21 Aug University of Southern Mindanao and Liceo de Cagayan University topped the Ajinomoto Umami Culinary Challenge – Mindanao
Last August 12-14, 2015, Ajinomoto Umami Culinary Challenge (UCC) – Mindanao became the highlight of the highly successful Kumbira Event, organized by Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association (COHARA) and co-presented by Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation, at the Atrium, Limketkai Mall in Cagayan de Oro City. The UCC is a nationwide interschool competition that aims to help students realize the delicious potential of umami, the 5th basic taste. Ajinomoto started conducting UCC in 2009, enlisting hundreds of schools and empowering thousands of students to COOK, CHOOSE and SERVE delicious and nourishing food, as embodied in Ajinomoto’s food brand slogan “Eat Well, Live Well.®”. The annual event continues to grow in size and coverage, gathering the most creative and innovative foodies, culinarians, professional and aspiring chefs in the Philippines. For this year’s Mindanao leg, UCC attracted 18 schools and 90 student-competitors from Northern Mindanao, Soccksargen, Zamboanga Peninsula and CARAGA.
University of Southern Mindanao (Kabacan, Cotabato) and Liceo de Cagayan University were named best contenders at UCC-Mindanao. Both schools will be Mindanao Region’s representatives in UCC’s National Cooking Showdown set in the year 2016.
University of Southern Mindanao impressed the judges with their Steamed Salmon with Crab Fat Sauce and Blanched Vegetables entry for the Best Filipino Umami Dish Competition Category. Liceo de Cagayan University created their signature dish Sinigang Panacotta for the My Own Umami Creation Competition Category. Others winning schools were Tagoloan Community College, Southern de Oro Philippines College and Mindanao University of Science and Technology. Top three (3) schools from the two (2) categories received the following prizes from Ajinomoto: gold medals and P10,000 for first place winners, silver medals and P8,000 for second place winners and bronze medals and P5,000 for third place winners.
Present during the event were Ms. Nancy Reyes-Lumen, UCC’s competition director, a well-known culinarian and author of award-winning cook books. The panel of judges included Food and Nutrition luminaries: Chef Sandy Daza, Chef Eugene Raymundo, Chef Stefan Langenhan, Chef Ed Tuazon, Mr. Jerome dela Fuente, Ms. Michaela Makabenta, Ms. Maricris Encarnacion and Dr. Celeste Tanchoco.
Apart from the cooking challenge, Ajinomoto also presented Healthy and Tasty with Umami Cooking Demonstration and Umami Conversations to educate people about umami and its role in health and nutrition. Umami, the scientifically recognized and proven 5th basic taste alongside sweet, sour, bitter and salty, was first identified and isolated by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda of Tokyo Imperial University in 1908.