As part of Laurel Batangas’ weeklong 50th Founding Anniversary with the theme ‘Tilapia Festival 2019’, they held a cooking competition a la Master Chef, where I, together with two other colleagues got a chance to witness and judge this gastronomic experience.

I have had a chance to judge singing contests but this is my first time with a cooking competition. I love to cook. My son always tells me that I could be a great chef too. And, I also watch Gordon Ramsay’s show so I told myself, that this is going to be a ‘piece of cake’. Or so I thought.

The contest has 2 divisions: Senior and Junior where yes, the senior competitors are skilled home chefs. Those who have in one way or the other made a living out of their passion for cooking; and the juniors (in pairs) which are High School students from their provincial school.

They will all cook dishes from the following categories: Pasta Dish, Asian Fusion, and Creative Dish, with their own Tilapia as the main ingredient. Per category gives them only 30 seconds to finish their masterpieces.

After just the first category where we tasted and checked what they have produced, I had a headache because the dishes were so yummy! I am also at awe on how the students prepared for this competition as these kids I think can make a living out of it.

But in any competition, there will only be one winner. Below you will find out who among the contestants claimed the titles and became Laurel’s first-ever tilapia master chefs.

The competitors with Redge, master of ceremonies
Junior Division winner
Senior Division winner Chef Thomas with the judges.
Junior Division winning entry


Chef Thomas’ winning dish Fried Tilapia in Mango Salsa wrapped in Lettuce


Chef Jules’ Sisig Tilapia


Chef Ellen’s creation

Here’s the line-up of activities until today.