THE Kumbira 2015 opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on August 12, 2015 was a huge hit, with the Atrium of Limketkai Center packed to capacity.
The participants to the 19th edition of the longest running culinary show and live competitions were welcomed by Nelia Lee, president of Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association or Cohara.
Kumbira features competitions in various student and professional categories. Students are to compete in Buffet Table Setting, Artistic Bread Showpiece, Napkin Folding and Waiter’s Relay, and Flair Bartending. Professional chefs will compete in The Entremetier, Dessert Buffet, and The Main Course (with Ways With Coffee as the theme).
This year’s Kumbira is anchored on the theme “Let’s Talk Ingredients.”
“We want our participants to learn more about ingredients, which ingredients complement each other. With ingredients, you need to taste them and smell them as well. Traditional ways of cooking food are being broken with ingredients and spices used for meat are now being used for desserts, even ice cream. We want our participants to broaden their knowledge when it comes to ingredients,” said Lee. Kumbira is an annual culinary competition and showcase, and features anything to do with the hospitality industry—from food, ingredients, to cooking wares, hotels, and hospitality services.
This year, Kumbira also has several seminars lined up, including Espresso Science with Basic Latte Art by Rey Sumania, Optimizing Flavors by Chef Eugene Raymundo, Asian Spices by Chef See Cheong Yan, and Housekeeping 101 by Lindsey Leal of Uratex.
There are also 54 trade exhibits ranging from culinary institutes, hotels, furniture and home decors, chefs clothing, and food companies.
Richel Pitoyo, a student taking BS Tourism Technology at Caraga State University, Cabadbaran Campus, said, “I hope to learn a lot of things from participating, new and innovative skills, new experiments, that I can apply in my course.”
Emerald Ocales from ABCCA added: “Naga expect ko nga daghan live show related sa akong course pareho sa napkin folding styles ug food and beverage services.”
There are 31 schools participating with representatives coming from as far as Zamboanga City and Surigao City. Aside from the professional and student categories, there will also be 14 schools which are participating in the kiddie and junior categories.
The events are to be judged by prominent culinary experts, chefs, and restaurant owners including Chef Jean-Pierre Migne, Chef Sandy Daza, and food writer Micky Makabenta.
Michael Kean Formento from STI Iligan and his coach, Teacher Loysa Nueve, are excited to know who will come out on top for the various student categories especially in the Table Buffet Setting where Michael competed.
“Enjoy ug amazed kaayo ko kay karon pa ko kita ug mga table set up na ingon ani pati bread showcase. Feel nako daug ko kay nag brainstorm mi sa akong partner para sa theme na Modern Filipino.” Everyone is looking forward to the Chef Wars on August 13.
Kumbira 2015 opened on August 12 and will end today, August 14.
Kumbira Day 2: It’s all about coconuts
Richmond Anthony Alfonso
STUDENTS and professionals alike geared up for probably the most intense cooking clashes during Kumbira 2015, the Chef Wars.
Held during the second day of the festivities, August 13, 2015, this was the first time that the Chef Wars was battled out by students and professionals in the same playing field.
“Before, there was a Student Category and a Professional Category,” said Nollie Arguelles, executive secretary of Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association (Cohara) and this year’s Kumbira Secretariat.
“This is the first time that it’s a mixed category and this time, instead of two, there will be only one team representing Mindanao in the national competition.” Only one of the eight teams will emerge unscathed and will be given the opportunity to represent Mindanao in the national competition of Chef Wars on October 4, 2015 at Maya Kitchen Culinary Arts Center in Makati City.
Five judges, Chef Norbert Gandler, Chef See Cheong Yan, Chef Jill Sandique, Chef Myrna Segismundo, Chef Jean Pierre Migne, and Chef Stefan Langenhan, will have the tough task of picking a winner, to be announced during the closing ceremonies today, August 14.
This team will need to steel themselves up against three other teams representing the National Capital Region (NCR), Luzon, and Visayas for the national title.
Sticking to the Kumbira 2015 theme of Let’s Talk Ingredients, all eight teams were told a month before the event of three possible ingredients that needed to be highlighted in their food: calamansi, bagoong, and coconut cream or gata.
They were then advised a week before the cooking skirmish of the ingredient that needed to be the focus of their dishes.
With a cover version of Da Coconut Nut by Smokey Mountain on repeat, the audience and participants of the 19th edition of the longest running culinary show and live competitions in the Philippines knew without any doubt what that ingredient is.
The gladiators competing for this year’s Chef Wars represent Iligan Computer Institute, Tagoloan Community College, Limketkai Luxe Hotel, Culinary Institute of CDO, University of Southern Philippines-Kidapawan, The VIP Hotel, Mindanao University of Science and Technology, and Monster Kitchen Academy.
Each team is given two hours, including plating, to prepare three coconut cream-based dishes using only Filipino native ingredients that would highlight gata.
Lerna Caterial, coach for the Tagoloan Community College team, said, “Nag expect jud ko nga mudaog kay among i-defend among crown.”
The team from her school was overall champion in the Student Division in 2014. Jessie Jurilla, a member of the TCC team, said of competing against professionals, “Pressure kaayo kay naa na sila’y ideas ug experience, kami kay wala pa. Wala man ko nag expect na mudaog but nag apil mi para sa experience ug sa knowledge na ma gain.”
Aside from Chef Wars, other high points of the second day included Kiddie Pastry and Desert, where kids from six different elementary school competed, and the crowd favorite – Flair Bartending Tandem.