And the Winners of the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition 2017 are…

You can now apply for the Ultimate Taste Test Masters Edition to be held on November 15 2018!  oap-utt-5967 We have finally successfully completed the first Pro Edition of the longest running Taste Test Event in the Philippines, now on its 15th cycle in 9 years. I’m so happy that we were able to discover deserving start-up food entrepreneurs whose Food Business Dreams we will help make a reality! Thank you to Foodee Global Concepts, our long-time sponsor and partner San Miguel Lifestyle Brews, our partner venue Glorietta & Ayala MallsGlobe Studios, and our lovely host Patti Grandidge-Herrera for taking this historic food taste event to the next level. This was literally the Best UTT Ever, with a well-curated list of start-up food entrepreneurs and an awesome line-up of new food discoveries. And the Winners of the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition 2017 are…   Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition Series: And the Winners of the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition are… A Foodie’s Guide to the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition 2017! Announcing…Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition: “Making Your Food Business Dreams a Reality!” Ultimate Taste Test Judges.jpg We conducted Taste Test Auditions last August 17 & 18 at Todd English Food Hall to finalize the line-up for the main event.   Ultimate Taste Test Auditions.jpg Globe Studios produced the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition Video Series that documents the entire journey of the Food Start-up Entrepreneurs.   oap-utt-5969 The first ever UTT Pro Edition was held last Sept 2-3, 2017 at the high-traffic Glorietta Activity Center Palm Drive.   20170902_142553.jpg This year’s event was spread out over two days. We invited the public to buy from all the stalls. Lines at the cashiers got pretty long at around lunch time!   oap-utt-5901 We had a solid panel of judges for the UTT Pro Edition: Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, Eric Dee of Foodee Global Concepts, Chara Ocampo of Globe, and Jessica Santos of Ayala Malls. Hosting this year was the ever gorgeous and fellow food enthusiast, Patti Grandidge-Herrera.   oap-utt-6432 The criteria to determine the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition Champion are: • TASTE (40%) – Foodies with a passport helped in rating each vendor from a scale of 1 to 5 (highest). • BRANDING/CONCEPT (30%) – The Expert Panel of Judges evaluated each vendor and rated their branding, concept, and business viability. • BUSINESS POTENTIAL (30%) – The People voted with their money and determined the business potential of the concept. The UTT Pro Edition Champion will get a P5 Million food investment from Foodee Global Concepts, a guaranteed spot in any Ayala Mall, and a marketing feature from Our Awesome Planet. We also recognized the top winners in each criterion as Foodies’ Choice, Judges’ Choice, and People’s Choice.   1. PIZZA GRIGLIATA MANILA (Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition Champion) Foodie Rating: 4.0 Judges Score: 99.8% People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #10  PizzaGrigliata.jpg Pizza Grigliata Manila by Isabel Cortez-Co and Chef Emman Galvez created an innovative Italian Pizza with a secret dough, grilled using Breville, and topped with flavorful ingredient combinations. The brand started just last March of 2017 as Pizza Yolo with their first Bazaar at The Grove Rockwell, followed by The Organic Market, Katipunan Weekend Market, and The Gourmand Market.   C0004T01-2.jpg The Bianca Quatro Formaggi was the Foodie’s favorite, made with Squid Ink thin crust dough and topped with Four Cheeses with Truffle Oil. It is best paired with their signature Honey Chili sauce! This pizza plays with all your senses–the color of the dough, smell of the truffle oil, and the richness of the four cheese married in perfect harmony.   20170903_202323_HDR.jpg It’s quite an achievement for this 6-month food startup to win against the best home-based food entrepreneurs in Manila! I’m excited for what happens next! Pizza Grigliata Manila Facebook: pizzaYOLO.Manila Instagram: @pizzagrigliata.manila   20170902_121932.jpg Aidan is now taller than Richie of The Pickiest Eater, so we have to create a new photo tradition with Yugi Boy.   2. AUNTIE MAY’S (Foodie’s Choice Winner) The Foodies’ Vote award is given to the vendor who received the highest rating from the foodies with a passport. Foodie Rating: 4.0 Judges Score: 94.8%  People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #6  oap-utt-6126 Auntie May’s by Bon and May Reyes serves home-cooked dishes using original and inherited recipes. They are famous for their Angus Beef Salpicao, U.S. Beef Tapa, Escargot, and Callos. They now have a Heat & Eat concept serving Grilled Blue Marlin, Grilled Salmon, Tenderloin Steak, Bulalo Steak, Adobong Pusit, Ginataang Tulingan, Pork Embutido, Fish Laing, Gambas, Lengua, and Kalitiran, just to name a few.   DSC00146.jpg I remember when the judges tasted the Angus Salpicao, Callos, and Adobo sa Gata–everyone was raving about it! I don’t really like the texture of Callos, but Auntie May’s version is so addicting that it will convert you to a Callos lover.   oap-utt-6412 Their concept was born in the Ultimate Taste Test 5 in 2010 and won in UTT 13 in 2015 at Ayala Malls. Now, they’ve finally won the overall spot in the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition! There is a reason why Auntie May’s continues to win year after year. The warmth in her voice as she welcomes you into their booth and carefully explains how she came up with all the dishes is inspiring in itself, but it is her food that will make you stay. Auntie May’s Facebook: Auntie May’s Instagram: @auntiemays   20170902_133024.jpg Congratulations, Auntie May’s, from all the foodies in Manila!   3. TED’S CHEESECAKE (People’s Choice Best Seller in Peso Sales) The Peoples’ Choice award is given to the vendor that makes the most Peso Sales for the duration of the event. Foodie Rating: 3.9 Judges Score: 85% People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #1  oap-utt-6160 Ted’s Cheesecake is a Bibingka-inspired cheese cake with salted egg showcasing sustainable local produce such as the Santa Cruz kesong puti and itlog na maalat from the Sta. Cruz, Laguna farms. It’s decadent, not too sweet, and best of all, proudly represents Filipino flavors. The word love is an understatement for how we feel about this dessert!   oap-utt-6061 The Story of Ted’s Kitchen by Gel Salonga 5 years ago, when I went back from Singapore as a financial trader, my brother, Chef Day Salonga, thought of putting up our own restaurant in Santa Cruz, Laguna–Ted’s Kitchen, which will offer comfort food or food that we grew up with. During that time, I was in between jobs and really wanted to try something new–and this was baking. Baking and Finance are very similar as both require everything to be exact and that made it very appealing to me. This is why I made the transition from being a trader to a full-time baker.  Ted’s Kitchen Facebook: Ted’s Laguna   4. BROKEN OVEN (Judge’s Choice Winner) The Judges’ winner was based on the business viability of the concept. We looked for what we can turn into a successful enterprise quickly in a few months. Foodie Rating: 3.2 Judges Score: 90.8% People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #13  Industrie Food Loft The Story of The Broken Oven by Kyla Olives Two years ago, Marco Olives (my brother) started The Olive Treat (delivery based business) and he was known most for his Slow Roasted Pork Belly. It was a favorite for Christmas meals, office blow-outs, family dinners, or potluck events. During Christmas week, because of a crazy amount of orders we had of the Pork Belly, our oven conked out. My brother had to manually turn the bellies in the baking oven in our house. It was a lot of work but our clients were still happy! When our friends approached us with a space in Industrie Food Loft, we decided that we wanted to come up with a concept that is approachable but deadly good and a little crazy. Something that makes #thebrokendiet worth it! We chose the name The Broken Oven because (fingers crossed) years from now, when we are already successful, we want to look back at where we started; plus the name is easy to remember. On another note, since we are not professionally trained chefs, we feel like the idea of going crazy in the kitchen and recreating dishes are perfectly encapsulated in that name.   oap-utt-6065 Broken Oven’s Sisig Kaninballs and Truffle Lechon Kaninballs won the heart and minds of the judges. The balls look like the Italian arancini or the Japanese onigiri rice balls, but packed with Filipino rice and flavors. A serving of three pieces may seem like such a small meal, but the richness of the flavors and the density of the balls will make you feel full in no time. The Broken Oven Facebook: The Broken Oven Instagram: @thebrokenovenspecials   20170902_120659.jpg Thank you, Chef Shar, for coming with the San Miguel Lifestyle Brews ladies!     oap-utt-6027 Thank you to GK Enchanted Farm for showcasing 6 strong food concepts this year with Karabella, Calaboo, First Harvest, OhGK!, Puto ni Papa, and The Make Peace Bakery!   5. KARABELLA Foodie Rating: 3.64 Judges Score: 94.9% People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #16  oap-utt-6018 Karabella ice cream is made from fresh carabao’s milk and 100% locally-sourced ingredients from GK Enchanted Farm. Foodies were raving about this year’s selection of Salted Egg Caramel and Tablea Chocolate. But my personal favorite is the Leche Flan with Sake from their secret menu. They introduced the product last year and was one of the Top 10 winners at Ultimate Taste Test 2016.   UTT14 The Story of Karabella by Erika Ng Wong Karabella, from the term “Caraballa” (female carabao), is a social enterprise with the GK Enchanted Farm that lives to offer fresh, healthy, nutritious, real, and exciting dairy products for everyone. With our core motto of “walang iwanan”, we aim to significantly uplift our farmers’ lives by creating shared value products and selling them at a fair price. We proudly use 100% fresh carabao milk with the best natural ingredients sourced from other social entrepreneurs and our local farmers to help them have sustainable incomes. We create honest to goodness real dairy products with no vegetable oil such as fresh milk, ice cream, leche flan, milkshakes, etc. We are in the business of providing REAL dairy to Filipinos. We make sure that our products are authentic with no other alternative substance that will be harmful to one’s health. We do not use vegetable oil in our dairy products to make them creamier since carabao milk in itself is already very creamy. Our products boast of Filipino ingenuity as reflected in our flavors, but we also look into the flavors of the world to complement our products. Aside from tasting really good, we are a social enterprise and are committed to working towards the betterment of the lives of our dairy farmers. Karabella Facebook: Karabella Dairy Instagram: @karabelladairy   Bacon-Tocino Congratulations to the new Bacon Tocino product of Jam Foods, that no less than Dedet, the Lechon Diva, was raving about! They are famous for their Angus Beef Tapa (UTT 4 Winner) and Angus Beef Salpicao (UTT 5 Winner).   6. CALABOO Foodie Rating: 3.94 Judges Score: 89.1% People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #21  oap-utt-6187 CalaBoo Creamery by Marie Cavosora is a Social Enterprise by GK Enchanted Farm in partnership with the Philippine Carabao Center, which aims to fulfill the Filipino dream of ending poverty for smallholder farmers by producing proudly Filipino farm fresh milk from grass-fed carabao products that are naturally healthy and yummy! Butter made from carabao cream, live cultures, and salt was the star product of GK enterprise, Calaboo. Fondly called Boolala Bootter, this European-style cultured butter was made with local love. The milk from grass-fed carabaos has a higher nutritional value than that of cows. Thicker than your daily butter, Boolala Bootter can be enjoyed on its own or spread on warm toast. Read More: CALABOO: Awesome Carabao Milk Butter & Premium Carabao Cheese! @GawadKalingaHQ   oap-utt-6123 “We wanted to bring the goodness of yogurt as an after-meal treat because it helps with digestion. But since we also want it be sweet like any self-respecting dessert, we decided to adorn it with a Lacy Lemon Boo, a Filipino version of the French tuile, with a tropical twist made with CalaBoo butter, coco sugar, raw honey, and organic Philippine lemon. This “Boo” represents our delicious CalaBooration with Teacher Ann Abacan, a chef and nutritionist, who was also a former UTT winner! Foodies will love it because beyond a guilt-free treat, it’s a deeply satisfying indulgence.” – Marie, Founder of Calaboo Calaboo Facebook: Calaboo Instagram: @calabooph   San-Miguel-Beer All UTT tickets purchased by those of legal drinking age came with a stub for free draft beer by San Miguel Lifestyle Brews. Thank you to San Miguel Super Dry, Premium All Malt, and Cerveza Negra for always supporting UTT ever since we started!   7. BAKMI NYONYA  Foodie Rating: 3.89 Judges Score: 85.8% People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #9  oap-utt-6090 Bakmi Nyonya by Gerswhin and Lucy Garcia serves one of the best authentic Indonesian Food in Manila! They won as the overall winner of The Next Big Food Entrepreneur 2014 and Ultimate Taste Test 2015 with their Bakmi Ayam and Sate Babi. oap-utt-5918 Lucy is proud to share her Indonesian heritage with the Filipino crowd by serving generous portions of Beef Rendang Java and Sate Ayam with a sprinkle of her happy vibes. Bakmi Nyonya Instagram: @bakmi_nyonya   oap-utt-6073 Thank you, Chef Carlo Miguel for dropping by and always supporting Ultimate Taste Test each year!   8. FIRST HARVEST  Foodie Rating: 3.9 Judges Score: 89.1% People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #11 UTTEvent (39 of 44) The Story of First Harvest by Tajen Sui Tajen Sui, the founder of the Social Enterprise, was a full-time mission worker for Gawad Kalinga. He was based in GK Enchanted Farm and managed the operations of its farm-to-table restaurant. However, he witnessed first hand how such restaurant operations were precarious to the flow of visitors, where as if there were none, there would be no revenue source to provide continuous opportunities and sustainable livelihood for the Gawad Kalinga (GK) beneficiaries.  Working with the mothers, he found out that they were adept in making their own jams, spreads, and preserves, but that they need help from learned people with marketing, branding, operations, quality assurance, supply chain, and finance. This is also the picture that the rest of the Philippines has–that we are abundant with human talent and natural resources, but there is the missing middle who would be willing to work with them. First Harvest aims to bridge this gap. To date, the team employs 18 individuals, 3 of which are scholars of GK.   oap-utt-6182 First Harvest won in UTT 2015 with their Peanut and Coco Jam Spreads and launched their first premium line at UTT Pro Edition. Cashew Bliss is a premium nut butter made only from the best cashews from Palawan. It’s a little bit on the pricier side, because cashews are not harvested in big batches. The cashew butter delivers great taste and consistency, and goes well with biscuits or fried bananas. This is a better version of Nutella, Speculoos, or Biscoff because if is proudly Philippine-made and supports the GK community! First Harvest Instagram: @firstharvest Read More: FIRST HARVEST: Natural, Healthy & Yummy Peanut and Coco Jam Spreads @GawadKalinga!   oap-utt-6072 We even had a foodie who flew in all the way from Cebu! Thank you, Susan, for supporting Ultimate Taste Test!   9. OINK OINK  Foodie Rating: 3.8 Judges Score: 86.8% People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #8 oap-utt-6083 The Story of Oink Oink by Isaiah Ortega Oink Oink was a food concept that I created back in 2009, my initial target was college students and people within the university belts. I tried applying for a spot on the weekend markets in Makati but got rejected due to the reason of the brand name Oink Oink having a negative impression. I also applied for Mercato and after the taste test never got a feedback.  Fast-forward to 2017 I partnered up with a close friend who wanted to try out the food businesses and we got accepted in Robinsons forum. The lechon bagnet was a hit since day 1, people lined up for the first week, and I thought it was just because we were new and it’s normal, but until this day sales just kept improving. We’ve established ourselves as a clear competitor to the market considering that this is just a start-up.   oap-utt-5909 Lechon and Bagnet as one dish sound like a heart attack waiting to happen, but the guys from Oink Oink think that there are days when you just have to live a little. Their Lechon Bagnet had a great crunch to it, and the right amount of fat. We loved it, and a lot of the guests loved it too! And the food isn’t the only star here–the duo behind Oink Oink will readily engage you with some jokes as you talk over their food. Oink Oink Lechon Bagnet Facebook: Oink Oink Lechon Bagnet   20170902_142802.jpg Congrats to Connor’s Chicken & Waffles for their successful first venture into the food business in the Ultimate Taste Test!   10. GMCS FARMS (People’s Choice Best Seller in Sales, Runner-Up) Foodie Rating: 3.4 Judges Score: 87.2 % People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #2   oap-utt-6218 GMCS Farms by Angela Yu is a concept born out of surplus. She mentioned that there was one point when there was way too many sardines and mushrooms at their family’s farm, resulting in her coming up with Spanish Sardines and Mushroom Paste. The crispy mushrooms are the perfect alternative if you’re looking for something fried, but with less guilt. Pair it with their spiciest Organic Mushroom Chili Paste, and you’ve got a match made in heaven.   oap-utt-6121 The Story of GMCS Farms by Angela Yu GMCS Farms started out with Spanish Sardines as my first homemade product. This resulted from the nature of the family business which is fishing. I started out with a single variant (Spanish Sardines in Corn Oil, Mild) until I experimented with some ingredients and came up with a few flavors and variants to add. After running a restaurant and spending time in the province, I decided to try my hand at agriculture and that is how the chili and mushroom came about.  With a looming oversupply of raw materials, I started thinking about what I can do with the produce I had in hand and experimented with them. That is how the Chili Mushroom Paste emerged. Other products consequently followed as a result of the overwhelmingly positive response from the people who tried our products. GMCS Farms Facebook: GMCS Farms   oap-utt-6047 Thank you to the KTG for supporting and contributing to the success of the Ultimate Taste Test event! EATSplorations | EATS We Enjoyed at the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition 2017 Food in the Bag ULTIMATE TASTE TEST 2017: The Best One Yet Food Alphabet | Our favorites at Ultimate Taste Test 2017 – Pro Edition! | My Top Picks at the Ultimate Taste Test Edition 2017 ABS-CBN NEWS | 8 top picks for Ultimate Taste Test 2017   11. TAPAddiction (People’s Choice Best Seller in Sales, 2nd Runner-Up) Foodie Rating: 3.5 Judges Score: 80.2% People’s Vote (Pesos): Rank #3 oap-utt-5911 TAPAddiction by Mom’s Breaktime is another UTT veteran. Their signature Tapa Rice Meal made from USDA Premium Beef will have you coming back for more. It’s on the saltier side of the spectrum, but when paired with rice and atsara, the flavors all come to a balance.   oap-utt-6080 The Story of TAPAddiction by Honeylyn B. Agulto Our sole product is USDA Premium Beef Tapa. This product of ours won several awards already. In Sept. 2016 – Ultimate Taste Test 2016, it landed 4th Rank with an average score of 4.17. In June 2016, it was awarded as People’s Choice 2016 in YummyEats Baon Blow-out 2016 by Yummy Magazine. In 2014 it bagged the Grand Prize in Robinson/Unilever Cookfest (Kasalo sa Sarap ng Pamilya). Mom’s Breaktime Instagram: @momsbreaktime   20170902_115151.jpg Teacher Mark of Eatsploration poses with his former Exploration student Aidan Diaz of Our Awesome Planet!   12. BLENDED JUICE AND HERBS (Winning Drink Concept!) oap-utt-6049 Blended Fruits and Herbs is a new natural fruit juice with no preservatives and no food coloring. They combine fruits and herbs to create the juice. They served five different drinks, all a combination of a fruit and an herb: 1.) Hibiscus Passionfruit, 2.) Peach Rosemary, 3.) Citrus Ginger, 4.) Wintermelon Lemongrass, and 5.) Lychee Pandan The Gen X favorite was the Citrus Ginger, the Millennials like the Wintermelon Lemongrass, while Gen Z, our kid’s favorite was the Lychee Pandan. Blended Juice and Herbs Instagram: @blended.juice   20170902_104200.jpg That’s a wrap! Congratulations to all the winners of the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition! This UTT Pro Edition event would not have been possible without the support of our partners: Foodee Global Concepts, San Miguel Lifestyle Brews, Glorietta & Ayala Malls, and Globe Studios. I’m excited about making the Food Business dreams come true for the UTT Pro winners! Watch out for the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition Online Video series by Globe Studios.   Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition Series: And the Winners of the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition are … A Foodie’s Guide to the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition 2017! Announcing…Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition: “Making Your Food Business Dreams a Reality!”   Live an Awesome Life,


Founder,  Disclosure: Our Awesome Planet is the Founder of the Ultimate Taste Test series. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.  P.S. You can now apply for the Ultimate Taste Test Pro Edition 2 to be held in Summer 2018!  Apply here: 

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