In the cooking contest, Going Greens: A cook-off showdown, ten pairs of culinary enthusiasts showed their prowess in preparing brown rice and local green leafy vegetables, July 26.
Each participating team was tasked to prepare Filipino dishes from a mystery basket filled with leafy vegetables such as pechay, spinach, camote tops, bitter gourd leaves, string bean leaves, chili pepper leaves, and upland water spinach.
To support the Institute’s campaign on brown rice awareness, contestants were required to prepare a green leafy dish-brown rice pairing in the main dish category.
Students from the Central Luzon State University won three awards. Incoming second year Food Technology students Camilla Patrice Villar and Jamm Joseph Aquino were declared grand winners and received the Best in Appetizer award for their Banana Veggie dish.
“Just cook with your heart, use your imagination, and take risks when necessary. The result will be the best Filipino dishes,” Villar advised to her fellow culinary enthusiasts.
Robert Cauilan and Thea Diamzon from the same university received the Best in Main Dish award for their Squash Surprise. Adrian Banasihan and Kevin Cayanga of La Fortuna College took home the Best Dessert award for their Kangkong Jam.
Each dish was assessed based on taste and nutritional value (40%), visual appeal (30%), originality and creativity (20%), and overall presentation (10%).
The cooking contest was led by the Rice Chemistry and Food Science Division (RCFSD) and conducted through the Intensified Rice-Based Agri-Bio Systems (IRBAS) program of PhilRice.
Rosaly Manaois, head of RCFSD, said that the activity is part of the IRBAS’s study on the development and marketing of rice-based food products, which she also leads.
“Green leafy vegetables grown in rice-based farms are packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. However, they are unpopular and intake of Filipinos is low. Hence, preparation of more palatable and low-cost green leafy dishes would help us promote them,” Manois said.
The RCFSD team is also planning to prepare a techno-bulletin of the vegetable recipes for distribution to the stakeholders in various Palayamanan sites of PhilRice.
To cap off the month-long celebration, the RCFSD organized an outreach and feeding program, July 28. Around 270 students of Mangandingay Elementary School in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija participated in the said event.
The RCFSD staff served brown rice arroz caldo to the students and donated Be Riceponsible campaign materials, and some vegetable seeds and fruit seedlings that students can cultivate at home.
The said activity was sponsored by the PhilRice Health and Wellness Program, Gender Awareness Development Initiative Program, Be Riceponsible campaign, and PhilRice Employees’ Multipurpose Cooperative (PEMCO).