JOLLY University Year 4 Grand Cook-Off and Congress

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Kianna recently expressed an interest taking up Hotel and Restaurant Management which veers away from her first interested interest, medicine. It made an invite to be a judge at the Jolly University Year 4 Grand Cook-Off and Congress featuring finalists from 23 different schools across North and South Luzon and Metro Manila even more interesting.
With the theme “It’s More JOLLY in the Philippines”, Jolly University Year 4 featured some of the country’s top industry practitioners and leaders: Leo de Leon of Allegro Beverage, JC Libiran Author of Byahe ni Juan, Marilyn Perion of UCPB, Liza Morales of CCA Manila,  Karla Reyes of La Petite Fromagerie, Nana Ozaeta of Food Magazine, Bryan Kong of Crazy Katsu, Chershire Que (nutritionist), Vberni Regalado of Philippine Star, Jose Mari Oquiñena of Gawad Kalinga, Angelica Atanacio of Anghelica’s Desserts, Kian Kazemi of Persian Grill, Rebecca Lee of, and  Ms. Earth 2015 Angelia Ong.
After grueling weeks of training and preparation, all aspiring student-contenders in the country’s long-running campus-based culinary search, finally showed off their skills at the cook-off at the Le Pavilion Tent in Pasay City.  120 elite finalists prepared their best and most creative JOLLY-inspired dishes to clinch the coveted titles in the following four divisions: Individual Category (featuring Luzon Cuisines made easy, healthy and baon-ready); Team Main Dish Category (Visayas Cuisines Made Easy, Healthy and Jolly); Team Pasta Category (Mindanao Cuisines made Pastariffic) and Team Mocktail Category (Capture the Jolly Vibe of the Philippines in a Sip).
It was my first time to judge a cook-ff and it was both a fun and filling experience. I was assigned to the Pasta category where 10 dishes were prepared all having a local flavor to the theme “Mindanao Cuisines”. Participants were from University of Santo Tomas, La Consolacion College, Far Eastern University, Siena College, Rogationist College, Anihan Technical School, De La Salle University Dasmarinas, and Dr Yanga’s College.
The winning dish! Curacha Fettucini Alavar by La Consolacion College Manila.
Other entries from the Pasta category:
Here’s the full list of Jolly University 4 Congress winners:
Pasta (team): La Consolacion Batangas;
Mocktails (team): Lyceum Subic Bay;
Main Dish (group): La Consolacion Manila;
Main Dish (individual):
2nd runner up La Consolacion College Manila,
1st runner up Manila Tytana Colleges,
Grand winner University of Sto. Tomas.
Audience Choice: La Consolacion Manila
This year’s Jolly University grand winners walked away with Php50,000 worth of cash and prizes, trophies, culinary training workshop under CCA Manila, and an internship program under Fly Ace Corporation where they will receive comprehensive, job-ready skills development training from the industry’s best practitioners.
The JOLLY University Year 4 Congress is made possible with the support of event sponsors CCA Manila, Allegro, Coldstone, Glad, Fujidenzo, Masflex, PLDT HOME Fibr, Robinsons, Technogas, UCPB and Whirlpool and media partners Appetite Magazine, Breakfast Magazine, Cook Magazine, Food Magazine, Chinatown TV, Malaya Business Insight, The Manila Bulletin, Mommy Bloggers Philippines, Philippine Star and
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Ajinomoto Sarsaya Oyster Sauce Recipes

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One of my favorite go to simple dishes are veggies cooked in oyster sauce that’s why I’m always on the look out for oyster sauce recipes.

Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation organized a press conference to announce the launch of its newest product, Sarsaya® Oyster Sauce, and celebrity endorser, Mr. Coco Martin. Sarsaya® Oyster Sauce is concentrated from real oysters, complete with seasonings to provide a delicious blend of savory, sweet and salty taste to any dish.

According to Pen Alvina, Ajinomoto’s Category Manager for Menu Seasonings, “Sarsaya® Oyster Sauce is a unique brand of oyster sauce that is created to suit Filipino taste and preference, making many Filipino dishes like ginisang kangkong and adobo more flavorful and delicious.”

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During the event, a live cooking demonstration and cook-off was facilitated by Chef Mcrhyan Rodrigo. Chef Mac cooked Filipino favorites Ginisarsayang Kangkong with Tokwa and his own recipe, Thai-style Stir Fried Chicken using Sarsaya® Oyster Sauce. Guests were also invited to participate in a cook-off, where they discovered the convenience of using Sarsaya® Oyster Sauce to turn ordinary dishes extra special and flavorful.

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No less than the Primetime King, Mr. Coco Martin, was chosen to endorse Sarsaya® Oyster Sauce. Aside from being a big fan of his grandmother’s cooking, Coco graduated with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Coco claimed, “Kakaiba dahil lasang oyster na oyster!” He loved how Sarsaya® Oyster Sauce can add that delicious and authentic oyster flavor that truly enhances simple dishes.




Sarsaya® Oyster Sauce is available in 30g pack and 156g stand-up pouch. Also try Sarsaya® Sweet and Sour Sauce, available in 200g stand-up pouch, for a delicious blend of pineapple and tomato flavor.

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How to be a Food Blogger

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Food is one of the most photographed subjects and it’s an interesting one at that. The mere look at an enticing food shot can make your tummy grumble and have you drooling. It’s become a running joke that the food gets cold before you get to eat because everyone has to take their pictures. As part of my blogging journey I’ve had the pleasure of being invited to restaurants to try various dishes. This is my take on how to be a food blogger and take food worthy shots.

Now I’d like to clarify that this is a post for those that would like to take attractive shots with minimum effort. I have much respect for those that use DSLRs and are able to set the shots just right fixing the ISO and aperture and all that technical stuff. However I prefer to take point and shoot shots especially when I need to take quick ones.

My first foray into food blogging was an invite from B&P Shaw. As you can see by the shot below it’s dark with no focal point. I used a Sony Cybershot and relied on the auto settings. As I attended more restaurant reviews and practiced I was able to take better pictures. It still required more effort though getting the best lighting possible and adjusting some settings.

At a food tour in Makati I was taking better pictures and learning how to get enticing angles of the dishes being introduced to us. This was taken indoors with adequate lighting but not the best.

Today, I’d like to say I take some pretty impressive shots with my trusty OPPO F1s and all I essentially do is point, tap and shoot. Of course, I still do a bit of assessing angles and seeing what the best position to take would be. More on that below.


What I like about the OPPO F1s is that even indoors in low lighting I get great shots. This was taken at Diana Stalder Gateway and the venue is a little dimmer than usual. However, as you can see the shot is still bright showing the crispness of the veggies. As much as possible I’ll look for the best lighted spot to get a picture. You also can’t be shy about taking a dish and bringing it to a well lighted area or turning the dish a few times for the best capture. Of course, you need to make sure that you consider your fellow bloggers when doing these steps.


My one frustration when taking pictures of food or things is that I don’t know how to do a flat lay. So when it comes to taking food shots I keep it simple and rely on the angles. Popular techniques are taking pictures from above or up close and personal shots which is a personal favorite. Also, something I learned is that it’s better to take shots with the subjects cut off. You don’t necessarily need to capture the whole subject. It’s more pleasing to the eye and gives it a better dynamic. Below you’ll see that the two baskets of fish and chips and onion rings are diagonally placed and the shots are cut off as well as the pizza. Since the wood is a large part of the feel to the picture it’s alright that this image is not bright. It actually sets a mood for the image.


Above all else what you really need to do is practice. You won’t know what the best lighting and angles could be for a picture if you don’t try several shots. I took this shot by a window to get this lighting. I also turned this dish several times and kept taking pictures till I got the one that I felt was right.

Extra Tips

Tap on the screen!

Another way to get a lighted shot is to tap on the screen. You’ll notice that when you tap different areas of the OPPO F1s the picture clarity changes. It can go from dark to light. Tapping on the screen also helps to make sure you get the clearest shot.

Wipe the lens

A simple step but in a rush to take pictures we forget to make sure the lens is clean.

If you’re after capturing clean and crisp food shots the OPPO F1s is one you should consider.

Read up on my overall review of the OPPO F1s!

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