Filipino Food – The Grand Chef Challenge

Filipino Food – The Grand Chef Challenge

Photography By Chef Mico Galligues

Illustrado challenged chefs from prestigious hotels and restaurants in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Manila to come up with delectable and innovative dishes that’s definitively Filipino.  The result is an amazing selection of three course meals that feature tradition, fusion and nouveau Filipino cuisine that’s sure to keep your palates wanting for more.

Chef Happy Ongpauco

CEO – Happy Concept Group of Companies

& Vice-President for Operations – Barrio Fiesta Company

The daughter of restaurateur Rod Ongpauco and actress Liberty Ylagan, Chef Happy comes from the third generation of full-blooded restaurateurs giving Filipinos great tasting native dishes for decades.  She earned a degree in International Business at the Assumption College, a diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the HRAP and the Shatec Singapore Hotel, and studied Culinary Arts at the Culinary Arts Institute of America.  Chef Happy went into her own food enterprise in 2000 and opened World Topps, a “hole in the wall” restaurant serving the yuppie crowd in Timog Avenue, Quezon City.  That venture eventually grew into the Happy Concept Group of Companies which now has 15 restaurant branches and two catering companies including World Topps, Bento Box, Hawaiian Bar-B-Que, Lechon Express, Pamana, I Love Backyard BBQ, International Food Concepts Catering Group, and My Happy Carts Co.  This creative and hardworking young lady is also on top of the family business as Vice-President for Operations of the Barrio Fiesta Company.

Turon Ala Mode with Ripe Mango

*1 portion

1 pc saba banana

1 pc spring roll wrapper

60 grams vanilla ice cream

¼ tsp white sugar

10 ml chocolate sauce

100 grams green mango (garnish)

Preparation: Cut the saba banana into 4 pcs lengthwise. Wrap each piece in spring roll wrapper and coat with white sugar. Fry till golden crispy. Serve in a dessert bowl with vanilla ice cream, top with chocolate sauce and green mango on the side.

Filipino Food – The Grand Chef Challenge

Chef Mico Galligues

Demi Chef – Radisson Hotel, Dubai

Chef Mico is a junior member of the Emirates Culinary Guild who has joined quite a few competitions in Dubai, including the Salon Culinaire Competition, Junior Chef of the Year, George Foreman Cook Off Challenge, to name a few.

Monumento Duo

Deep-fried crusted quail egg and grilled beef with mayo and spices set on balsamic reduction


*Serves 4


1 dozen peeled hard boiled quail eggs (or chicken eggs)

1 cup flour

1/2 cup water

A few drops of food coloring (orange)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking oil


½ grams leftover roasted striploin

1 thumb sized ginger, finely chopped
4 medium size onion, finely chopped
3-4 pcs siling labuyo, finely chopped
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tbsp peppercorn
3 pcs bayleaf
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Coarsely ground pepper and salt to taste

Balsamic Reduction

3 cups chicken broth or fish broth

2 tbsp chopped dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms

2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 large garlic clove, chopped

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp butter

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:  Kwek-Kwek – Put the quail eggs in a clean plastic bag/zip lock, with 1/4 cup flour. Shake them until eggs are evenly coated. Mix all remaining ingredients except cooking oil. Mix into a smooth batter with a whisk or fork.

Put eggs to the batter.  Put enough cooking oil for deep frying in a shallow pan. Heat it.  Spoon out the eggs from the batter and drop into the hot cooking oil.  Cook for about 1 minute or so until the coating is crispy. Dinakdakan – Combine all ingredients and correct the seasoning. Balsamic Reduction – Combine broth and next 3 ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Cook over high heat until reduced by half. Stir in vinegar. Cook until mixture has reduced to about 1/2 cup and has the consistency of a light sauce.

Remove from heat, strain and return to pan. Whisk in butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chef Roland Garcia

Junior Sous Chef, Shangri-La Hotel – Dubai

Chef Roland Garcia is in-charge of garde manger and butchery at the Shangri-La Hotel Dubai and has lead the Room Service Kitchen for almost three years. Chef Roland gained his culinary skills when he travelled and worked with the finest chefs from all over the world.

Winter Chicken Tinola with Spanish Courgette, Lemongrass, Bokchoy and Fried Ginger


80 grams chicken breast

250 ml chicken stock

50 grams zucchini/courgette

1 piece lemongrass

2 stalks bokchoy

40 grams ginger

20 grams spring onions

1 piece rice paper

15 ml fish sauce

10 grams red chilli

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation: Make a clear chicken stock in a sauce pan with lemongrass, ginger, spring onions and chicken bones.  Cut the chicken breast in cubes and use the lemongrass stick as the skewer. Strain the stock and transfer in another pan. Simmer the stock and poach the skewered chicken together with the bokchoy. Season to taste and add the julienne courgette wrapped in rice paper like a pouch, securing it by spring onion knot. Serve piping hot with fried julliene ginger on the soup and fish sauce with chopped red chili and chopped spring onion as condiments.