COTABATO CITY – Chieftains of the five “mock” Moro villages inside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) compound here competed in a cooking showdown dubbed as the “Pakaradjaan Master Chef-tain’.
With an hour to prepare a full-course meal for the judges and another hour to prepare a dish using a special item from a ‘mystery box’ as main ingredient, the chieftains brought out the best dishes their respective provinces could offer.
The event, which was launched Wednesday, is part of the year-long celebration of ARMM’s 29th anniversary.
For ARMM Executive Secretary and Basilan Village Chieftain Laisa Masuhud-Alamia, the competition goes beyond the question of who cooks better. It is also about mainstreaming the Bangsamoro cuisine, she said.
“Ang competition na ito ay hindi lang kung sino ang pinakamasarap magluto dahil dito sa competition na ito, shino-showcase namin ang kanya-kanyang cuisine ng bawat probinsya dahil karamihan sa mga niluto namin dito ay hindi lang sine-serve sa pang-araw araw kung hindi para din sa mga special occasions,” Alamia said.
ARMM Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Maguindanao Village Chieftain, Kahal Kedtag, said what they have prepared for the judges “are usually served on the tables of royalties.“
The competition’s judges are: Congresswoman Amihilda Sangcopan of Anak Mindanao Party-list; Professor Teresita Sanchez, former dean of the College of Hotel and Restaurant Management of Mindanao State University-Marawi; Professor Cecile Mambuay, a fellow of the Royal Institute of Hospitality Management in Singapore; Chef Datu Shariff Pendatun, corporate chef for Unilever Philippines; Chef Jose Sarasola, celebrity chef and actor from ABS-CBN; and celebrity chef Boy Logro.
Having the experience to travel around the world as a chef, tasting the local Bangsamoro delicacies impressed Logro. “Sa tagal ko nang umikot sa buong daigdig, ngayon lang ako nakatikim nito. Sana ma-introduce at mai-market ang mga ito sa buong Pilipinas,” he said.
Sarasola, a ‘big fan’ of turmeric as food ingredient, found the dishes served ‘amazing’. “When I heard that almost everything is turmeric-based, I knew that I would like it. True enough, sobrang win for me,” he said.
Bangsamoro food is known for its exotic spices, especially the use of turmeric in major dishes.
Being one of the Moro judges, Sangcopan was impressed with how the chieftains prepared their food. “Bilang isang Moro, alam ko ang pagkain ng Moro. Sigurado akong ang pagkain dito ay unique at kaya nating ipagmalaki sa buong mundo,” she said.
The criteria for judging are: taste/palatability (50%), creativity and technique (25%), and presentation (25%). Winners will be announced during the culmination program of the ARMM’s 29th anniversary in November. (Bureau of Public Information)
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