After epic cook-offs and exciting stall visits, ten of the best street food cooks clashed one last time at the grand finals of SM Hypermarket Best Pinoy Street Food where they fought to impress, not only the top food critics and Chef Boy Logro but also, a hundred other people in attendance; the likes of those who eat their dishes every day.
The top ten contestants faced a two-part challenge pushing them to their limits. As street food cooks, they’re only as good as their most critical customer which is why Chef Boy Logro’s first challenge was to pair up and cook a noodle based dish of their choice for 100 people. Using all their techniques, knowledge, and skills, the top ten gave it their all and cooked pansit that’s nowhere near ordinary.
After 100 people tasted the noodles and voted for their favorite dish, the final four was finally named: Hercules Umali of Star-BAKS Sizzling and Frappe in Quezon City, Jose Nestor Guevara II of Lola Ebeng’s Lugawan & BBQ-han in Las Piñas, Merly Dulay-Co of Merly’s Gotohan in Pasay, and Eloisa Cabrales of Cab’s Burgeria in Batangas.
“Maraming maraming salamat sa SM Hypermarket, di ko inaasahan ito. Akala ko hanggang pagluluto lang ako ng lugaw. Napapagod ako pero ayaw ko sumuko. Kahit di ako manalo basta makasali ako,” said Merly Dulay-Co.
The last but the most challenging according to the final four was Chef Boy’s ultimate challenge which was to recreate his signature “Crepe Surprise,” an interesting kind of crepe filled with cream and seafood. The four were only given 30 minutes everything and merely a spoonful of the crepe to taste. As soon as the timer started, the final four proved why they made it this far as they displayed great presence of mind, effective multitasking, and mad kitchen skills. In the end, it all boiled down to who made the best tasting crepe.
Chef Boy Logro, along with Chef Paulo Sia of Unilever, Chef Niño Logarta of CDO, Chef John Valley of Purefoods, and Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet, tasted each crepe carefully. After thorough discussions and deep thoughts, the judges finally came to a decision to who goes home with an SM Hypermarket business. Jose Nestor Guevara II, a.k.a. Jones jumped high into the air and stomped hard on the stage as soon as his name was called as the first grand champion of the country most epic street food battle ever.
“Elementary pa lang magaling na akong mangopya,” Jones joked but on a more serious note, he explained, “marami kaming street food vendor. Dito (Best Pinoy Street Food) napapakita namin ang galing namin sa pagluluto. Na ang kalidad ng pagkain namin ay di nalalayo ang lasa sa mamahalin.”
Jones is set to operate his very own food stall at SM Hypermarket rent-free for a year as well as take home 100,000 pesos worth of prizes including an SM Prestige Card loaded with points, large food packs, ingredients, cooking equipments, etc. courtesy of SM Hypermarket’s Food Service Center; the perfect source of all HORECA needs.
“Maganda itong ginawa ng SM dahil dapat talaga mabigyang pansin and street food. Unang una, maraming Pilipino ang mahilig sa street food. Mayaman (o) mahirap mahilig nito. Miski ako. Nakalakihan na yan ng masang Pilipino…. We have to inspire them kasi mapagmamalaki talaga ang Pinoy street food,” said Chef Boy Logro.