Students of San Policarpo National High School again bags the top prize at the annual tinapa cookfest in Calbayog City highlighting the World Tourism Week in the last week of September and as a run-up activity of the 71th Calbayog City Charter Day on October 16. (Roel T. Amazona)

Now on its 6th year

CALBAYOG CITY–The students from the San Policarpo National High School (SPNHS) once again won this year’s annual ‘tinapa’ cookfest, with 14 other participants coming from different schools based in this city and nearby towns.
For their winning menu, the Grade 12 students cooked tinapa ter sa gata, served in sliced banana, fresh ternate flower and “latik”, a solid by-product of coconut oil used a garnishing for variety of desserts at the 6th Calbayog Tinapa Cookfest.
“I am pressured because we need to do our best next year to make sure that our school will win again,” Divina Sumayan, SPNHS technology and livelihood education teacher and coach of the winning team.
The cookfest, now on its 6th year, which gives focus on tinapa( smoked fish)which serves as one of the activities of the annual World Tourism Week celebration of the city government through its tourism office.
This year’s event was held on October 4 held at the city’s convention center with one of the country’s most respected and well-loved restaurateurs, Glenda Barretto, who is from this city, among the guests and judges of the cooking fest.
Sumayan said that they only have less than two days to prepare and had to change the members of her team because of conflict in the schedules of the students.
As for the dish that they have prepared, Sumayan said that she always cooked it to her family and only made some enhancements to taste it better and more pleasing for the competition.
Barretto, owner of the famed Via Marie restaurant, mentioned that the ingredients and presentation of the winning dish complimented with each other and did not overpowered the taste of tinapa.
“Ingredients must enhance not cover the taste of tinapa. Our tinapa is very tasty and is of good quality but sometimes is overpowered by the sauce that you do. So make sure that your sauce compliments and it should enhance and not overcome your main ingredients,” Barretto said.
The culinary legend added that she will be using the winning dish in some of her catering services in Metro Manila.
Via Marie, which she started in September 1975, is one of the frontrunners in the restaurant and catering industry in the country, serving in some of the big events in the country like state gathering in Malacañang.
Barretto added that the competitors this year have a high level of preparation but some has problem in the texture of their dish.
Aside from SPNHS, other winners were STI Calbayog with their spicy tinapa sisig shawarma (2nd place), Calbayog City National High School with ginataang tinapa sa basi (3rd place).
The dishes were judged based on taste, texture and appearance, creative use of tinapa, presentation, and ‘mise en place.’
Calbayog tourism officer Ronald Ricafort Jr., said that next year, the competition will be much bigger with the addition of new categories by including teachers and professionals.
“Hopefully we can come up with a book compilation of recipe especially the winning recipe of the competition,” Ricafort said.