Students of San Policarpo National High School (SPNHS) in this city again bagged the top place during the 6th Annual Tinapa Cooking Festival.
The winning team composed of Grade 12 students bested fourteen other participants in the annual cooking competition held Saturday at the Calbayog City Convention Center, featuring as main ingredient the tinapa (smoked fish), which is a popular culinary product of this locality.
The group cooked tinapa ter sa gata (coconut milk), served with sliced banana, fresh ternate flower and “latik”, a by-product of cooking shredded coconut meat used as garnishing in a variety of desserts.
“I am pressured because we need to do our best next year to make sure that our school will win again,” said Divina Sumayan, SPNHS technology and livelihood education teacher and coach of the winning team.
She said they only had less than two days to prepare since they had to find new team members because of conflict in schedules of the other students.
Teaching students how to cook the dish was easy because they all know how to work in the kitchen, according to Sumayan.
As for the dish that they prepared, Sumayan said she always prepares it for her family and they only made some enhancement to improve the taste as their entry to the contest.
One of the judges, Via Mare Restaurant owner Glenda Barreto, said the ingredients and presentation of the winning dish complement with each other and do not overpower the taste of tinapa.
“Ingredients must enhance, not cover the taste of tinapa. Our tinapa is very tasty and is of good quality, but sometimes is overpowered by the sauce that you do. So make sure that your sauce complements and it should enhance and not overcome your main ingredients,” Barreto told the contestants.
She observed that competitors this year have a high level of preparation, but some have a problem in the texture of their dish.
Aside from SPNHS, other winners are STI Calbayog for its Spicy Tinapa Sisig Shawarma (2nd place) and Calbayog City National High School for its Ginataang Tinapa sa Basi (3rd place).
The dishes were judged based on taste, texture and appearance, creative use of tinapa, presentation, and ‘mise en place’ (French term for having all your ingredients measured, cut, peeled, sliced, grated, among others, before you start cooking).
Calbayog tourism officer Ronald Ricafort, Jr. shared that next year, the competition will be much bigger with the addition of new categories, such as teachers and professionals.
“Hopefully, we can come up with a book compilation of recipes especially the winning recipe of the competition,” Ricafort said. (PNA)