Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SM Super Chefs: A Flavor Cook-Off at SM Hypermarket

Filipinos are foodies at heart. Indeed, our love for food permeates the very fabric of our society – and more often than not, it is part of the glue that binds Filipino families together. This is shown when we invite people into our homes, or when we watch our mothers and aunts plan entire events around menus. Entire books have even been written about how much of our history is reflected in our favorite dishes.


Chef Deejay Santos shares his Adobo recipe


Chef Pau Sia shares his Menudo recipe

As a living testament to our country’s past cultural influences, our meals are a merry mix of Chinese, Spanish, and Western influences. Classic Filipino favorites such as Adobo, Menudo, and Kaldereta all draw inspiration, in one way or another, from our colorful past – yet the amalgamation of flavors which never fails to whet our appetites is unmistakably Filipino. Thus, every Filipino household has a favorite version of Adobo, Kaldereta and Menudo, with flavors ranging from sweet to salty and a mix of other ingredients such as green peas, tomatoes, and carrots, all of which make the dishes more enticing to the Filipino palate.

Luxury made affordable by SM Hypermarket
However, in as much as Filipinos love their food, the availability of fresh quality ingredients, coupled with escalating costs, make the preparation process quite frustrating. Surely, fresh beef and pork for Kaldereta, Menudo, and Adobo are non-negotiable staples much like quality collateral ingredients such as fresh potatoes or carrots. Apart from freshness, the ingredients should not only be luxurious in taste but should also be easy on the pocket.

Luckily, SM Hypermarket, one of the largest supermarket chains in the country, has taken it upon itself to make quality ingredients easily available to every Filipino, making it easier for homemakers as well as food establishments to bring genuinely delicious food to Filipinos everywhere. “If there’s anything a good cook knows, it’s that the best ingredients make for the best dishes. So in order to make these mouthwatering delicacies, the average cook has to find and purchase these ingredients at a reasonable price,” says Frances Crisol, SM Hypermarket's Senior Manager for Marketing Communications. “As such, at SM Hypermarket, we’ve made luxury affordable to our shoppers in order for more families to enjoy good food.”

Not your typical ‘talipapa’
“We’ve taken the beloved Filipino wet market and gave it a modern twist, but we don't sacrifice anything for the convenience of shopping in a clean, air-conditioned environment – both the quality of the goods and their affordability are the same as the ones found in your local wet markets. What’s more, we have quite a selection of products you can choose from. Aside from everyday ingredients, we also carry hard to find items such as fresh herbs and imported vegetables.”

In true wet market tradition, SM Hypermarket branches also offer “takal-takal” products, allowing shoppers to buy at preferred quantities and prices. If it’s large quantities a shopper needs, though, the store also offers Big Packs – bulk products such as meats, sauces and condiments at a very affordable price.

A revolutionary competition
Not content with just revolutionizing the way Filipinos shop, SM Hypermarket wants to invigorate the Filipino’s love for Pinoy food, as well.

In 2004, SM Hypermarket introduced SM Super Chefs, which began as a cooking demo featuring some of the nation’s best known celebrity chefs from whom shoppers picked up cooking tips on how to use the vast variety of the fresh ingredients available in SM Hypermarket. In 2009, the concept further evolved into a customer cook-off, where selected participants were able to shop for their quality ingredients at SM Hypermarket and cook them right there in a contest that challenged their creativity and their culinary skills.

This year, SM Super Chefs undergoes an ultimate makeover to make it even bigger, better, and more exciting! The competition will feature more challenging tests of the contestants’ culinary talents. Open to all cooking enthusiasts, from housewives to hobbyists to professional chefs, the competition will be held in several stages, with the elimination and final rounds being televised over the Asian Food Channel starting July 22, 2010 at 6:30 pm.

To participate, interested cooks only need to purchase P500 worth of groceries at SM Hypermarket, either single or accumulated purchase, that includes any product of the contest sponsors – Unilever Foodsolutions, Nestle, San Remo, Purefoods, Selecta, Kraft Miracle Whip, Cheez Whiz, Eden Cheese, Mccormick, Lee Kum Kee, Kikkoman soy sauce, Clara Olé, and San Miguel Foods.


Chefs Pau Sia, Deejay Santos and Tristan Encarnacion

Each participant will then be required to undergo a cooking audition per branch starting on June 15, 2010. The audition will require them to prepare one of the three favorite Filipino dishes – Adobo, Caldereta, and Menudo, and bring them to any of the 20 SM Hypermarket branch on specified dates.

There will be three winners of the audition chosen for each branch. These winners will then face off in live cooking challenges against the winners from other branches until only 12 participants remain. These twelve finalists will then compete in four more rounds.

The show will be hosted by celebrity chef Tristan Encarnacion, and will have the remaining cooks strive to please the discriminating palates of the panel of judges – restaurateur and chef Rolando Laudico, culinary school proprietor chef Reggie Aspiras, and broadcaster and food enthusiast Winnie Cordero.

The cook who bests all his or her competitors and claims the title of SM Super Chef will take home a P100,00 dream kitchen showcase, and go on a four-day all-expense-paid trip to Singapore for a culinary training.

For a copy of the sample recipes, click here:

Chef Pau Sia's Menudo recipe
Caren Bayon-Yrastorza's Kaldereta recipe
Chef Deejay Santos' Adobo recipe

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