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19 May 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A wide array of Philippine ingredients and products will be co-starring with Chef Claude Tayag and Filipino master mixologist Enzo Lim at the 8th Annual Embassy Chef Challenge that will be held on 25 May 2016 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

A first time competitor in the Challenge, Chef Claude Tayag will present a Filipino version of the arroz valenciana, famously known as paella, under the theme, “Flavors of the Philippines”.

The Philippine fiesta rice dish originated from Pampanga, which is considered to be the Philippines’ “culinary capital”. The dish is a well-known symbol of Filipino hospitality as it is among the great tasting Kapampangan delicacies that are usually served to large groups.

The dish will be paired with a cocktail especially prepared by renowned Filipino mixologist and restaurateur Enzo Lim.

The dish-beverage pairing will not only celebrate the unique flavors of Philippine cuisine and showcase Philippine food culture, but also promote Philippine ingredients and products to international audiences.

For the Embassy Chef Challenge, Chef Claude Tayag will use bangus (milkfish) as the featured seafood that will go along with the glutinous rice (malagkit), coconut milk, turmeric powder, quail eggs and other spices and seasonings such as fish sauce, onion, garlic, and red bell pepper.

Bangus is considered by most Filipinos as the “national fish” and is available just about everywhere in the Philippines and in most Asian markets in the United States. It can be cooked in soups (sinigang), stewed in vinegar (paksiw), fried, grilled, barbecued, stuffed, and marinated in vinegar and spices and fried (dinaing).

Coconut milk is another main ingredient that will add flavor to the glutinous rice. It is prepared using a significant amount of refined coconut meat and coconut water.

Coconut products, such as coconut milk, are among the country’s top exports and coconut production remains to be one significant driver of the Philippine economy.

The spices and seasonings, particularly the turmeric powder (luya) completes the distinct color and appetizing flavor of the rice dish.

Enzo Lim’s special cocktail will feature the juice of the calamansi or Philippine lime. Calamansi is widely cultivated in the Philippines used primarily in cooking and in producing cold drinks. Similar to the bangus and other ingredients, calamansi juice is available in select stores in the United States.

The Embassy Chef Challenge is a Cultural Tourism DC signature event that brings together top culinarians from around the world. Participating chefs will compete for the Judges' Choice and People's Choice Awards, the latter being selected by the guests at the event.

Tickets to the Embassy Chef Challenge are $65 at www.eventsdcembassychefchallenge.com.

"Flavors of the Philippines," a joint project of the Philippine Embassy, Philippine Trade and Investment Center and Office of the Agricultural Attaché in Washington D.C., is generously supported by the US-Philippines Society, Philippine Airlines, Seafood City Supermarket, and 13 Degrees North. ###