THE IRISH Government Food Board, Bord Bia launched its first online culinary competition, called East Meets West, with participants welcome to submit their recipe entries until Aug. 31. The top 10 participants will be announced on Sept. 7, and the five winners will be known on Oct. 23.

“We have opened our East Meets West competition primarily to chefs, culinary students and foodies. However, anyone with a passion for cooking is welcome to submit their recipe via the link available on our Facebook page. We welcome all those with a passion for food and encourage contestants to get creative with fusing European pork and beef in fantastic Filipino cuisine,” said Jack Hogan, Market Specialist for Bord Bia in an e-mail to BusinessWorld. The competition has been held in Hong Kong and mainland China over the last three years, he said. “It was a great success in these markets and we are sure the Philippines will be also,” he said.

The rules are as follows:

• Create and share “the most delicious Filipino or Fusion (combination of Western and Filipino) recipe presented at restaurant standard.

• A recipe should include one of the following meat cuts: for pork: jowl, collar or pork belly; and for beef: short rib, brisket or striploin. The contestant can add two additional components (i.e one side dish, one sauce; or two side dishes) and a garnish.

• For the first round, a recipe should be submitted in text format.

• For the second round (best 10 submissions), the contestant will have to develop a second recipe and present both recipes in a short video.

• The top 10 contestants will receive a cooking kit, which includes Irish pork and beef cuts.

“For extra marks, we encourage a picture of the finished recipe to be submitted alongside the recipe description,” said Mr. Hogan.

The five winners are to win a trip to Ireland, and not just any trip: “The five lucky winners will win a once-in-a-lifetime culinary tour of Ireland. This tour will provide the full experience, from quality food producers to Michelin standard restaurants, the winners will get a taste of everything Ireland’s world-class culinary scene has to offer, with some exciting cultural and tourist activities also on the menu,” said Mr. Hogan.

Aside from Bord Bia’s representatives, the contest will also be judged by chefs Billy King (owner and chef at Le Chef Restaurant in The Manor at Camp John Hay, Baguio), Mark Hagan (executive chef at the Grand Hyatt Manila), and Philip John Golding (founding chairman, Disciples of Escoffier Philippines). All shared what they think would be winning recipes: “Creativity is key. We want contestants to demonstrate their passion and culinary creativity in fusing European pork and beef from Ireland with Filipino cuisine. A winning video would capture the contestant’s attitude and passion for their recipe and effectively communicate the creative process/technique they used to accentuate the many positive qualities of European pork and beef,” said Mr. Hogan.

“A chef should always have something up her or his sleeve that can be added as a final touch, like a personal signature. A winning attitude will always be composed of passion for excellence; confidence in one’s ability and a happy disposition while creating the dish. That’s what gives the profession its artistic prowess,” said Mr. King.

Mr. Golding said, “The winning recipe should innovate Filipino cuisine through outstanding ingredients using simplicity but with strong culinary fundamentals.”

Mr. Hagan says, meanwhile, “Every great dish should tell a story: a childhood memory, a dish your  grandmother served when you came around for a meal. Ireland is very much like the Philippines; we love to get together and share good food.”

He added: “Be creative and true to the food you cook, don’t overcomplicate it.”

Mr. Hogan discussed the significance of the contest. “The aim of the competition is to engage with the vibrant culinary scene in the Philippines and raise awareness of the great quality food from Ireland that is on offer in the market, particularly Irish pork and beef. We want to demonstrate the versatility of Irish pork and beef and show that it can fit perfectly into Filipino cuisine.

“Irish pork and beef is of world-renowned quality. It is endorsed by over 40 Michelin star chefs across the globe. Our dedicated producers are fully invested in producing the highest quality food in harmony with nature, producing natural and sustainable food is their passion. Ireland is a small island on the edge of Europe, we have a population of just five million people, yet we produce enough food to feed 25 million. We are passionate about the food we produce and we want to share it with the world,” he said.

Contest details and the link to submit recipes are on — JL Garcia