Friday, October 31, 2008


I find it so amusing indeed when observing market goers buying fish when they start pressing and sniffing the fish. You begin to think if the fish was to be used as pillow or perfume. To ensure that fish are of the best quality, carefully inspect the fish, checking for as many of the following signs of freshness and quality as possible:

1. Fish should at least have a temperature of 40°F/4°C or less.

2. The fish should have a good overall appearance (clear slime, no cuts or bruising, pliable fins, etc

3. The scales should tightly adhere to the fish.

4. The flesh should respond to light pressure and not feel soft.

5. The eyes should be clear, bright, and bulging.

6. The gills should be bright pink to maroon in color and if mucous is present, it should be clear.

7. There should be no belly burn—evidence that viscera (guts) were left in the fish too long, resulting in bacteria and enzymes breaking down the flesh along the rib cage.

8. The fish should have a clean, sweet, sea-like smell.

9. The fish should be stored in a container with shaved ice to prevent bruising.

Blue Marlin has a thick layer of fat between the skin and the meat while the “Malasugi”, often passed on as Blue Marlin has no fat.

INGREDIENTS: Yield: Serves 6
6 pcs blue marlin steaks, ¾ -inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black peppercorns to taste
Juice of 1 lemon

8 g minced garlic toasted in unsalted butter

1. Season the steaks with salt and pepper just before grilling and pour lemon juice.

2. Grill the steaks over glowing charcoals approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.

3. Place the steaks on a serving platter. Pour the Beurre Grenobloise on top of steaks. Garnish with toasted garlic and serve immediately. Serve the pickled radish on the side.

2/3 Cup / 90 g unsalted butter
2 ½ tbsp / 22.5 ml. White wine vinegar
1 tsp Italian flat leaf parsley
2 ½ tbsp 22.5 g Minced capers
1 tbsp / 15 g unsalted butter

• Cook butter till hazelnut brown. Pour off from pan, and strain and strain milk solids.

• Wipe pan with paper towel. Pour white wine vinegar and reduce by half.

• Add brown butter and heat gently. Add parsley or flavorings.

• Add the minced capers at the end. Finish off with butter.

1 large white horse radish
¼ cup / 60 ml. vinegar
90 g white sugar
Dash of white pepper
Dash of salt

• Combine all ingredients, cover and chill for 1 hour.

This Blue Marlin cut is from the belly thus its shape.


Freshest of ingredients. The only way you can prepare this wonderful dish is for you get up at 3am and wait for the freshly caught fish to arrive and order the cut you need. Tuna flavor and its firm texture allows for a repertoire of cooking methods from raw like sashimi and ceviche, searing, saute, pan-frying and grilling etc. In this dish I crusted the tuna with strong spices to balance the medium rare doneness.

INGREDIENTS: Serves 6 as an appetizer 4 as an entrée

450 g loin of tuna (best grade for sashimi)
Salt and pepper to taste
Ground coriander seeds to taste
Ground fennel seeds to taste
Oil for searing

1. Season both sides of the tuna with salt, pepper, coriander and fennel.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan over high heat until smoking. Sear tuna on both sides but leave the middle part rare. Refrigerate. When chilled, cut into large cubes.

½ cup tamyao
½ cup Daikon, shaved
¾ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
¾ cup cilantro leaves

165 ml extra-virgin olive oil
32 g red onion brunoise
56 g salted capers, rinsed
28 g black olives, pitted and half rondelle
1 garlic cloves, minced
1 bird’s eye red chili, seeded, brunoise
28 g Italian flat leaf parsley, chiffonade
3 g lemon zest, blanched
Salt, as needed
Ground black pepper, as needed

1. Combine the herb salad ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the salsa cruda and whip with a wire whisk. Refrigerate.

2. Toss the salad with the dressing.


Spending my summer time as a kid at my grandmother's "poor house" as she would call it certainly brings back pleasant memories. Sunday lunch was always grill day (comfort food for me). Lola, coming from Cagayan valley, the parsimonious Ilocano trait deeply embedded would surely recycle the grilled items into either curry or adobo. There was one incident when my castillan grandfather was served leftover grilled chicken that became fried chicken on Monday, Adobo on Tuesday. Lolo got suspicious and took a bite from a drumstick and returend it to the platter. On Wednesday, he was served chicken curry and noticed the bitten drumstick hidden in the pile of chicken curry. Indeed, the drumstick was hurled out the window!

Lola had a term for leftover which we still use in the vernacular today-"MacArthur"- I shall return food.


(Meat Kabobs)

INGREDIENTS: Yield: Serves 10

1 Kilo Lamb shoulder or short loin chops or leg, chunks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1½ tbsp Oregano

½ (100ml.) cup EVOO

Juice of 1 lemon

1 Onions quartered

1 Green bell peppers, seeded and cut into chunks

1 Large firm tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

Wooden bamboo skewers, soaked in water and chilled


  1. Cut the meat into cubes (about an inch) and place in a bowl. Season well with pepper on all sides and sprinkle with oregano.

  1. Pour the EVOO and lemon juice. Leave to marinate in a cool place for 6 hours.

  1. Remove meat from the marinade and pat dry. Pierce through with a skewer, alternating with the chunk of vegetables.

  1. Place in a charcoal and cook for about 15 minutes, turning them over several times.

  1. When meat is done, Season with salt and serve with Pita or rice.

Monday, October 06, 2008


Once again the HRM students’ seniors, juniors and a few sophomores gave glory to UST-ITHM by winning several categories in the recently held Chefs TV Food Showdown last September 17-18 2008 despite the cramming preparations (so what's new).

Call time for several categories was set at 3:00am at the World Trade Center (WTC) while the logistics and support group was 2:00am at the Quezon Drive, UST campus. Sleep? Zombie that's what it is ;}

The organizers of the competition have improved compared to last year’s event but the flow of time management and sudden changes in competition schedule necessitates more improvement.

Several participants have prepared well for the competition as early as July 15. While the majority crammed a week before and several a few days before the event. Clearly, solely coaching all the participants is overwhelming given their regimented schedule of lab and lec subjects, giving out recipes and coercing them to practice and the most concern of everyone-financial support...indeed makes you feel like hitting the high notes of Pavarotti!

Initially intimidated, our participants witnessed the well funded and well prepared competitors but I told them "not to worry because they are intimidated by our presence as well."

There was no faculty member to relieve me during the 3-day event which is nothing new considering that I saw to it that the entire support group got into the UST bus at 3:00am to go to WTC and left the venue back to UST at 7:00pm. Thanks to Asst. Professor Mhel Torres, HRM Chairperson who stayed with us during the first day of competition.. On the last day of the competition ITHM Director Cecilia Tio Cuison and Mhel Torres made a short visit by mid afternoon.

A few things to keep in mind when participating in rigid competitions such as these…


17 Baby Cakes - GOLD
Kathlyn Tisha Ortaliz 2H5

Class 11 The Caffeine Fix Barista Challenge - SILVER
Kamila Fernandez 4H5

Class 18 Wedding Cakes - BRONZE
Ralph Aldover 4H4

Class 17 Baby Cakes - DIPLOMA
Bea Sales 3H4

Class 13-Cold Filipino Desserts - DILPOMA
Jennylyn Ang 2H5

Jessa Cabauatan 3H3

Class 14 Petits Fours or Pralines - DIPLOMA
Olivia Chan 2H5

Kristian Kristoffer Roque 4H4

Class 16 Philippine Creative Cake Decoration - DIPLOMA
Melissa Binuya 4H4
Maebelle Tadeo 4H4
Ralph Aldover 4H4

Ulangca 3H4
Angela Villamar 3H4
Dian Villegas 3H4

Class 20 Modern Filipino Table Setting- DIPLOMA
Anthony Tamayo 3H4
Izandra Fabrez 3H2

Brand Competitions:

McCormick Flavor –Up Challenge 3RD PLACE
Raffy Calongi 4H4

Purefoods Corned Beef Blue Breakfast 3RD PLACE
Maggie Gersbach 3H4


Class 1 Chef Wars Classical:European
Keight Catindig 3H3
Jo Anne Querubin 3H5
Ferdinand Azogue 3H1

Class 2 Chef Wars Classical Kulinarya: Filipino
Agui Aguinaldo 3H2
Ces Ignacio 3H2
Nina Belgica 3H2

Class 5-Gourmet Cold Buffet Challenge
Jan Claudine Rojas 3H3
Joan Pauline Lapid 3H3
Jeramie Jane Chua 3H3

Class 6 The Philippine Summer Picnic Basket
Kaykers Varilla 3H4
Lance Beraquit 3H4

Paolo Anotnio 3H2
Sara Mangalino 3H2

Class 7 Cuisine Rapide:Kusina Rapido
Maisie Victoriano 3H1
Kehnalin Balabbo 4H5

Class 10 Mocktail Mixing
John Ryan Maddatu 4H4

Class 11 The Caffeine Fix Barista Challenge
Jesse Yanzon 4H5

Class 12 Bar Chow Platter
George Ramos 3H1

Marvin Soriano 4H5

Class 15 Philippine Pastry Showpiece
Alena Tejares 4H5
Steph Advincula 3H5

Brand Competitions:
Eden Cheesemelt
Neil Dennis Tiburcio 4H4

Goldilocks Cake Deco
Bhing Cardano 3H1
Jen Cantero 3H1


Overall Coach and Photos
Chef Instructor-In-Charge/ Food Lab Coordinator

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Call time was set at 3:30am at the Quezon Drive of the UST grounds and departed for Dasmariñas at 4:00am.

UST-ITHM participants, logistics and support groups arrived at DLSU Dasmariñas before 5:00am together with Regina Carmeli of Malolos Bulacan.

Ingress and registration time was at 5:00am and to our astonishment, coming late had no bearing. The organizers necessitate a lot of improvement.

There were no ID badges printed for the participants. Only 2 badges were given to the coach later that day. The organizers informed us that this would do. What was ironic was that the furnishing of badges given to only the late participants. Student marshals were very passive and I had to remind them to cordon of the competition area since some of their compatriot school participants and coach were coaching their participants.

Certificates of participation ran out at 5:00pm

After learning the results at way past 9:00pm the UST participants all tired and hungry headed back to UST and arrived at past 10:00pm.

Recapping the whole event, DLSU never expected the turn out of the volume of the participating schools and last minute changes made were not

enough. Out of town competitions, such as these require early call times and imposition of sanctions for late comers is obligatory in fairness to the prompt participants.

My suggestions to improve future competitions:

§ All categories must start simultaneously at 6:00am sharp. By 12:00noon, the winners are declared and awarded their prizes and everyone is given a chance to rest and return to school so as to avoid oppressive attendance until 9:00pm.

§ The need for more competent student marshals and appropriate venue is indispensable.

§ Critically assess Judges Credentials is necessary not because they are close to the faculty of DLSU but to avoid controversies and biases. A comprehensive briefing of Judges before competition proper is crucial and deviation form the criteria completely discarded.

§ The scoring for the judges must be based on the International Computing System (ICS) based on international TESDA competitions where every criterion has a corresponding minimal and maximal point factor that leaves no room for judges to guess and the scores are not discrepantly in the extreme highs and lows.

§ Instantaneous briefings after the tally of scores implemented as needed.

§ The adherence to time management and o bjectively address concerns of participating schools is essential.

The Second Invitational Gourmet Challenge 2008 of DLSU has no acceptable excuse for the outcome and irregularities that occurred. The organizing committee should have learned from the previous competition held last year and anticipated the turn out of participants.

In spite of the scorching heat, thirst, hunger, lack of sleep and biased judging, the senior HRM students whipped their behinds and landed as the overall champion!


Maebelle Tadeo 4H4

Mel binuya 4H4

Ralph Aldover 4H4


Kashmir Pabla 4H5

Myla Abeleda 4H5

Marvin Soriano 4H5



Jorlie Cruz 4H4

Shirley Unidad 4H4

Ronal Dimailing 4H4


Karez Dinamarca 4H5

Kamila Fernandez 4H5

Maureen Flores 4H5

Ashley Cooper 4H4

Darice Narvaez 4H4

Christine Perez 4H4


Monica Salalila 4H5

Kehnalin Balabbo 4H5

Alby Nadres 4H1


Lea Juego 4H5

Carmela Garcia 4H5


Ava Miasis 4H4


Jesse Yanzon 4H4

John Maddatu 4H4


Ana Canceran 4H4

Christine Manaloto 4H4

Photos courtesy of Myla Abeleda and Mark Tangco

Overall coach Buhay Cocinero

Thursday, August 21, 2008

11 Commandments for the Creative Cook from Master Chef Charlie Trotter

1. A positive attitude is an essential ingredient.

Have fun in the kitchen to get the best results. Cooking is as creative as music,

and involves many of the same elements: self-expression through harmony,

rhythm, balance, and experimentation. Be willing to try, and remember that so-called

“failure” is a natural part of the cooking process; roll with it! With this

approach, you’ll find cooking delightful and relaxing!

2. The three most important elements are freshness, freshness, and


In bygone years, food was chemically-free, grown and distributed locally, and

bought and cooked fresh every day. This food lifestyle is harder to maintain

today, but not impossible. Use the most local, organic, and seasonal ingredients

you can, from just-butchered meat to veggies and herbs right off the truck (or out

of the garden). Then prepare as much as possible right before serving – and

don’t overcook. The difference in food flavor, color, texture, and aroma is worth

the effort!

3. Let food be your friend.

Do you believe great food is by necessity fattening, and spending time in the

kitchen is an invitation to unwanted extra pounds? If so, you’ve made food your

enemy – which is a pity. The more you know about how to assess, select,

combine, and prepare good food, the better you can serve your nutritional needs

while satisfying your yearning for delicious taste!

4. The food “pyramid” is a useful guideline.

Although I don’t stick to it to the letter, I do agree with the government’s dietary

recommendations in its food “pyramid.” I emphasize fruits, vegetables, and

grains in my cooking while minimizing fat and dairy. I also don’t rely solely on fat,

sugar, and salt for flavor. Instead, I make creative use of sauces made from

vegetable juice-based vinaigrettes, light emulsified stocks and purées, delicate

broths, and herb-infused meat and fish essences.

5. Let less truly be more.

Good cooking doesn’t always require lots of ingredients; you can create magic

with just five or six. Maximize flavor by how you cook and prepare: indoor grilling

can enhance flavor more than broiling, and julienned vegetables have a flavor

not found in big chunks. Exotic combinations (chicken and figs!) can give the

illusion of ingredient volume. And when food tastes great and menus are

balanced, smaller portions will satisfy!

6. Treat recipes like suggestions, not binding contracts.

Except for baking (where precision is important until you really know the ropes),

recipes are outlines, not blueprints. Examine recipes (mine included!) and let

your personal tastes, as well as level of expertise, be your greater guide: use

your judgment in changing or omitting ingredients and preparation steps.

Combine elements of two or more recipes to create something unique. Don’t be

afraid to improvise, and when you find a winner, don’t be afraid to play with that,

too. I rarely make something the same way twice!

7. Let yourself wing it!

Many a great dish was born from leftovers or odd combinations of things that just

happened to be around some creative cook’s house. Keep the cookbook shut

and just check the fridge and cupboards and let your imagination be your guide.

Sometimes – as with altering recipes – the finished product may range from so-so

to inedible, but that’s part of the joy – and noise – of culinary improvisation.

And when you hit the right note, there’s no greater thrill.

8. Eat a world of different foods.

Cooking gets dull when you settle into a food rut. Even if they’re free-range

chickens and organic potatoes, how often can you have them before you dread

going into the kitchen? And there are seasoning horizons beyond garlic and

thyme. Experiment with foods, recipes, and seasonings from around the world –

and don’t be afraid to combine them! Who says lemon grass and guacamole

can’t work together?

9. Don’t wait for dinner to make eating a special experience.

I believe each and every meal should be a sensual treat – but that doesn’t mean

it has to be complicated. Fabulous bread with fine preserves and great coffee is

a fast breakfast that warms the heart. A simple bag lunch of good fruit, cheese,

olives, and fresh breadsticks beats a fast-food burger any day. If you start to

insist on fresh, real, wonderful food every time you eat, the vending machine,

snack stand, and convenience food aisle will soon become less tempting.

10. Don’t forget the wine.

Wine is the crowning glory of a fabulous meal. But as with food, take a creative,

relaxed approach to learning which wines are best and most appropriate for

different foods. Get advice from quality merchants and sommeliers; some

cookbooks suggest corresponding wines for their recipes; and wine magazines

are good guides. Non-drinkers, don’t feel left out. Explore the variety of bottled

waters, quality non-alcoholic beers and sparkling ciders, and the universe of

great coffees and teas.

11. Remember that presentation and ambiance are the final ingredients.

Whether you’re making a cozy family weeknight dinner, a romantic late-night

supper for two, or an elegant dinner party, use your creativity to make it special.

No matching china, linens, and expensive floral arrangements? Then set a

colorful, eclectic table with what you have, using candles, music, and even

daisies in a milk bottle for a cheerful, welcoming atmosphere. Most important,

allow your pleasure in cooking and desire to entertain come through.

Monday, June 23, 2008



(Coaching the student division of the Pasta and Noodles category and Winning Silver)

4:00 am Friday, September 20 2002, text messages started pouring into my mobile phone like a “tsunami” from my students and faculty members. The messages were informing me that they were in school since 3:00 am inspecting in a frenzy the ingress and egress prepared the previous night for the competing teams for the Chef on Parade (C.O.P.).

I donned my whites at 4:30am and met up with the advance party of faculty members of O.B. Montessori at PTTC (Philippine Trade and Training Center) at 7am namely the ever superbly reliable and extremely efficient, my assistant, Mrs. Evelyn Bermudes.

The competing team for Filipino desserts (sophomore graduating class 2003) was headed by Divine (Miss Universe) Duque, Chenee (Nervous) Hernandez, supported by the ever super-hyper Dominic (Doms) Tagayum. All the students were pumped up with adrenaline yet paled with fear and anxiety knowing this was the most prestigious culinary event of events! Chenee even wore her whites inside out that she could not button her jacket!

As early as the first week of August, I selected my pasta team headed by ladies man Jessie (Chick boy) Paredes and the petite and cute Bea (Speedy) Yenko. They practiced 6 days a week, 10-12 hours a day. They concocted and tested recipes like Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde create a winning formula. I shared Bea and Jessie’s fatigue, frustrations and triumphs. Uncertainty had prevailed upon us indeed.

The chef judges, some of them my co judges of previous culinary events, started arriving at PTTC mostly in their immaculate whites, adorned by colorful embroidered logos of their names and establishment. We exchanged the usual pleasantries. Clearly, it dawned on me that I was not a judge of this event. My guts started to tighten like a deadly embrace of an Anaconda.

By midday, we received the disheartening news that we did not make it in the Filipino dessert category. Most of the judges were expats. How in the world could whitey's judge a filipino educated guess is MAMARU! If these chef whiteys were competent at what they did, then what the hell are they doing in our country? Why not in theirs? Go figure...

We drew the slots for our pasta team landing at batch 4 which would start at around 5-6pm. I immediately knew we were in trouble. We even went to the extent of bringing the ingredients of our pasta back to the van and kept the air condition running.

The pasta category kicked off late at 2:30 and I was worried sick that by the time it was our turn to compete, the judges palate were fatigued.

The contestants were given 15 minutes for mis en place, 30 minutes to cook and plate for 5 servings and 10 minutes to clean up. The tandem of Bea and Jessie worked fast and furious as soon as the marshals gave the go signal. I was awed by their precision of movement like poetry in motion that they finished mis en place, cooking and plating, and cleaning up in 30 minutes flat.

We waited in anticipation well into the following evening and I impulsively wanted to chew on coffee beans. Uncertainty, anxiety and sleepless nights engrossed me before the announcement. Then it just happened, I heard the familiar school’s name “Silver goes to O.B. Montessori!”

It was only then that I experienced what it was like to be from the other side of the fence.

Currently, I am confident with my students at UST ITHM HRM! You share with them everything there is to know, train them endlessly and hope that all the skills KICK IN during culinary competition crunch time.

So far, I am tickled pink with the results.



Once again the UST ITHM-HRM students garnered honors from the recently held Manila Food and Beverage Expo (MAFBEX). The event was held last June 18 -22. Considering that the budget came from the students’ pockets, they managed to come up with wining entries with very nil resources. Just imagine if it had a full backing of financing…

Conceptualization and planning for the competition started as early as mid May last summer. Practice for the Cake Deco team started 2 weeks before classes started. The Table Setting Team and Culinary Team started practice a week before the competition.


THEME: Beijing Olympics 2008

Melissa Jane Binuya 4H4

Maebelle Tadeo 4H4

Ralph Irvin Aldover 4H4


Michael Noe Anastacio 4H4

COACH – Cocinero

Chef Instructor–in-Charge/ Food Laboratory Coordinator


THEME: Beijin Olympics 2008

Mayla Abeleda 4H5

Margarita Cruz 4H5

Kashmir Pabla 4H5

Joyce San Juan 4H5

Marvin Soriano 4H5


Karez Dinamarca 4H5

Ida Karmela Doloiras 4H5

Kamila Fernandez 4H5

Maureen Flores 4H5

COACH –Cocinero

Chef Instructor–in-Charge/ Food Laboratory Coordinator



Kehnalin Balabbo 4H5

Monica Salalila 4H5

COACH – Cocinero

Chef Instructor–in-Charge/ Food Laboratory Coordinator

Competition Coordinators:

Margarita Cruz 4H5

Assisted by Kashmir Pabla 4H5