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Photo caption:  The Steering Committee of the Kulinarya Semi Finals Competition pose for an official photograph at the Soma Room, Metreon, Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Shown in the photo with personnel of the Department of Tourism and Deparment of Trade and Industry are Tourism Director Rene de los Santos and Ms. Sonia Delen, Executive Vice President of Bank of America.


San Francisco, California – The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco successfully concluded last Saturday, 15 August 2010, the Semi-Finals Competition of Kulinarya: A Filipino Culinary Showndown held at the Soma Room of the Metreon inside the Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco.


The culinary competition was one of the events organized by the Philippine Consulate General in conjunction with the annual Pistahan Parade and Festival. It is also part of the efforts of the Consulate through the Department of Tourism, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Foreign Affairs to actively work with the Bay Area Filipino American community in promoting Philippine cuisine and Philippine food products and bring it to the forefront of American mainstream.


Photo caption:  Mrs. Teresita B. Paynor and other judges during the semi-finals competition of the Kulinarya hled at the Metreon in San Francisco.



Mrs. Teresita B. Paynor, wife of Philippine Consul General to San Francisco Marciano A. Paynor, Jr. led the panel of judges composed of Ms. Lenni Di Carlo, owner of Philippine Sea Salts; Ms. Ging Reyes, ABS CBN News Bureau Chief, The Filipino Channel – North America; Executive Chef Kelly Degala of Va de Vi in Walnut Creek; Executive Chef Thomas Weibull of Swell; Mr. Jun Belen of Food Blogger and Photographer, and Ms. Cindy Mendoza, President of the Asian Culinary Forum.


The Board of Judges tasted the entries of six (6) contestants each from the Amateur and Professional divisions. The contestants were earlier asked to choose a dish to prepare  based on a  list of Filipino dishes listed by the Committee.  The contestants also had to answer queries from the judges during the presentation of their cuisine. Participants in the Amateur Division included Ms. Edith Borbon (Pochero); Mr. Nathan Camba (Escabeche); Ms. Fe De Los Reyes (Pochero); Mr. Clemente Escopete (Caldereta); Ms. Edna Murray (Caldereta); and Ms. Ailleen Suzara (Kare-Kare). Contestants in the Professional Division included Ms. Dominic Alriza (Kare-kare); Ms. Lydia De La Cruz (Pochero); Mr. Edgar Grajo (Escabeche); Mr. Tim Luym (Caldereta); Ms. Kristela Mendoza (Sisig); and Mr. Cocoy Ventura (Kaldereta).


Mr. Nathan Camba, Mr. Clemente Escopete, and Ms. Aileen Suzara were declared winners among the amateur contestants while Mr. Edgar Grajo, Ms. Kristela Mendoza, and Mr. Cocoy Ventura won in the professional division.


Deputy Consul General Wilfredo Santos addresses the audience.

In his closing remarks during the program, Deputy Consul General Wilfredo Santos commended the members of the Steering Committee of Kulinarya particularly Ms. Sonia Delen of Bank of America and the contestants in the semi-finals competition for contributing to the efforts to raise awareness and appreciation of Philippine cuisine.   


“While today is certainly the conclusion of a very successful competition among our talented contestants from both the professional and amateur culinary fields, it also marks the continuance of a concerted effort by the Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco, the Bay Area Filipino American community, our partners, sponsors and friends to promote our world-class Filipino cuisine,” he said.



DCG Santos also remarked on the direct connection between cuisine and country destination. “I strongly believe – as do all the other officers in the Philippine Consulate General – that if we are successful in promoting our cuisine, we will also succeed in bringing in more tourists. Increasing awareness and appreciation for our cuisine will put the Philippines in the world culinary map and lead people to gain a better understanding of our country. This is how other nations have built up their tourism industries – by aggressively promoting their cuisine as a vehicle to bring in more tourists, resulting in greater investments, boosting business, and creating more jobs back home,” he added.


            The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco plans to hold the Finals Competition of Kulinarya on October 24 when the winners of the semi final round will compete once more. This time the event will be held as part of the celebration of Filipino American History Month in the United States. END