After a long day at Smorgasburg, Neil and his team packed up and headed to his alma mater, the Institute of Culinary Education, to compete in a Filipino food competition to help raise money for elementary school nutrition programs in the Philippines. Hosted by the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, this Salu Salo event was something we were really excited to support, as the organization builds bio-intensive gardens in rural areas of the Philippines. Cooking alongside the talented chefs of Maharlika and Masarap, we created dishes that were inspired by the vegetables the students grow.
For all the guests that attended the event, we passed around small plates of our original pork lumpia and then served 3 courses for the table of judges. First round, we had to serve a rice or noodle based dish. Ours was a salmon sinigang ramen– so delicious! Second round had to be inspired by street food, so Neil created something based off of his time spent in Binondo, the “chinatown” of Manila– a trio of faux-balut, shrimp ball, and banana cue. Lastly, for the third round traditonally-inspired dish, he served his all-time favorite of heritage pork belly adobo.
Although we love making lumpia shanghai and going to Smorgasburg every weekend, this was great for Neil to be able to showcase some of the other things he can cook. Overall, we had a lot of fun coming up with these unique and creative dishes while supporting a good cause. We won the judges’ votes and are headed to San Francisco next month to compete in the next competition!