Ajinomoto® Umami Culinary Challenge

The Ajinomoto® Umami Culinary Challenge (UCC) will once again open its doors to hundreds of young talents and provide them with a venue to learn from the best in the culinary and food service industry. The event will be held on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at the Hall 2, SMX Convention Center in SM Mall of Asia from 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Year after year, the contest successfully grows in size and coverage, gathering the Philippines’ most creative and innovative foodies, culinarians, professional and aspiring chefs.

culinary challenge
The Ajinomoto® Umami Culinary Challenge (UCC) will be held
on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at the Hall 2, SMX Convention Center
in SM Mall of Asia from 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

According to Chef Russell Bautista, UCC Competition Head and Resident Chef of AJINOMOTO PHILIPPINES CORPORATION, “This one-day event is a golden opportunity for us to witness our future chefs showcase their skills and masterpieces. Ajinomoto hopes to contribute in discovering and maximizing their true potentials.” 51 schools with more than 400 student-competitors signed up for this year’s competition. UCC has expanded its reach in Luzon with participants coming from Ilocos, CALABARZON, NCR and CARAGA regions. Last year, UCC was also brought to Iloilo and Cebu to reach students in Visayas and Mindanao.


student competitors
Schools will compete for a chance to be the Umami Bowl
Champion and to win a kitchen classroom showcase.

There are six (6) contest categories including a national cooking showdown. Hercor College from Capiz earned their chance to compete against the school who will win the Best Filipino Umami Dish-Luzon in the upcoming Manila leg of UCC. On the other hand, the school with the highest score from Luzon will be named the Umami Bowl Champion and bring home a kitchen classroom showcase. Distinguished judges include culinary and nutrition experts like Chef Sau del Rosario, Chef Eugene Raymundo, Chef Seiji Kamura, Chef James Antolin, Dr. Zenaida Narciso and Ms. Joan Sumpio to name a few.

competition area
The Ajinomoto® Umami Culinary Challenge competition
area will be filled with umami goodness with hundreds
of talented HRM and Nutrition students showcasing their
skills and masterpieces.

Other event highlights include new and unique culinary competition categories, Eat Well, Live Well.® Cooking Class facilitated by well-known celebrity chefs and Umami and MSG Safety Presentation by Dr. Nemencio Nicodemus. This event is presented by AJINOMOTO PHILIPPINES CORPORATION and sponsored by La Germania, Solane, and Masflex KitchenPro.


Ajinomoto Culinary Challenge

 *This is a press release.

Blue Marlin Fillet in Lemon Butter Sauce

Have you ever tried Blue Marlin fillet? Blue Marlin is not only perfect for grilling. It is also good for fillets despite of its firm meat. I suggest that you give it a try.

blue marlin fillet
Blue Marlin Fillet in Lemon Butter Sauce
Image and Recipe from Chef Rhianne


1/2 kg. Blue Marlin fillet
2 eggs (beaten)
6-8 cups vegetable oil (for frying)

1 cup flour
2 eggs (beaten)
3/4 tsp. ground pepper

3 tbsp. unsalted butter (melted)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon  juice
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1/3 cup water (for thickening)
parsley (finely chopped)


1. Sprinkle both sides of Blue Marlin fillet with paprika and salt then set aside.
2. For the batter: whisk flour, 2 beaten eggs and 3/4 tsp ground pepper in a bowl.
3. Dip the fillet in remaining 2 beaten eggs then coat with batter. Deep fry until golden brown. Drain excess oil with paper towels then set aside.
4. On a pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add wine and lemon then season with salt and pepper. Add cornstarch then stir continuously until the desired thickness is achieved.
5. Place the fried Blue Marlin fillet on a serving plate. Pour over the lemon butter sauce then sprinkle with parsley.


Grilled Stuffed Squid

As soon as I saw these large fresh squids in the market, I already know what to do with them…stuffed them with vegetables then grill. My family loves grilled squid more than the fried calamari. We love it stuffed or not, but the stuffing give it a distinct flavor, making it more delicious and juicy.

fresh squids

2 fresh squids (more than 1/2 kilogram)

onions and tomatoes

onions, tomatoes and spices


large squids
onions (sliced in small pieces)
tomatoes (sliced in small pieces)
thyme (dried or fresh)


Clean the squid by pulling the head. The ink sac and everything inside the squid will be pulled out with the head (just avoid breaking the ink sac), then wash it. Mix all together the onions, tomatoes, thyme, salt and pepper. Thyme is a delicate minty herb with a light lemon aroma. It will give the squid an aromatic and delicious flavor. If you will use fresh thyme, just remember that one fresh sprig equals the flavoring power of one-half teaspoon of dried thyme. Too much thyme will overpower the flavors of onion and tomato. Stuff the squid then attach the head with a toothpick or thin barbeque stick. Season the outside of stuffed squid with salt and pepper then prick it with a fork or stick. Grill over charcoal until both sides are cooked. Don’t overcook it if you don’t want a gummy texture.

grilled stuffed squid

Voila! Flavorful grilled stuffed squid.

Chicken Oriental Recipe

The Holiday season left us not just with different kinds of fruits but also with different meat dishes (or should I say fried chicken wings and pork?). Okay, okay, I’m guilty of preparing too much food last Media Noche that until now what we are eating are leftovers. I don’t want these foods to be forgotten at the back of the refrigerator then end up in waste bin later so I recycled them. The Lechong Kawali was recycled into Lechong Paksiw and the Fried Chicken Wings were recycled into something really special…Chicken Oriental.


chicken oriental
Chicken Oriental in flavorful sweet pineapple sauce


1/2 kg. fried chicken wings
1/2 cup pineapple juice
3 tbsp. banana ketchup
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. sugar
dash of pepper
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbsp. water
roasted sesame seeds


On a pan simmer the pineapple juice, banana ketchup, oyster sauce, water, sugar and pepper. Stir in the chicken wings and simmer until the sauce is reduced to almost half. Add the dissolved cornstarch and stir. Sprinkle roasted sesame seeds.

Voila! Chicken Oriental in flavorful sweet pineapple sauce.

Top Torikatsu: Bounty Fresh Newest Quick Gourmet Ulam

It is hard being a working Mom most especially if you don’t have anyone to delegate household chores to. You have no choice but to juggle everything by yourself from doing the laundry to preparing breakfast and packed meals early in the morning. And if your kids are picky-eaters, this would double your needed time and headache. All you can do is cook a good meal that they want while trying to keep up with your own schedule because you need to report to work on time. Fortunately, there is a secret that I want to share with you. With Top Torikatsu, Bounty Fresh newest quick gourmet ulam (it cooks in just three minutes!), you can do all your tasks while enticing your kids’ picky taste buds. It is made out of 100% chicken breasts coated in breadcrumbs and comes in Classic flavor (with tasty mayonnaise) and Cheese & Chives flavor (with creamy cheese and chive sauce).

Top Torikatsu
Top Torikatsu Cheese and Chive Flavor
Top Torikatsu Classic
Top Torikatsu Classic Flavor

Top Torikatsu, was launched by Bounty Fresh, the award-winning makers of innovative, quality chicken products. It is the first and latest in a line of delicious heat-and-eat items made not just for busy Moms but most especially for people with busy, active lifestyles who hardly have the time to prepare a good meal. According to Ms. Patricia Cheng, Group Marketing Manager of Bounty Fresh, Top Torikatsu is their response to the need of young working professionals who want a filling meal but do not have the luxury of time to cook, or may not have the cooking skills of a chef, and who are looking for a delicious, instant meal that fits their budget and lifestyle.

The launch event was held last Thursday, September 12, at Privé Luxury Club in Bonifacio Global City. It was attended by members of the media, food bloggers, and friends, who all got to see how fast and easy Top Torikatsu is prepared and sampled the product and reacted favorably. Also present were the hosts of the popular radio show Boys Night Out – Tony Toni, Sam YG, and Slick Rick (oh, I love these guys!) – along with internet/TV sensation Ellen Adarna, who were selected to become Top Torikatsu’s brand ambassadors. The three hosts star in a three-episode series of funny, offbeat digital videos showing them using different moves to try and get the girl and fail, until they learn the one move that impresses the ladies every time. All three videos were shown at the event, and the first one is already online at youtube.com/toptorikatsu.

Top Torikatsu brand ambassadors
Top Torikatsu brand ambassadors

According to Cheng, the hosts of Boys Night Out and Ellen are very familiar to the target market and represent it as well because they are young and busy with their careers. They can help spread the word about Top Torikatsu and at the same time, fit the profile of the product’s users.

It’s the social media age thus, the decision to push the brand online. “When you want to know the latest products or in thing, you check out Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. When you want to know what your friend ate for lunch or dinner, there’s a photo of it on Facebook. Our market is online and once they try Top Torikatsu, we expect them to share their experience of the product online also”, says Cheng.

Top Torikatsu Products

Top Torikatsu is available at P179 per 450-gram pack at major supermarkets. For more information, visit facebook.com/toptorikatsu and follow them on instagram.com/toptorikatsu.