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As part of the October series of events to mark the commemoration of  Filipino American History Month,  the Philippine Consulate General and its attached agencies, the  Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine National Police, together with members of the Filipino American community represented by the Filipino American Arts Exhibition   held the 2011 semi-finals of Kulinarya : Filipino Cooking Showdown, Saturday, 24 October 2011 at the Filipino-owned  Season’s Mall in the Bay area city of Milpitas, California.


L. photo : partial view of the Season’s mall and the entry to the cooking competition venue. Middle and right  photos show  partial views of the interior of the competition venue at the Filipino owned  Season’s Mall in the Silicon Valley area of Milpitas, California. 

Similar to last year’s event, the 2011 semi-final competition was held to chose three contestants each for  the  two divisions of the competition, the amateur and the professional division to  vie for the finals  to be held in December 2011. 

Both the amateur and professional contestants  were required to cook any one of the following traditional style Filipino dishes Kare-Kare, Escabeche, Caldereta, Menudo, Afritada, Pochero and Sisig or any other popular Filipino dish approved by the Steering Committee.   Distinct from the finals during which contestants will be asked  to cook on-site various dishes, the semi-finals  required contestants  to pre-cook their choice of one dish  but had them warmed, plated and presented at the competition site. 


The three chosen amateur contestants chosen to compete in the finals competition seen here plating their dishes. The two contestants from the left and middle photo prepared Kare-Kare while the contestant at the right photo prepared  beef  afritada.

Two of the  three chosen amateur finalists  cooked their own versions of Kare-Kare, and  one a Beef Afritada, while the three chosen finalist  from the professional division  chose Kare-Kare, Pochero, and Chicken Afritada.  

Photos showing the three Professional division  contestants who got chosen to compete in the finals in December  while preparing their dishes for presentation to the judges.  For the semi-finals, the dishes were allowed to be cooked off-site but were warmed, plated and presented at the actual venue of the competition.

All the three amateur contestants were essentially  foodies who did cooking as a hobby for their family or friends. Two of the professional contestants where chefs while one was a sous chef,   all working at known restaurants in San Francisco.


Photos left and right show some of the beautifully presented dishes during the competition. Center photo shows the display table where all samples of the finished plate by all the contestants were displayed.

Highlight of the semi-finals  competition was the presentation by each contestant of their dishes that made mention of the competition-required use of at least two Filipino  household food ingredient brands as well as the Philippine inspiration / influence on their dishes by the provenance of the recipe, the ingredients,  or plating style/material that highlights a destination in the Philippines or  as a dish recipe that has been handed down through the family.

A special   feature to this year’s competition is the campaign to promote  the  Philippine Pili Nut which the Philippines is now introducing and promoting to the American market.   During the semi-finals competition a presentation on the Philippine Pili nut industry, and the versatility in its various uses was made by the Department of Trade and Industry office in San Francisco. A special exhibit of the processed and packaged Pili nut products was showcased together with samplings of the product.   During the finals a special category and competition for a dish  prepared using the Pili nut will be added and given a special award.

The finals of the 2011 Kulinarya competition is scheduled for December 4, 2011 during which the semi-finalists/contestants will be required to cook  on-site three Philippine cuisine inspired  dishes -  an entrée or appetizer,  a main dish and a dessert.   For the Finals only one winner will be chosen for each division.


Left Photo shows consul General Paynor and Mayor Jose Esteves of Milpitas presenting Certificates of Appreciation to the Judges and the contestants. Middle Photo shows the 5 member panel of judges which included chefs, culinary instructors, hotelier and foodies. Right photo shows a group picture of the judges, contestants and the organizing committee together with Consul General Paynor and Mayor Esteves.

This year’s competition continues  the  mission and vision set in 2010 when the competition was first conceptualized and held  which is  to heighten the awareness and deepen the appreciation to the  Filipino American community, particularly the younger generations, and to the  mainstream American public,  the rich culinary heritage of the Philippines. It also aims to promote an  appreciation of Philippine cuisine  through the offerings  of  various Filipino restaurants in the Bay area,   and to widen the knowledge and further the usage of Filipino food ingredients  made available by different Filipino food suppliers. Lastly, it also seeks to  identify the Philippines as a stellar destination in the culinary world exemplified by the Kulinarya tour destinations being promoted by the Department of Tourism. END