A nursing assistant in a Laguna hospital and his mother bested 21 other cooks in the Pinakbet Cooking Challenge staged by East-West Seed Company last November 15 in their nursery in San Rafael, Bulacan.
They are Loreto D. Maestre Jr. and his mother Ester of Lumban, Laguna who showcased a novel way of cooking pinakbet. Instead of cooking pinakbet the usual way, they came out with a crispy pinakbet.
Here’s how they did it. They sliced the vegetables provided by the seed company into elongated pieces about three inches long and about the size of the finger. The sliced veggies (sitao, eggplant, ampalaya, okra, squash) are then coated with flour and dipped in egg, sprinkled with bread crumbs and then fried into crisp pieces. The sauce is prepared separately. The sliced onions, tomato, ginger, garlic and small shrimps are sautéed using coconut milk.
The second prize winners are Jonathan Medrano and Jaybert Tagana. Medrano is the chief chef of a restaurant in Sariaya, Quezon. And their winning dish is seafood pinakbet.
The third prize winners made pinakbet pizza which is something novel. They are Mrs. Mary Ann Lucas and Normelita Lagua who hail from Cabulay, Santiago City in Isabela.