Envisioning Bacolod City as a major food destination, the MassKara Festival 2023 brings in the 7th Sabor Bisaya Food Expo and Culinary Competition. With over 200 competitors who are out to impress 14 culinary experts in the country, the event will be held on October 18-19 at the Acacia Convention Hall. This is the MassKanamit Culinary Showdown in the midst of the city festivities.
Who Will be at the MassKaNamit Culinary Showdown
Organizer Ana Tison said this competition is a sought-after event for those in the hospitality and food industry as this is a rare opportunity for them to learn from the masters.
Among the top chefs who will be in town are Bacolod’s Tom Bascon, Johanah Dee Chua Bais, and Margarita Forés who has roots in Negros.
Bascon, the executive chef of M Dining in Manila, is from the Bascon clan and is known as an institution when it comes to food in Bacolod City. He trained at the French Culinary Institute and Nobu in New York and was named Tatler Dining’s Chef in 2020.
Bais on the other hand owns and operates Harina Pasties and is a graduate of Bacolod Academy for Culinary Arts who had culinary work experience at Orlando World Center Marriott and a culinary instructor at BACA.
Forés of Cibo was recently in town to open her chain of restaurants and is known for her Italian cuisine. She was named Asia’s Best Female Chef in 2016.
Other Celebrity Chefs
Also arriving in Bacolod City are Chef Jill Sandique, the lead trainer and program director of the USDA Council of Chefs and the only Filipino who an IICCT Certified Level 3 Chocolate Taster; Chef Cyrille Soenen who joined the ranks of Maîtres Cuisiners de France in 2015 and is now Executive Chef and partner of Antonio’s group of restaurants of Negrense Tony Boy Escalante; Chef Martin Kaspar of l’entrecôte Restaurant in BGC, Taguig and Culinary Teacher at The Alain Ducasse Culinary Institute at Enderun Colleges. He is a prime mover in local culinary competitions around the Philippines to improve the culinary standards and to inspire young professionals in our industry.
Joining them is Executive Chef Cheongyan See who has over forty years of extensive culinary skills gained from his training in Switzerland, China, Malaysia, and the Philippines. He is known for improving kitchen processes, lowering food costs, reducing waste, eliminating spoilage, and boosting productivity and currently is a Certified Ducasse Education Instructor.
Chef Sandy Daza, host of FoodPrints and Lutong Daza and also a food columnist for the Manila Bulletin, will also grace the event with Chef Olive Puentespina, Chef Florabel Co-Yatco, and Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco. Chef Waya has made a name for herself by using her culinary work as a launchpad for various advocacies, including women empowerment, employing PWDs, and cultivating relations with farmers.
The chefs will also be joined by Robert Blancaflor, one of the country’s most sought-after events stylists known for his artistry in creating breathtaking spaces and events around the country and internationally.