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Battle of the Toque

First Posted 10:33:00 08/16/2008

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THE BIENNIAL event ?Cebu Goes Culinary?, touted as the most prestigious and much awaited culinary competition in Cebu and the Visayas Region, was held once again by the Hotel, Resort & Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC). Last July 11 and 12, the Atlantic Hall of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino accommodated at least 450 participants, both professional and student category to compete in 33 categories (Display Class and Live Cooking), witnessed by

hundreds of guests and spectators. It was the biggest so far since its inception in the late eighties.

The culinary competition involves careful planning, preparation and drawing out the best in terms of creativity and skills. The Executive Chefs of each establishment

become the trainers and mentors of their kitchen staff since they are not allowed to compete. It is, therefore, a perfect opportunity for the

junior chefs and kitchen staff to show their talent and sharpen their competitive abilities.

The Display Class/Category as the name implies is a display of prepared items that are exhibited during the competition. This includes Cold Buffet and Plated Appetizers, Cold Platter Dessert, Pralines, three-tier Wedding cake, Creative Cakes, Butter Carving Showpiece, Chocolate Showpiece, Table Setting and more. The Live Competition Categories are action-packed were where the participants show their talent and skills amidst a cheering and enthusiastic crowd: the Market Basket (similar to the famous TV show Iron Chef where a secret ingredient is given only during the competition), Dream Team Challenge where a team of waiter, bartender and chef de partie prepares a trendy casual dining experience, Cooking with Tea, Spa Cuisine, Fruit & Vegetable Carving, Ice Carving, Cocktail Mixing, Battle of

the Barrista (coffee making), to name the exciting ones.

No less than 14 accomplished and renowned chefs/culinarians from Manila and another 10 prominent

local food and beverage personalities from Cebu were

invited as judges. All the participants will fight for gold with distinction, gold, silver and bronze medals. And the establishment that wins the most number of gold will qualify to win the coveted prize -- the Battle of the Toque (chef?s hat) or the Overall Champion.

The culinary competition was closely contested between Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino (WCCHC) and Shangri-La?s Mactan Resort & Spa. In fact, Waterfront won the Battle of the Toque only by a hairline. While both establishments won six gold medals each, Waterfront romped away with the honor by winning

one Gold with Distinction (table setting showpiece).

WCCHC?s entries in the Display class figured prominently in the competition and won several medals. And basking in the glory of the victorious team is Pastry Chef Gabriel ?Gabby? Garcia. His team

excelled and brought home three gold medals for Pralines, three-tier Wedding Cake and Creative Cakes. Nobody won the gold for Chocolate Showpiece but WCCHC took home the silver medal. And Chef Gabby is quick to credit

his able Kitchen Artists, namely: Benjie Llanas, Eduardo

Natividad and April Arcenal.

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