolitan Medical Center College of Arts, Sciences, & Technology), Ria Daniel Arugay (San Sebastian College Recoletos), Daryanne Chanel Yongco(University of Sto. Tomas), Eduard Vargas (Earist), Pauline Galang (Manila Tytana Colleges), and Janzel Dayag (St. Joseph College Quezon City).
The two contestants who automatically earned the final slots are Richmond Suntay of UST, whose dish photo garnered the most likes and shares on Facebook, and Ria Arugay of San Sebastian Recoletos for the Most Jolly Canned Vegetable Product Labels Collected.
“It’s great to see a new batch of talented and very promising campus culinary talents going all out as they presented to us their innovative modern renditions of Filipino classics and fusion recipes,” said Abigail Ng-Reyes, avp for marketing of Fly Ace Corporation.
The JU program is different from other culinary competitions hosted by food brands or organizations, Ramon Daez, general manager of Fly Ace Corporation, said. “Jolly University has grown to become a prestigious campus-wide cooking competition that’s deeply committed to harnessing young students’ talents in cooking. It also promotes out-of-the-classroom learning experiences, the sharing of industry-ready culinary skills and techniques while also teaching the values of leadership, cooperation, professionalism, and creative showmanship.”
“A unique aspect of JU is that it creates and supports youth role models. Past JU grand winners become influential role models to fellow students, and as ambassadors of a homegrown food brand that is proud to help empower the youth through cooking. For participants, the program acts as a learning platform and vital stepping stone to their career paths as future food industry entrepreneurs and culinary professionals,” Geetan Raghani, associate product manager for Jolly Food Line added. flyacecorp.com.