SM Hypermarket Super Chefs Final 12!

Out of 60 participants only 12 were chosen to battle out for the coveted title of SM Hypermarket Super Chef.

Housewives, culinary academicians, call center agents, kitchen crew members, restaurant owners, bankers, and retirees faced off in live cooking challenges a few weeks ago. The 12 finalists will battle it out in the four final rapid-fire final rounds that will determine who will be hailed as the SM Hypermarket Super Chef.  To make the competition more intense, the challenges will be televised over the Asian Food Channel.

Eddieson de Ocampo, Reynilo Peña, Aiza Mesina and Dante Cabalona compose the Northern SM Hypermarket branches.

Eddieson de Ocampo is a former champion of 2009’s Super Chef Challenge and a college professor who teaches HRM and Culinary Studies at Fernandez College in Baliwag. Finalists Reynilo Peña from North Harbor and Dante Cabalona from Marilao share a profession – both are successful carinderia owners who are seeking to make their mark on the Filipino culinary scene. Aiza Mesina is a professional events coordinator.  One of the youngest competitors at 22, Aiza dreams of owning her own food business someday.

SM Hypermarket Super Chefs - 6 of Final 12

Aiza Mesina, Angelo Cervantes, Islagel Gellidon, Eric Dizon, Dante Cabalona, and Eddieson de Ocampo (L-R, T-B)

Chefs from the Southern division of branches comprise of Islagel Gellidon, Leah Alava, Angelo Cervantes, and Louie Dumangas.

Some people were practically born with a spatula in their hands, like Islagel Gellidon, who learned the art from her grandmother and has pursued this passion and owns and operates a catering business while passing on the tricks of the trade to other aspiring entrepreneurs as a TESDA trainer.

Leah Alava, a homemaker with four children, attributes her ever-improving skill in the kitchen to her kids’ unbiased judgment of her cooking.

Angelo Cervantes’ family’s construction business specializes in the perfect mix of concrete, stone, and steel, but he would much rather concentrate on the perfect blend of spices for the dishes he whips up with a BA in HRM the College of St. Benilde.

Las Piñas branch representative Louie Dumangas is no stranger to the professional kitchen, having learned how to cook in his parents’ carinderia and then going on to become a line chef at TGIFriday’s.

To completing the roster for the Super Chef competition are the four chefs from the Central District branches, namely Mark Anthony Mejino, Eric Dizon, Josephine Portulin, and Roselle Manzano.

Mark Anthony Mejino is a culinary student of the Culinary Institute of Aristocrat, and at the tender age of 24, had already studied in Macau and worked there at an Italian restaurant.

Eric Dizon is currently the Assistant Head Chef at Gerry’s Grill Pasig who begun his cooking career with his first job at Ihaw-Ihaw along Tomas Morato when he was only 22.  Although he began his restaurant career as a busboy, Eric requested a transfer to the kitchen, and the rest is history.  Next year, diners at Gerry’s Grill Makati will hopefully have the pleasure of being able to sample his cooking, as he was offered to be the restaurant’s new Head Chef when the management found out he made it to the finals.

Josephine Portulin is an educator from Lucena, majoring in Economics. When she discovered that she has a gift for cooking, it wasn’t always smooth sailing – in fact, it was an employer’s negative feedback about her cooking that inspired Josephine to study cooking in earnest and improve her dishes.

The final finalist is no stranger to competition.  Eton branch’s representative, Roselle Manzano, won 3rd place at ABS-CBN’s National Food Showdown in September 2009, whipped up an amazing chicken burger that bagged first place at the Healthy Heart cooking competition held by the Philippine Heart Association, and won 3rd place for her ham sauce in Purefoods Ham Millenium Contest.   A dietician and a nutritionist, she works as a corporate chef at Trilogy.

SM Super Chef Finalists

Leah Alava, Josephine Portulin, Roselle Mendoza, Reynilo Peña, Louie Dumangas, and Mark Anthony Mejino (L-R, T-B)

The battle to become a star of Filipino cuisine is on! Catch SM Hypermarket’s Super Chef Challenge every Wednesday on the Asian Food Channel (AFC) beginning August 25 at 6:30 PM with host Chef Tristan Encarnacion. It has replays on Saturdays at 6:00 pm.