Not just a culinary showdownBy EV Espiritu
Inquirer Northern Luzon
BAGUIO CITY—The annual Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Weekend of the summer capital’s service industry has been developing skills, and even new products, that offer potential business opportunities for aspiring chefs, hotel managers and entrepreneurs.
On its 9th staging, the HRT Weekend on Sept. 6-8 introduced many of the competitors to “kini-ing,” smoked meat produced by the Kankanaey of Benguet, which was among the dishes judged by food experts, says chef Raul Ramos, operations director of Restaurant 9501, and a judge in one of the competitions.
Ramos says the Cordilleran version of the smoked ham would spice up the flavor of restaurant meals and attract international clients.
“Kini-ing” is meat set aside during ritual feasts. It is salted and wrapped in guava leaves, boiled and smoked. It is stored in a jar for two months before it is served.
Interesting discoveries in the food competition or the fruit and ice sculptures of many potential chefs and restaurant workers and students from northern Luzon keep the HRT Weekend relevant, according to its organizers. The event, billed as “the largest and most credible culinary showdown in the North,” was staged by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio (HRAB).
“The participating students from northern and central Luzon are highly competitive and their skills and performances reveal they could match the professionalism and expertise of hotel and restaurant workers in the country and abroad,” Ramos says.
Some of them carved table décor out of fruits and vegetables, while others chiseled blocks of ice to create swans and other figures.
Erika Geane, a sophomore hotel and restaurant management student of Wesleyan University-Philippines in Cabanatuan City, bested other students in dessert preparation using the flambé technique. She was one of 40 students from her school who joined the annual event here.
Since the event was staged in 2004, organizers say they have “showcased the talent, skills and abilities of the hospitality providers of Baguio City.”
They say the past HRT Weekends produced, among other things, the 1.2-km “longest raisin bread” (2004), the 10-foot “ice castle” (2005), the 24 feet diameter, three layered “largest wedding cake” (2007), and the 25 feet diameter “largest pizza” (2009). They twice paraded the “longest Baguio original longganisa” (4.5 km in 2006 and 6.2 km in 2009). With a report from Vincent Cabreza
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