Cooking made them feel they belong, said one of the inmate- contest of the Iron Bar Chef Bilibid Cooking Showdown.
Who would have thought a cooking event could happen inside the New Bilibid Prison?
It was my first time to visit Bilibid’s Maximum Security Prison and this was indeed memorable because I had the chance to mingle with people who have served most of their lives inside the prison.
The cooking showdown was through the effort of NBP Director Gaudencio Pangilinan and company who continues to support the inmates towards self-renewal.
There were 6 teams in the challenge – three from the minimum security prison 1) Team YumYum 2) Team Nangit 3) Team Sarap and another three teams from the maximum security prison 4) Team Lolo Pogi 5) Team Planet 6) Team Uban
Judges were composed of Atty Jayrous Villanueva, Dra. Ruth Algones, Joseph San Diego, Mac Oroza and Millie Morales. The official tabulator is Robert San Diego and the Chairman of the Board of Judges was Executive Chef Gene Beltrado.
In one hour the inmates took the edge to show their talent in cooking using limited ingredients inside the mystery bayong.
From the scarcity of ingredients alone, you can definitely tell how resourceful the inmates were to produce their best recipes. And I was awed with their skills not only in food preparation but also in plating. Wow!
Team Lolo Pogi bagged the Third Prize; Team Planet for the Second Prize and the champion was Team Uban who will compete with the iron chef champion from the Women’s Correctional.
The inmates life stories were as colorful as their food decoration and as sumptuous as the recipe they prepared. Chicken soup for the soul, indeed.
This activity helps develop the inmates skills in cooking and personality development too. Definetely, they can use this in their future career outside the prison.