BY NOW, the Sabor Bisaya would have been a most awaited even in the food industry. On its 5th run this year, Sabor is held every two years and is one of the local events that never fail to stir up interest among culinary students and professionals.
Organized by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Negros Occidental (Hrano), 26 categories were created to test the creativity, flair, originality, and poise of the participants.
These categories were : Filipino Carver, Napkin Folding, Plated Dessert, Table Setting, Dips & Chips, Creative Cake Décor, The Soup Kitchen, Dessert Flambe, Coffee Concoction, Main Course, Amuse Bouche, Happy Hour, The Apprentice, Mocktail Mixing, Cocktail Mixing, Flair Tending, Baby Cakes, Petits Fours, Wedding Cakes, Ultimate Chocolate Cake, Divine Chocolate Cake, Cookie Jar, Pralines, Klasika Kulinarya, Modern Chef, and the Chefs War.
The esteemed judges who decided the delectable fates of the contestants were Chefs Martin Kaspar, Jean Pierre Migne, Gina Navarro, Chong Yan See, Jill Sandique, Raul Ramos, Myrna Segismundo, Sandy Daza, Penk Tan, Emmanuel “Manny” Torrejon, and Raoul Roberto “Robbie” Goco. These are big names in the cooking profession that can make a seasoned contestant quake in his toque.
However, for a winner, it is an honor to undergo such rigid and thorough inspection of his final product.
The winners’ list is rather long. The most notable detail for this year’s Sabor is that, for the first time, the Grand National Chef Wars was held outside Metro Manila.
For the Professional Division, Baguio Country Club for the Silver (High), Limketkai Luxe Hotel had Silver (Low), and La Consolacion College (Bronze), the three representing Luzon, Mindanao and Visayas. The Student Division winners were Enderun Colleges (Gold–High) for Luzon, St. Therese–MTC (Gold–Low) for the Visayas, and Lourdes College (Bronze) for Mindanao.
The air at the SMX Convention Center was electric as the participants vied for the top spots of each category. One could slice through the tension with a blunt kitchen knife. It was that exciting!
When Hrano was organized almost 50 years ago, the original members wouldn’t have thought that it will come a long way.
The original members were Conchita Cuenca, Cesar Noble, Rex Remitio, Rene Espiritu, Angie Echauz, and Oscar “Dodong” Bascon. The last two are still around mentoring the younger set of restaurateurs.
The original set would be joined by about 19 more members. Some have gone on to the kitchen in the sky and have been replaced by the current equally dynamic movers and shakers of the local hotel and restaurant scene.
For a job well done, congratulations to Hrano!