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