Rachelle Janne Javier of the University of Perpetual Help System DALTA in Las Piñas, and Alfie Jaca and Mary Joy dela Cruz of St. Louis College Valenzuela were hailed as the regional grand winners in the Metro Manila leg of Flourish Pilipinas 2014. Besting 61 other contenders, these young bakers wowed the judges with their special scrumptious baked creations that highlighted local fruits and produce.
Now on its second year, Flourish Pilipinas is the nationwide baking competition of Universal Robina Corporation (URC) Flour Division that celebrates, nurtures, and preserves Filipino flour-based delicacies throughout the country, promoting Philippine tourism through the country’s varied and unique breads and pastries.
The Board of Judges composed of Chef and Yummy food columnist Eliseo “Junjun” de Guzman, URC Flour Division Technology Manager Nic Ines, and Yummy magazine Associate Food Editor and professional food stylist Sharlene Tan, reviewed the recipes based on taste, appearance, creativity, and use of local and indigenous ingredients.
The three regional grand winners all received baking course scholarships to school of their choice worth P25,000 and cash prize of P10,000 in cash from URC Flour Division, KitchenAid Hand Mixers and Choppers, and gift packs from sponsors.
Sweet obsession. Rachelle Janne Javier received the top prize in the Bread category with her recipe 7,107 Island Sweet Bread. The tasty treat stars indigenous ingredients such as coco jam, pili nuts, dried mangoes, and raisins.
“My recipe also has kamoteng dilaw, which is rich in Vitamin A and fiber. And instead of cinnamon, I used sanke, or star anise, a local spice,” said the young baker. “I called it the 7,107 Island Sweet Bread because I want it to represent and promote the Philippines and our agriculture industry.”
A Hotel and Restaurant Management student, Rachelle Janne shared that she has always loved to cook, but discovered her talent in baking when she joined a school organization. When she found out from a friend that URC Flour Division was holding a baking competition, she felt that it was a chance for her to hone and showcase her skills.
“Being chosen as one of the finalists already made me so happy, so it was really great when I won. It was a great achievement because I know that a lot of pastry students joined the competition,” she said. “I’m very happy because young bakers like me have the support of URC Flour Division. I’m excited for other students who will join Flourish Pilipinas in the future as well, because it’s a great experience.”
Alfie Jaca took the top prize in the Cake division with his Jack and Anna Chocolate Cake, named after its star ingredients jackfruit and bananas. The winning baker said that he chose these native fruits because they are sweet and abundant in the country.
“Jackfruits are also healthy sources of calories and does not contain cholesterol,” he added. “The competition fueled my passion for baking, and developed my creativity and versatility,” he said. “I am very thankful that companies like URC Flour take the initiative to support young bakers and pastry chefs like us.”
For Alfie, joining Flourish Pilipinas 2 was unforgettable and inspiring.
Mary Joy’s Lengua Cookie Sandwich with Pili Nut Kisses earned her the grand prize in the Cookie Category. The recipe boasts the combined flavors of chocolate and barako coffee, and calamansi and vanilla, plus a refreshing mango yogurt cream and chocolate ganache filling. Set on a lengua cookie, the dish is topped with a pili nut kiss. The young baker shared that joining Flourish Pilipinas 2 was an enjoyable and unforgettable experience.
“The competition strengthened my resolve to pursue my passion for baking and gave my self-confidence a boost,” Mary Joy added.
Taste the best of the Philippines and stay tuned for URC Flour Division’s events all over the country.