The annual event was a big success in the foremost culinary competition for aspiring Filipino chefs dubbed as”the Ajinomoto 3rd Umami Culinary Challenge (3rd UCC): Battle for the Umami Bowl” last January 20, 2012 at the SMX Convention Center. There are thousands of visitors who attended. It features over 300 student-competitors from universities, colleges and culinary schools in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Renowned culinary greats graced the event as judges, speakers and cooking demonstrators as they give credence to the affair.
Food journalist, television host, culinary researcher, and Filipino food promoter, Ms. Nancy Reyes-Lumen, served as the UCC Competition Director for three (3) years. She said “The Umami Culinary Challenge (UCC) continues to be the “first base” for HRA and culinary school students in the field of cooking competitions. The UCC gives them the confidence and added skills they need to be globally competitive. Thus, the trend continues for UCC to combine the elements of fun and competitiveness with education and knowledge in umami. Win or lose, the participants walk away with a big smile and a healthy mind. All in all, the UCC was, is and will always be a big “malinamnam success!”
Ajinomoto Executives opened the program with a special recognition to Philippine Culinary Icon, Ms. Nora Daza, for her significant contributions in the Food Industry. Awarding Ceremony is the highlight of the whole day event hosted by Ms. Suzi Entrata-Abrera. The President of AJINOMOTO PHILIPPINES CORPORATION, Mr. Taro Fujie gave his welcome remarks to congratulate all participants. Popstar Ms. Sarah Geronimo delivers inspiration and motivation to all guests and participants with her memorable performance.
Umami Bowl Winner Miriam College with presenters (from left to right) Ajinomoto Director Mr. Takashi Sakurai, Ajinomoto President Mr. Taro Fujie, 3rd UCC Head Chef Russell Bautista, 3rd UCC Competition Director Ms. Nancy Reyes-Lumen, Judge and Cooking Demonstrator Chef Rosebud Benitez.
Cheers to Miriam College as they bagged the Umami Bowl Award for garnering the highest average score in major competition categories including the Umami Feature Writing Contest: Dr. Ikeda Award. They brought home an Elba Kitchen Showcase on top of other prizes courtesy of AJINOMOTO PHILIPPINES CORPORATION. The Umami Master title was awarded to Mr. John Paul Ventura of Jose Rizal University with his umami masterpiece which he named “Pan-Seared Salmon w/ Veggie Rolls and Micro Green Salad in Spicy Coconut Sauce”.
Other big winners:
- Lyceum of the Philippines Manila – topped the Umami Bento and Mystery Umami Ingredient categories
- Centro Escolar University- first place in the Amazing AJI-GINISA Race and the Umami Buzz Jeopardy Challenge
- Trinity University of Asia – first in the Prep, Shake and TakTakTak competition
- De La Salle Araneta University – won the Plate-My-Dish competition and Appetite Magazine’s Capture Umami Challenge (Food Photography Contest)
- College of the Holy Spirit – special award “Media’s Choice for Best Plated Umami Bento”.
The top three (3) culinary schools that competed for the 5-Ingredient-Umami-Healthy Dish competition are: Global City Innovative College, American Hospitality Academy and MOST Institute Culinary School.
All winners in the Ajinomoto 3rd Umami Culinary Challenge received cash prizes, medals and various cooking implements from Ajinomoto and valued event sponsors namely Elba, Whirlpool/Fujidenso, PR Gaz, Meat and Livestock Australia, Masflex and Appetite Magazine. Other event partners are GMA 7, Philippine Daily Inquirer and PR Moms Network.
Photo credit to Iris Acosta for PR Moms Network.