A DISH of pan-seared Certified Angus Beef bathed with shallots and peppered corn mango sauce got the nod of the judges and gave Marianas Resort & Spa section chef Emmanuel Pancha the title of Saipan’s Next Top Chef in a competition at the Pacific Islands Club on Saturday afternoon.Pancha’s dish, which also included a serving of potato pancakes with mascarpone on top and vegetable spaghetti, bested three other chefs.
“I did not expect to win but I am very happy,” Pancha said in an interview.
A dishwasher at the Marianas Resort 10 years ago, he got promoted as section chef five years after.
He said he experimented with his entry a few weeks back, cooked samples of it and perfected the flavor and presentation.
Second place was Pacific Island sClub’s chef Joshua Ngeskebei while Jessie Aguon of the Hyatt finished third. The other participant was chef Nemencio Tulio of Fiesta Resort & Spa.
Event organizer Shelli Neal said more people turned up for this year’s event.
Another organizer, Vicky Benavente of the Pacific Islands Club, said “ticket sales went beyond our expectations, and we are very glad for the overall support we got from the community.”
Peter Duenas, Guam celebrity chef and event host, said the competition was “great,” as it encouraged island chefs to use local ingredients and boost their morale.
He also noted that the competition was for a good cause and participating is rewarding in itself.
Duenas said the competition will be aired on his “TV Outdoor Chef” show’s next season.
The event was organized by the Empty Vessel Ministry Foundation to help raise funds to support low-income women, children, and families on Saipan, Kenya, the Philippines and Bangladesh.