Saturday, September 4, 2021

Taking Culinary Education a Step Further in the New Normal with the USDA American Lamb Virtual Challenge by CCA Manila

The sweeping and transformative impact of the quarantine experience continues to change our daily routine resulting in unique challenges. This includes culinary education, when face-to-face instruction remains restricted due to the rising cases in a lingering pandemic. CCA Manila, the pioneer culinary school in the country takes the lead once more with innovative solutions for the new normal... 


The seamless weave of industry, education and innovation come together in a relevant and meaningful expression of CCA Manila's vision of fulfilling culinary dreams by providing excellent culinary education and social, leadership values among CCA's communities. As the enduring institution celebrates it's milestone 25th anniversary this year, CCA Manila continues its pioneering spirit with the implementation of unique and creative ways of teaching in a difficult new normal. In collaboration with the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), CCA Manila recently conducted the USDA American Lamb Virtual Challenge using premium USDA Lamb Riblets as part of its thrust on continuous learning even in these trying times. Here's an insider behind the scenes look at the unique virtual competition...


Lamb riblets are small rib bones offering rich flavors and ideal for a variety of cooking methods such as roasting and braising used in Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and if done creatively, even Filipino cuisine. The versatility of the lesser known cut of lamb was recently showcased at the CCA Manila USDA American Lamb Virtual Challenge in a wide range of executions prepared by CCA students and alumni in three categories namely, Western Cuisine Main Course, Asian Cuisine Appetizer and Filipino Cuisine Spread. In addition to the proper skill-based execution of culinary techniques, each dish will also be judged on modern-style presentation, scalability or easily recreated for restaurant or banquet style service, numerical harmonizing of proteins and garnishes, practical portion sizes and appropriate color, presentation and flavor combinations (for the full American Lamb Virtual Challenge contest mechanics, visit the CCA Manila website at https://cca-manila.edu.ph/american-lamb-virtual-challenge-2021/).


The entries submitted that day presented the limitless possibilities with USDA Lamb riblets. CCA Manila Culinary Director Chef Philip John Golding led the panel of judges along with Chef Jasper Versoza, CCA Manila Program Manager and Chef Miguel Antonio Lorino, CCA Manila Full-Time Chef Instructor last August 28 at the Eastwood Richmonde Hotel


The virtual online format of the competition meant submissions had to be delivered to the judging venue at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, and packaging became an important consideration to preserve and maintain the flavors and textures of the dish. The challenges of the new normal demand new ways of doing things, a new playbook for the times. CCA Manila responds to the times with innovation taking culinary education a step further keeping it real and relevant amidst the pandemic. 


Straight from riders of delivery providers and in some cases by the contestants themselves, the entries arrived at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel in time for the judging... 


The creative packaging used by the contestants was a preview to the creative and inventive twists and infinite possibilities with USDA lamb riblets... 


...starting with the entries for the Asian Cuisine Appetizer category like Hoisin Peanut Lamb Sliders and Lamb Rib Dumpling Appetizer... 


...to Lamb Curry with Parsley Mint Sauce and Pita Bread delicately packed and intricately arranged to impress.


Layered and complex Asian flavors are the inspiration for the Lamb Rendang Pick-Me-Ups with tasty savory notes,,,


...while the Chinese Lamb Barbecue in Charcoal Bao Buns, Red Cabbage Slaw with Ginger Scallion Ponzu and Edamame Puree released its fragrant aroma...


...straight from the Hot Box. The entries for the Asian Appetizers category revealed interesting ideas on the versatility of USDA lamb riblets with its deep savory flavors to complement any culinary style or dish.  


CCA Chefs Jasper Versoza and Miguel Antonio Lorino discuss the merits of each dish...


...as Chef Philip John Golding adds his own inputs rounding out the technical aspects with a personal experience with each dish. But that's just the first part, with even more dishes to taste and judge. The judging continued with the entries for the savory Western Cuisine Main Course and Filipino Cuisine Spread...


...like the Dukkah and Sumac Crusted Lamb Riblets...


...and hearty Lamb Ragu...


...and Asian Braised Lamb Riblets, Grilled Lamb Riblets and Sticky Lamb Ribs with Pulled Lamb Tikka Masala, Golgappa Puri and Lamb Korokke


Fond childhood memories become the inspiration for a uniquely local dish, the fork-tender and fall-off-the-bone Humba served with Sipo Egg and Bringhe for a sumptuous all-Filipino spread. 


The Lamb Ca├žoila with Milho Frito and Sauteed Vegetables delivered deep savory notes with marinated lamb served with Piri-Peri sauce and Madeira Fried Cornmeal


The sumptuous Filipino Festival Lamb Dish with grilled lamb riblets in garlic coconut cream sauce served with sweet lamb flakes on noodles is a medley of fresh local flavors... 


...while the Lamb Sausage with Brown Rice Pilaf and Sauteed Cab presented yet another creative spin to lamb with its own distinctive flavors. From global to local flavors, the entries submitted for the CCA Manila USDA American Lamb Virtual Challenge was a tasty and impressive snapshot of the diverse talents and creativity of the CCA community. 


Masterfully executed, the USDA Lamb Riblets from the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) provided the flavorful base for a selection of inspired dishes at the CCA Manila USDA American Lamb Virtual Challenge


The versatility of the USDA Lamb Riblet was also highlighted in the competition lending well to a variety of cooking techniques and cuisines that you can replicate at home. 


The toughest part of the competition was about to begin, as the panel of judges discuss each entry for the final tally.


Culinary education at its highest level continues at CCA Manila with innovative ways to promote continuous learning. The collaboration with the US Meat Export Federation is just one of many unique activities bringing synergy to the industry and education sector in a new normal that's here to stay. And the results also reveal the quality and creativity of the institution's proud community.


The points are all added up and finalized for further review, with the results released at a later date. With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, it's reassuring to witness and experience culinary creativity even in these uncertain times.  


Culinary education continues with new ways to connect and engage with its growing community. And the winner? You'll soon find out on September 7 with a livestream on CCA Manila's FB and YouTube platforms. 

For more on CCA Manila, visit their website at https://cca-manila.edu.ph/ or their FB Page at https://www.facebook.com/ccamanila/ for more updates.

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