Sunday, November 23, 2014

15 of 31 participants passed the 2014 New Big Food Entrepreneur Taste Test

After attending the free seminar on How to Develop Your Business Food Ideas during the  startup of Food Entrepreneur Weekend last October 25 (Saturday) in the Mercato Centrale of Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City, thirty-one aspiring food entrepreneurs finally set their tables  on November 7, 2014 (Friday) for the first step to winning the  3rd Next Big Food Entrepreneur  contest organized by the Mercato Centrale, the country’s premier night food market.

The list of 31 contestants
The participating food entrepreneurs presented their food creations vying for a win in the food taste test.  Each of them served bite-sized portions of their dishes to a judging panel composed of select lifestyle and food media practitioners, food bloggers (that includes us), some entrepreneurial consultants, and the Mercato Centrale’s partners that include Our Awesome Planet, Unilever Food Solutions, MasterCard, Globe MyBusiness, Entrepreneur Magazine, Yummy Magazine, Go Negosyo, Solar’s Second Avenue, and, with support coming from Mercato vendors and management. Sampled are different combinations of savory dishes, artisanal food, pastries, and desserts. Some food creations were inspired by foreign cuisine but presented with Filipino twists by using some locally available ingredients or by catching the Pinoy taste and the ways the foods were introduced and served. I was amazed by the creativity of the participants in coming up with their own recipe. However, I was more fascinated upon realizing that most of the contestant food entrepreneurs were inspired by Pinoy tastes and food culture. It must be of what they learned from the earlier seminar that Pinoy flavors, ingredients, and food performers were the most trending and popular in those years of Mercato Centrale's food market experience.

Helping find the best food entrepreneurs this year was a big challenge not only to the competing contingents, but also to the panelist of judges who sampled and rated the food entries presented by each of the aspiring food entrepreneur.  We sampled more than a hundred food entries in less than two hours. Most of the judges were not able to sample a bite of all the stuffs presented due to time pressure.  In my case, I missed to taste the food entries of two participants due to time constraint despite observing discipline to limit myself to take only two bites for each entry so I could speed up my review and to avoid my guts from getting filled too much halfway in our race against time. However, the said two contestants passed the Taste Test because the got favorable votes from those who have tried their dishes. I managed to try their dishes after the contest and agreed their food creations deserved to win the test.  We, the food tasters-con-judges, were asked to rate the food entries on the following criteria: 25% for Creativity, 25% for Taste, 25% for Presentation, and 25% for Marketability, or a total of 100%. 

Finally, after tallying all the score cards at the end of the search, 15 entrepreneurs won the votes of judging panel. The winners automatically became qualified to the final round of the competition, which is to sell their best food creations for over four weekends in the Midnight Mercato, Bonifacio Global City on November 14 & 15, 2014 and on November 21 & 22, 2014,  and at the Banquetta, CCP Complex on November 28, 2014 and on December 5, 2014. The ultimate winner of the contest will get PHP 100,000 start up capital, a rent-free stall in Mercato Centrale for six months, and will be featured in Entrepreneur magazine, Yummy magazine, The Philippine Star,, Globe My Business Digital, and Our Awesome Planet.

The 15 finalists who made it to the final round of the competition are the following (in alphabetical order):

1. A Guy’s Flan
2. Bakmi Nyonya
3. Bigorots
4. Cubano
5. Dirty Fingers
6. Home of French Toast
7. Hunger Buster
8. Let’s SuTuKil Atbp
9. Mad Wraps
10. Mr. Pallman's Sandwiches

11. Naughty Nachos

12. Siowarma Twist
13. Tiya’s Kitchen

14. Turrone de Manila Cafe
15. Up in the Clouds
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About Edgie Polistico

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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary - the first and only published Pinoy food and dining dictionary. The book won the national category as Philippine's finalist to the Gourmand Awards international food writing contest in Yantai, Shandong, China to be held in May 2017. A lexicographer who began to compile and wrote his first vernacular dictionaries at the age of 14. A collector of contemporary and vintage dictionaries, both local and foreign.  A linguist studying the many dialects you can find in the Philippines. A blogger maintaining at least 11 blog sites. A researcher of food culture, Pinoy pop culture, interesting places and structures in the country, local transportations, Philippine churches and other places of worship of any religion and beliefs, local anthropology, socio-cultural issues, and whatever interesting about the Philippines and the Filipinos. A visual artist who uses pencil, watercolor, pen, and fingers as medium of expression - once an editorial cartoonist of local broadsheet and campus publications. Created his first hand-made comics magazine and participated the Marian watercolor exhibits in his hometown parish while in high school. A photographer taking at least 2K photos a week in the field while on travel for almost two decades now.  A poet hiding most of the time. A low-profile historian studying continually the origins, history, and progression of many places in the country. A computer programmer who wrote the codes and designed the software application of his digital Cebuano-English dictionary and distributed it for free around the country and over the internet. A traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints anywhere in the country.  A holder of professional driver's license once took the wheels for UBER. A home cook who loves to enhance, modify, elaborate, experiment if not invent more of  Pinoy dishes and delicacies.

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