Cusina Idol

Lone male finalist wins cook-off
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

Mark Justin Tee, the lone male finalist in the first-ever Cusina Idol blitz, emerged as the cook-off’s grand winner at the close of the all-afternoon event. A total of ten finalists battled it out at the GalaStars Culinary Studio of renowned chef Sylvia Reynoso Gala in Pasig City.
His entries, Cucumber Tinapa Roll and Chicken Tinola, edged out a decimal point victory over close contender Ma. Clarissa Rosales’ equally fabulous dish, Chicken Frita.
“I used to be chubby as a kid. I took up cooking lessons from when I was 11 years old until now because I wanted to change the way I ate,” blurted the chink-eyed winner moments after proclaimed the victor. “I was flustered and nervous during the contest but I knew that my execution was precise.”
Each of the finalists cooked one chicken and one seafood dish that they concocted on site after given an hour to prepare. All ten were also required to use Melawares, Perfect Dining, Urban Kitchen, Rosseto, and Loveramics products in their final plating.
Third placer Gemma Santillanosa confessed that she was a Melawares user since 1991.
“We are quite excited with the holding of the Cusina Idol cook-off because this will give the finalists a chance to showcase their culinary talents and skills, which can be a great asset in achieving their goals and in charting their future careers with the F&B sector. It is also a chance for us and the public to witness our consumers’ brand of cooking wizardry. Who knows? The next best and brightest star in the culinary world may come from these guys,” enthused Charmaine Chua, general manager of CDC Manufacturing Corp., makers of popular tableware brands, including Melawares, since 1969.
Prior to selection, the finalists all went through a rigorous screening process after a single receipt purchase of P500 worth of Melawares, Bestware, Perfect Dining, Urban Kitchen, Rosseto, Loveramics, Sodastream, or a combination of any of the aforementioned brands. They then received and filled out a registration form and answered a few questions as to why they should be the Cusina Idol winner.
“Chefs are the new rockstars. Cooking has become the new passion of the 21st century. And we meet this trend with our 225 retail stores and urban kitchens all across the archipelago. It took a while to trim down the over 5,000 entries from all over the country to the final ten,” Charmaine added.
From a company that sourced its product lines through outright importation, CDC Mfg. Corp. now carries brands such as Bestware, an affordable line of tableware; Urban Kitchen, a modern label that carries food service products outside of melamine tableware; Melawares, the classic line that carries high-quality melamine tableware; and Perfect Dining, the company’s exclusive brand for the SM chain which carries high-end melamine products - on top of being the leading manufacturer of customized dinnerware for Quick Service restaurants that’s serving the biggest names in the food industry.
The cook-off panel of judges was comprised of chefs Ernest Reynoso Gala, Sylvia Reynoso Gala, Jill Sandique,and Danny Dela Cuesta as well as Super Catch Inc’s VP for sales & marketing Jennifer Uy, The Business Mirror’s VP for advertising sales Marvin Estigoy, and beauty queen-turned-actress/TV host Miriam Quiambao.
Mark Justin Tee received a total of over half a million pesos worth of kitchen showcase from the contest’s sponsors.
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