Celebrating Good Food, Brands, and More With Tastesetters Victors Night

Filipino food indeed has variety and history which makes it really special especially for all of us Filipinos. Last April, I was able to attend the Tastesetters Victors Night held at Yuchengco Museum at RCBC Plaza. The Muesum was made into a huge dining hall where priceless Filipino art are also in display. The venue was also filled with Filipino elements designed to be a showcase a Pinoy fiesta which is a huge part of our food culture.

Tastesetters Victors Night was made in celebrating the brands and people who have contributed a lot to the food and beverage industry and pushing it forward to new heights. And indeed, they wanted to make a mark with a creative presentation and artistic renditions of Pinoy cuisine and flavors to make it a night to remember.

Before the grand event, guests had samples of treats of pinoy dishes as well as drinks and desserts that go well with them. Some of the dishes were Manong Sorbetero’s Adobo Caramel Sorbetes with Pork Floss and Kare Kare Sorbetes with Tulip Dark Chocolate Paste and Jif Crunchy Peanut Butter. Appetizers such as Palabok in Pani Puri, using San Remo Angel Hair Pasta with Clara Olé Cream-based Pasta Sauce Crab Flavor, Kinilaw na Hamachi at Scallops with TABASCO Sriracha, and US Beef Belly Kansi.

An exhibition from local artists like Mario “Ram” Mallari Jr., Nina Bantoto, and Bimbo Yance, bassist of The Dawn, are on display which also shows food creativity in art showcased inside the Yuchengco Museum.

Leading to the main hall, paintings of Amorsolo greets the guests as they are also ushered to their seats which fells like a feast like no other, I would say it feels presidential and exciting. The theme of the event is Gastronomic Artistry, it encourages the chefs to be creative in preparing and presenting their dishes like a canvas or a sculpture into their own masterpieces.

They also looked back on the trends that Pinoys enjoyed like the Korean food wave, the matcha fever, and so on. And this is proven with the many Korean reataurants, and dishes now being consumed by more Filipinos and are now familiar with a lot of dishes which I think was heavily influenced by K-POP and K-Dramas.

Another trend they featured are the tropical ingredients like coconut, mango, calamansi, and watermelon. Inherently abundant in the country, they can be used in many ways and surprisingly there are so many things that can be done with them beyond the regular fruit platter. Next trend in the menu is the playful use of spice which many are staring to appreciate with many world dishes have their own spicy dish, which the Philippines also have especially in regional cuisine.

The fifth trend is all about eating healthy and how people are now shifting to healthier options for dishes. Changes and adjustments are made to make regular favorites into a healthier variant, some may find it very different, yet it has its health benefits. Of course, they have not forgotten favorites like sisig and lechon on the menu which can be served in creative ways. The final theme was Gourmet for All, which shows how premium ingredients like truffle and caviar can be put into chips, instant noodles, fries, and more. 

The menu for the night includes:

  • Benguet Corn Chawan Mushi -With Shrimp, Meatball, Mushroom, And Truffle Oil
  • Reconstructed Tokwa't Baboy - Bagnet, Onion, Chillies, Wrapped In Tofu Skin, Chipotle Soy Glaze
  • Balamban Lechon Baboy - With Old Bay Seasoning Butter, Liver Sauce, Burong Mangga In Local Craft Beer
  • Chicken Inasal - Boneless Chicken Inasal Topped With Chicken Skin And Alaminos Longanisa Crumble, Inasal Jus
  • US Shortrib Kaldereta - Bourguinon Style with Bugnay Wine, Mashed Bukidnon Sweet Potato, Roasted Carrot, Garlic, And Onion
  • Seafood Habhab Pansit Habhab Topped with Shrimp, Squid, Mussels, And Nam Jim
  • Adobong Pusit Adlai With Tomato Confit and Cavite Made Burrata Cheese
  • Kare Kareng Gulay - With Pili Butter Sauce and Vegan Bagoong
  • Cassube Flan Cassava Cake, Ube Halaya, Leche Flan
  • Cashew Mazapan Cashew Butter Nougat, Butter Cookies, Rice Paper
  • Drinks - Tanglad and Lemon Iced Tea, Treeltop Juice

The menu was created by Tastesetters’ very own Chef Sonny Mariano and Chef Wado Siman as a celebration to the iconic Filipino cuisine. The dishes served were elevated with the integration of SYSU products as well as adding flair with their presentation.

For example, the Benguet Corn Chawan Mushi and Reconstructed Tokwa’t Baboy are made with TABASCO Chipotle. The Balamban Lechon Baboy was seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning that had three sauces, including one made with Clara Olé Pineapple Jam, Adobong Pusit Adlai, prepared using the Clara Olé Pasta Negra Sauce. Kare Kareng Gulay was made with Jif Peanut Butter complimented with a vegan bagoong.  And for the dessert, Cassube Flan, was made with McCormick Ube Flavor, and a Cashew Mazapan, made using Embassy Chocolate’s Zen 33% White Couverture and McCormick’s Vanilla and Ube Flavors.

At the end of the feast, the much-anticipated awarding ceremony commenced. The Tastesetters team identified three nominees that embodied each of the five categories and one winner that stood out from the pack. 

First, the Rookie-Up and Coming award celebrated the businesses new to the Tastesetters scene. They are the ones to watch and are anticipated to make it big in the industry. While Lawson and Chick n’ Juicy were nominated, Mrs. G Cakeshop Corporation took home the custom trophy by artists Ram Mallari and Nina Bantoto. 

Second, the Operations Efficiency award highlighted establishments that optimized workflow, customer service, resource management, and the like. Binondo Foods Corporation clinched the award after being nominated with Waffle Time and Philippine Seven Corporation. 

The Marketing & Promotions award was up third with the nominees being Pho Hoa, Binondo Foods Corporation, and Frankie’s New York Buffalo Wings. This accolade puts marketing efforts front and center. Frankie’s New York Buffalo Wings ultimately won because of their impactful strategies that made waves online and offline. 

Being the bread and butter of Tastesetters, the Menu/Product Development award focused on those who create innovations that consistently impress their customers–whether they’re regulars or newcomers. Philippine Seven Corporation won the prize after being nominated with Bon Chon and Hopia King Bakery. 

Finally, Collaborator of the Year celebrates establishments that initiate productive partnerships, keep good supplier relationships, and more. Frankie’s New York Buffalo Wings and Hopia King Bakery were nominated alongside the category winner, Authenquick Foods Corporation. 

To close the event, Miss Sandy Cu, the Product and Business Development Head of SYSU International, led a toast to celebrate the coming together of industry experts and enthusiasts for an evening of impeccable food, beautiful pieces of art, and inspiring displays of innovation.

Indeed, the night was memorable made special with the food, the art, the venue, and the passion of the Tastesetters which foresights the trends and gives recognition to partner brands and businesses that shape the Filipino culinary scene.

For more exciting news on Tastesetters’ upcoming events, workshops, seminars, and more, visit their website and follow Tastesetters on Facebook

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