Filipinos bag top 2 prizes in soy sauce cooking showdown in Japan
Two Japan-based Filipinos won the top two prizes in a recently concluded soy sauce cooking competition held in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Chef and entrepreneur Claire Ocampo tickled judges’ taste buds with her succulent “Pork back ribs adobo and banana with burned brown sugar,” earning her the top prize in the 8th Soy Sauce Recipe & Story Contest held on Sept. 30, a day before Japan celebrated “Soy Sauce Day,” Japan Times reported.
“Truly, the adobo has become our representative dish in the world that carries and embodies our food culture as a Filipino,” Ocampo told Inquirer via e-mail. “While Filipino cuisine is struggling to be recognized as at par with the world’s most famous cuisine, this small victory gives us hope that we can truly adapt to different food cultures while maintaining the essence of our own.”
This year, Ocampo opened her very own “Mimiclaire’s Kitchen Studio,” which aims to teach Filipino, French, Italian and Japanese cuisine to food-savvy tourists and students.
The second prize was bestowed on food photographer-stylist Justin de Jesus, who sautéed “Philippine beef steak, with a yuzu citrus and soy sauce flavor.” Both winners are residing in Saitama prefecture and have been “food buddies” for a long time. In fact, De Jesus and Ocampo teamed up to conduct food experimenting sessions and photo shoots to craft recipes for their food-blogging ventures.
The dynamic duo hopes to publish a cookbook or coffee-table book in the near future.
The competition was part of a series of activities organized by the Japan Soy Sauce Association. Overall, 75 non-Japanese contestants from France, the Philippines, Switzerland, the US, Indonesia and Brazil spruced up their soy sauce dishes last August. Out of the 75, 10 entrants were promoted for the final showdown held last month at Hattori Nutrition College in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, in which Ocampo and De Jesus trounced others with their mouth-watering Filipino dishes. Gianna Francesca Catolico