The third day of the USPB Davao food safari was a cookoff between the food bloggers and media participants. Despite the very small show of hands when the organizers asked on the first day who could cook, there was a pretty amazing show of creativity in their dishes. The cookoff was held at the Waterfront Hotel’s beachfront pavilion, which was great news for us with the beautiful light there, but bad news for the cooks as a stiff breeze played merry hob with their gas stove flames.
The challenge was to create a tasty dish with innovative use of potatoes, and each team was given a choice of potato products to use. There were some very interesting combinations going on there, like a tuna tataki on a bed of wasabi mashed potatoes, potato gnocchi in seafood, and my personal fave, the ‘Pinoy poutine.’ Waterfront Hotel chef Victor Barangan spent the morning with the participants, giving useful on-the-spot advice, at times even taking a direct hand in helping the teams as the clock ticked closer to to the deadline and the teams were still struggling with the wind and equipment problems.
At the end of the contest, the winning entry led the second-placer by only 0.4 per cent! The eventual winner was the Pinoy ‘Puting Poutine,’ a hearty dish of fries topped with crispy smoked liempo, adobo strips, salted egg, and keso de bola (Edam cheese). That’s the hero plate of it above, held by food blogger Beryl Hong of the winning team. After the judging Cathy was asking the the winners which their winning dish was, as she wanted to take a photo of them with it. They replied, “There, it’s being eaten by your husband!”