MORE than 15,000 guests are expected to witness live cooking competitions as the annual "Kumbira" starts Wednesday at the Atrium of LimKetKai Center.

Around 500 participants from different hotels and schools in the country will take part in the culinary competitions.

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The three-day Kumbira is an annual culinary show and live competitions organized by the Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association (Cohara).

Joanna Cris Yu, Cohara president, said participants of the competition come from the cities of Butuan, Iligan, Pagadian, Cotabato, Davao City, General Santos, Claveria in Misamis Oriental, and from as far as Samar.

"We have even participants from Manila," she said.

Kumbira features various food and beverage competitions, cooking demonstrations by experts in the food industry, and trade exhibits on hotel and restaurant equipment, supplies and services.

It aims to promote healthy competition and camaraderie among the different hotels and restaurants, schools that offer hotel and restaurant management courses as well as elevating the standards of the culinary industry in the region.

Now on its 14th year, Kumbira would again highlight the Mindanao Chef Wars, a regional competition for professional and student teams to represent Mindanao in the Chef Wars National Competition during the "Food Showdown 2010" in Manila on September 10 to 11, 2010.

The Food Showdown 2010 is a production of TV Food Chefs, a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation. (Loui S. Maliza)