Ilonggos have distinct taste when it comes to the food served in front of them. They are very meticulous of the taste and have their own version of what “namit” is or delicious dish should be. Some even say that Ilonggos are one of the finest cooks in the country.
For the past three years, Iloilo’s very own Chef Rafael ‘Tibong’ Jardeleza II organizes Tabu-an: Western Visayas Ilonggo Heritage Cuisine Cooking Competition and Food Fair. The competition showcases Ilonggo vibe and competing teams are required to cook for a 200 dinner crowd.
Judges of the competition are from Manila and this year, another from Cebu was added to the board. Also, the competition was graced by the celebrity chef Pablo “Boy” Logro, which performed a live cooking demonstration and sat as a member of the board of judges on the first day of the competition.
Seven (7) teams vie for the culinary preeminence this year: Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus (CSCJ); Hercor College of Roxas, Capiz; Kryz Culinary Arts and Restaurant Services Institute Inc. (KCARSI); University of St. La Salle of Bacolod (USLS); Western Institute of Technology (WIT); Happy Kitchen; and Barangay Nutrition Scholars of Sta. Barbara, Iloilo. On the other hand, the board of judges were Ms. Micky, Raff Zulueta, Dolly Dy-Zulueta, Chef Myke ‘Tatung’ Sarthou, Guillermo ‘Ige’ Ramos (food columnist of Bandera and book designer), Evangeline ‘Vangie’ Baga-Reyes (senior lifestyle reporter of Inquirer), Felice Sta. Maria (food historian and cultural maven), Niño Angelo Comsti (cookbook author), Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi (food columnist, Philippine Star) and Boboi Costas (Cebu’s travel writer) with special appearance from Chef Boy Logro.
Each team prepared three dishes – an appetizer, a main course and a dessert, which adhere to the Ilonggo heritage cooking theme. The finale of the competition was a buffet dinner after formal awarding ceremony, where the dining crowd chose the winners for the Diner’s Choice Award.
To change the way the competition goes, this year, each of the three dishes are cooked each day instead of cooking them all in one day. Dessert competition was held on the first day while appetizer and main course were cooked on the second day.
Tents were set up for each team and after the cooking demo Chef Boy performed, he checked each of the
competing team, taste the food and write down all his observations.
WIT of Iloilo City brought home the award for the Best in Table Setting followed by CSCJ and Hercor College of Roxas, Capiz. Hercor College of Roxas, Capiz won the Best Appetizer followed by WIT and USLS. Hercor College also dominated the Best Main Course category followed by WIT and USLS. CSCJ took the first place for Best in Dessert followed by Barangay Nutrition Scholars of Staa. Barbara and KCARSI.
Diner’s Choice Award goes to Hercor College followed by WIT and USLS. WIT outshines other competing teams as they emerge overall champion after the grand total of scores were deliberated, putting Hercor College on the second spot and Happy Kitchen on the third spot.
Tabu-an organizers and members of the board of Judges did a feeding program for the victims of the super typhoon in Concepcion, Iloilo after the competition.
The event was sponsored by Lagaw Sa Isla Tours and Travel, Inc., a travel agency that specializes in experiential tourism.IMT