SM City Iloilo and SM Supermarket on Sunday hosted the very first “Ultimate Chef Showdown” in Iloilo, as it pit budding Ilonggo chefs in a competition for culinary supremacy.

Chef Raul Ramos joins the competing cooks as they scout for the ingredients they’ll be using at SM Supermarket. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN
The young cooks were given free rein to choose from ingredients available at SM Supermarket’s sprawling grocery inventory for their dishes. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

The showdown saw two batches of five competing chef duos duking it out for the ultimate prize. The young chefs were given free rein to choose from ingredients available at SM Supermarket’s sprawling grocery inventory and an hour to cook and prepare a main dish and dessert worthy of the consideration of celebrity chef-judges Ilonggo Tibong Jardeleza and elite gourmand chef Myrna Segismundo, among others.

Some of the mango and chicken dishes prepared by the young chefs during the “Ultimate Chef Showdown” at SM City Iloilo. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

The other judges were chef Vance Bolivar of Park Inn by Radisson and chef Raul Ramos of Kulinarya fame. However, Segismundo and the other chef-judges added a twist to heat up the competition even more: the contending young cooks had to incorporate chicken and mangoes into their dishes.

“Chicken and mango are very iconic and important ingredients in Iloilo,” explained Segismundo. “These two ingredients are two local Ilonggo products I consider very superior. Now whether our chefs choose to come up with something inspired by regional and native dishes, like inasal and mango float, or go for an approach more inspired by international cuisine, it’s up to them.”

“I’m excited see what they come up with using fresh ingredients from SM Supermarket,” she continued.

Among the delectable dishes the young chefs prepared were gourmet chicken sisig with mango mayonnaise, sous-vide deconstructed chicken inasal, and a bugnay poached mango paired with a queso de bola cheesecake, among others.

In the first batch of competing chefs, the pair of Oscar Salazar III and Achilles Capuso bagged first place, with John Paul Frias and Karl Jason Hibionada; and Jozza Anne Gonzaga and Eljohn Villasoto, in second and third place, respectively.

Meanwhile, in the second batch, Dave Morada and Nards John Gahisan emerged as the champions, while Jose Ariel Castaneda Jr. and Janet Grmenberg finished second, followed by Christian Herrera and Edward Nagrit at third.

Chef-judges Myrna Segismundo, Vance Bolivar, and Tibong Jardeleza begin their deliberation. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

SM Supermalls Vice President for Advertising Grace F. Magno said the event is part of the Department of Tourism and SM Supermalls’ “Malling is More Fun In The Philippines” campaign./PN


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