Funlasang Pinoy Year 2 concluded with 3 strong winners who competed in 3 key cities all over the country, each coming up with incredible twists on a classic Filipino favourite. These winning professionals had their own inspirations and creativity to attribute their ideas to, and they all made sure that their passion really shone in their dishes.
Chef Nikko Roa – Toasted Quinoa Vegan Sisig
From the Luzon leg of the competition, the winner is Chef Nikko Roa from Metro Manila with his “Toasted Quinoa Vegan Sisig”. He is a 35-year-old sous chef at Hizon’s Catering – a classic catering company that had him assigned to service banquets and events at Manila Polo Club, the country’s most exclusive and prestigious membership club. He developed his cooking style by compiling everything he learned from his mother, school, and work experience.
He’s worked for multiple hotels and restaurants over the years, and all of the skills he picked up culminated in his creation of his unique dish. He shared with us that for his entry, he wanted to come up with something no one has thought of – and that was to turn the popular non-vegan dish, sisig, into a vegan one. He did R&D until he perfected the flavour and the textures he wanted to achieve, and made sure that the ingredients he used were also vegan.
He discovered that Knorr Tamarind Soup Base and Knorr Liquid Seasoning were both vegan-friendly and created a unique kick and flavour when combined. And lastly, by substituting pork with mushrooms and egg with tofu, he was able to replicate the same textures and you find in traditional sisig with an elevated flavour and style.
Chef Nico Julius Joson – Adobecue
From the Visayas leg, it’s Chef Nico Julius Joson, hailing from Cebu with his winning dish, “Adobecue”. He is a 24-year-old cook at Pontanar’s Canteen, a local family-run business located at Freedom Park Cebu that has been running for 30 years. There, they serve Filipino staples such as giniling, monggo, pinakbet, nilaga, and many more. He learned to cook from his mother, whose home-cooked pinakbet inspired him to learn to cook. This led him to pursuing his passion for the culinary arts professionally where he picked up even more skills along the way.
For this competition, he decided to use adobo as a base because he had experimented with grilling it. He discovered that it elevated the taste and texture of the adobo, giving it a distinct barbecue flavour. When Knorr Liquid Seasoning came into play, he noticed that it became more flavourful versus regular soy sauce, and that’s when he realised it was the perfect twist.
Chef Benje Gaviola – Lechon Sisig Kilawin in Puff Pastry
And last but not the least, from Mindanao, the winner is Chef Benje Gaviola from Cagayan De Oro with his dish, “Lechon Sisig Kilawin in Puff Pastry”. Chef Gaviola is a 41-year-old chef de cuisine at Kave Restaurant located in the Limketkai Luxe Hotel where he creates the menu. He decided to pursue a career in the culinary industry because he believes in the saying that if you’re a good cook, you’ll be inspired your whole life. And true enough, Chef Benje gets his inspiration from all his experiences, especially from the executive chefs he’s worked with.
For his competition entry, he took inspiration from sinuglaw, a popular kilawin appetiser in CDO. And working in a hotel, he also noticed that the lechon head is always a buffet leftover which ends up becoming paksiw. From here, he put together the idea of creating a sisig kilawin using Knorr Liquid Seasoning and Knorr Rostip Seasoning Powder in the marinade, producing very savoury flavours. He always believes in using seasonal ingredients and elevating them in order to constantly create something new.
Just like our winning chefs, keep creating twists on your usual dishes and surprise yourself with the new flavours that you can produce! Stay tuned to this page for the recipes so you can try them for yourself or explore other recipes here in our website.