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5-man Makati Shangri-la team is Great Banquet Challenge champion

The five-man Makati Shangri-la team composed of Anatolio Bleza, JV Huevos, Ryan Reyes, Anatoly Barcenas and Rommel Gabriel, coached by Virgilio Timola, runs away with the title of Great Banquet Challenge Champion and the P50,000 prize at the first-ever Great Banquet Challenge at the SMX Convention Center held yesterday. Awarding the team are (from right) HRAP Chairman and President and Bayview Park Hotel GM Eugene Yap; Chefs on Parade (COP) Chairman Philippe Bartholomi; COP Vice Chairman and Manila Pavilion Hotel GM Christopher Park; COP Chairman of the Board of Judges Chef Kurt Pozzato (5th from left) ; and Great Banquet Challenge sponsors Unilever Food Solutions represented by UFS Executive Chef Joanne Limoanco-Gendrano (7th from left), Marketing Manager Louren Chua, and Channel Marketing Manager for Hotels Pat Mallari (2nd from left and leftmost respectively).

The five-man Makati Shangri-la team composed of Anatolio Bleza, JV Huevos, Ryan Reyes, Anatoly Barcenas and Rommel Gabriel, coached by Virgilio Timola, won the coveted title of Great Banquet Challenge Champion at the first ever Great Banquet Challenge, a competition sponsored and conceptualized by Unilever Food Solutions (UFS), by besting a strong field of contenders composed of Resorts World Manila (1st runner up), Diamond Hotel (2nd runner up), and finalists Acacia Hotel, Midas Hotel & Casino and Pan Pacific Hotel.  The Great Banquet Challenge is one of the highlights of this year’s Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines’ (HRAP) Chefs on Parade, still the longest-running culinary competition in the country held this year from February 28 to March 3 at the SMX Convention Center.

“We congratulate the passionate and talented Makati Shangri-la team for winning the first ever Great Banquet Challenge! While all the participants showed great skill and talent, the judges agreed that they stood a cut above the rest in terms of passion and determination to succeed,” said Chef Joanne Limoanco-Gendrano, UFS Executive Chef.

The competition jury was composed of reputable judges from both the culinary and wedding industries, namely: Chefs Alex Dino, Gerard Bauhr, Jessie Sincioco, Allan Palmer and Anna Park, as well as Metro Weddings editor-in-chief Michelle Katigbak-Alejandro.

“UFS wants to give the banquet chefs and their F&B service staff the respect and recognition they deserve. The six finalists are already winners being the best among the ten who joined the competition.” said Pat Mallari, UFS Channel Marketing Manager for Hotels during the awarding ceremony.

“This competition gives us an avenue to celebrate and recognize the brilliant individuals who work behind the scenes of memorable banquets. They are the banquet industry’s unsung heroes,” said Louren Chua, UFS Marketing Manager.

The COP Great Banquet Challenge was open to the country’s top wedding and banquet establishments.  In the final showdown, six teams of five members each pitted their culinary and creative skill against each other to produce a “Modern Wedding banquet” for 20 people composed of 2 starters, 1 soup, 2 main dishes, 1 vegetable dish and 2 desserts.   Judging was based on Mise en place, preparation, taste and presentation.

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