Issue of November 4, 2018

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Search for dish that will define LT cuisine begins
by Ofelia C. Empian

Amateur cooks from the valley of strawberries are challenged to take part of La Trinidad, Benguet’s first ever cook-off in December.

The cooks will have to showcase the town’s raw materials in making the dish during the event dubbed as “Kekkan: “A Taste of La Trinidad” Food and Music Festival from Dec. 12 to 16 at the parking lot in Km. 5.

Municipal Tourism Officer Valred Olsim said the event, in partnership with a private institution, aims to come up with a unique food that would eventually be identified with the municipality.

“This food is envisioned to be sought after by tourists here like Vigan’s empanada, or Malabon or Laguna’s pancit. Kasla added value to tourist experience gamin nu ada to maysa dish nga bisitaen da,” Olsim said.

Event organizer Kurt Sebio of Gawis Events said the event was born out of his experience that most of the tourists he encountered would often ask for the town’s unique food.

He said the five-day event will have the cook-off as its highlight, having two categories: the main dish competition and the making of a dessert competition.

Sebio said all the contestants must be amateur cooks, meaning they must not be a professional chef and must not own or be engaged in food business that is licensed or accredited by a local government agency.

“For clarity, amateur contestants may not be employed in any restaurant as a chef, line cook, or any capacity; however, he/she may be engaged in catering as a hobby only and not the primary source of income,” he said.

He said the entrée recipe should be an original recipe, featuring the local raw materials that can be found in La Trinidad. Contestants are required to submit the recipe of their entry dish.

Prizes await winners of the cook-off. For the main dish competition, the champion will receive P20,000  cash while the first runner-up will bring home P10,000 and the second runner-up will get P7,000.

Winners for the dessert competition will bring home P15,000 while the first runner-up will get P7,000 and the second runner-up, P5,000. Top winners will get trophies and certificates.

All contestants will receive a certificate of appreciation from Gawis Events and the Municipal Tourism Office of La Trinidad, its partners, and event sponsors.

The winning entries will be promoted around the town as well.

Olsim said they are also planning to pass a legislation that would carry the winning dishes as a unique dish of La Trinidad and to make the event an annual activity in the municipality.

Sebio said they will include a professional category in the future.

Aside from the cooking competition, Sebio said there will be stalls showcasing local entrepreneurs with their own food products as well as non-food items as long as it is locally made.
Local bands will be playing at the venue as well.

“At first we thought of doing a food festival only but music goes along well with food so we will be putting up a performance stage for local musicians,” Sebio said.

The organizers are also inviting interested local entrepreneurs who would want to partner with them during the food and music festival. There would be around 50 to 60 tents to be installed in the venue.

For inquiries contact 0966-369-0014 or 0917-502-5395 and look for Alma Domingi, Gawis Events secretariat.

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Northern Luzon School for the Visually Impaired, Inc.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Montessori, Inc.
Philex Mining Corporation
Police Regional Office – CAR
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