Food from Cebu towns, cooking battle at the Capitol

Eleven Cebu towns vying for cooking glory clashed last 18 to 19 at the Cebu Provincial Capitol for the 2017 “Eats Meets West”, an annual cooking event organized by the Provincial Government through the Provincial Tourism Office.

Eats Meets West is the output of the Cebu Community-based Ecotourism Project of the Provincial Government that was started in 2015. It was intended to help develop authenticity and pride of place highlighting the value of local cuisine

The grand opening took place on November 16 in Tuburan town, which showcased its homegrown coffee.

On November 17, a whole-day “Food Forum” was held at the Capitol Social Hall, with seven experts taking on topics like the ancient diets of Cebuanos, what Cebuano cooking really is, healing with food, organic farming, and design for food. The speakers were Dr. Ame Garong of the National Museum, Mike “Chef Tatung” Sarthou, Teresa Ruelas, Eleonor Rivera, Vince Cinches, Cristino Villamor, and Manila’s Ige Ramos. The forum, which was open to the public, was attended by 265 guests.

The “Food Festival” also started on the same day, November 17, with different stalls located at the back of the main Capitol building offering different foods from several Cebu towns. The 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. food festival lasted up to November 19.

The culinary competition took take place in the next two days, or on November 18-19, with the towns competing for the honor to be adjudged as having the best appetizer, welcome drink, dessert, main course, welcome lei, pasalubong, table set-up, and packaging.

The towns also competed to come up with the “best interpretation” of a Cebuano recipe from a 1923 cookbook of Maria “Señora Inday” Fadullon Rallos.

One special highlight of the event was the cooking demo by Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, who prepared her version of the leche flan.

She said the dessert holds a special place in her heart as it was the dessert she prepared for her husband right after their honeymoon .

Her tip on how to come up with the best leche flan? “Always, you put love into your cooking,” she said.