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March 24, 2006, Volume 6 Number 12


Dear " Guam Food Guy" Reader,

The GPO Food Court was the scene of a local culinary competition held March 18 that had all the elements and fast-paced excitement of the Food Network's "Iron Chef" competitions, with one major difference being that the contestants were all high school students from Guam. I had the honor of once again judging Guam Community College's second Pro-Start State Culinary Competition and was quite impressed with the fabulous performances of the four teams involved, which represented Simon Sanchez, George Washington, Southern, and J.F.K. High Schools.

All team members were dressed in chef uniforms and worked proficiently under the most scrupulous of judging standards. They had to prepare three courses completely from scratch within an hour, after checking in all of the ingredients required for each course's completion. It would astonish you to know how much preparation was required by these students and the amount of menu and ingredient information they had to provide in a readable format for the judges review. This year's winning team was last year's winner, John F. Kennedy High School, who won over the 2nd Place Finisher, Southern High, by an incredible half-point, out of a total of 310 points! That's how close this competition was! JFK created a spectacular menu starting with an appetizer of Rocase of King Prawns Flavored with a Thai Vinaigrette Dressing; followed by an entree of Paupiette of Beef Tenderloin Glazed in a Red Wine Shallot Reduction, served with a selection of Market Vegetables and Pomme Williams Amandine and for dessert, a glorious Mille Feuille of Strawberries au Kirchs, served with a Raspberry Coulis.

As mentor chef of the winning team, Hilton Guam Resort & Spa's Executive Chef Christophe Durliat was all smiles as his team celebrated in a burst of euphoria when the announcement was made. Both Durliat and teacher Susan Seay are planning to accompany the team to compete in the National competition to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, April 30 - May 2. The members of all four teams should be proud of their exemplary culinary achievements. They did everything by the book and were just marvelous in their team effort to create fantastic three-course meal in a very short time. They worked diligently, competently and professionally. Congratulations to JFK and to all the competitors, who I truly believe will become accomplished chefs in their own right one day! [Winning team from JFK High School with Mentor Chef, Hilton Guam Executive Chef Christophe Durliat and students Andrew Reyes, Sam Reyes, Myra Tiamzon and Marco Gomez. Photo: Susan Seay]

Ken, the Guam Food Guy

In Today's Issue:

  • 5th Annual Celebrity Chefs Cup Competition, March 24, Hyatt Regency Guam
  • Chamorro Month - Last Week To Celebrate
  • New USO Opens in Tumon's Royal Orchid
  • La Brasserie's Oriental Buffets - A New Surprise Each Week
  • This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter
  • Around the Island - Tasuke, Happy Fiesta Filipino Lunch
  • Yummy Tummy Restaurant - Affordable Fresh Seafood Cooked To Your Liking

5th Annual Celebrity Chefs' Cup - March 24 Hyatt Regency Guam Ballroom

It all happens tonight at the Hyatt Regency Guam's Main Ballroom! Yes, it'll be just a matter of hours before the island's most exciting culinary competition takes place, and all bets are on for who's going to take home the coveted Chefs' Cup at this "stellar" fund-raising event, that's organized by the University of Guam Endowment Foundation and the Micronesian Chefs' Association. As is the tradition each year, five teams, each representing a major hotel or restaurant, and with each preparing one course from an elaborate 5-course menu, will compete against the other teams in a contest to garner the most points. The audience will be casting the ballots to determine who wins. The voting will take into consideration the presentation, taste, and creativity of the particular dish. Proceeds from this fund-raising event will be going towards the construction of new campus facilities as well as towards scholarships for junior chefs.

This year the teams are comprised of an Executive chef; two or three "Celebrity' chefs, which are a combination of media personalities and prominent members of the business community. There have been some updates since last week's publication of the Team composition, and herewith is the final menu with a lineup of team participants:

Team One
Executive Chef: Peter Duenas, Sam Choy's
Celebrity Chefs: Monte Mesa, Ed Poppe and Santi Sablan
Junior Chefs: Carol Perez and Tricia Baker
Dish: First Course (Cold Appetizer) - Rock Lobster Spring Rolls with Bouquet of Mesclun Greens, Vietnamese Mint-infused Vinaigrette, Boonie Pepper Oil, and Seasoned Crab Roe.

Team Two
Executive Chef: Clayton Babas, Guam Reef Hotel
Celebrity Chefs: Mike Benito, Jayne Flores and Joy James
Junior Chefs: Jessica Bryant and Cherinne Guerrero
Dish: Second Course (Hot Appetizer) - Grilled Corn and Coconut Tamales with Kalua Style Beef Brisket on Roasted Eggplant and Boonie Pepper Dinanche

Team Three
Executive Chef: Chris Aguilar, Outrigger Resort Guam
Celebrity Chefs: Robert Hernandez, Frank Campillo and Amier Younis
Junior Chefs: Justin Mansapit and Chris Egana
Dish: Third Course (Soup) - Smoked Paprika Chicken with Chorizo Sausage and Ancho Chili Broth with Lentils

Team Four
Executive Chef: Hermann Grossbichler, Hyatt Regency Guam
Celebrity Chefs: Albert Wu, Fredalyn Mortera Hecita and Jay Pascua
Junior Chefs: Christopher Divina and Leo Batoyon
Dish: Fourth Course (Entree) - Lemon and Thyme Roasted Poussin filled with Black Truffle Risotto, served with market fresh Chanterelles, Runner Beans, and Semi-dried Vine

Team 5
Executive Chef: Veronica Perez, Firefly Bistro
Celebrity Chefs: Kurt Moylan and Jojo Santo Tomas
Junior Chefs: Audria Borja and Flora Burce
Dish: Fifth Course (Dessert) - 'Psychedelic Island' Rich Layer of Rum-laced Chocolate Cake & Tropical White Fudge, Candied Ginger Shortbread, Exotic Fruit Sauces, Coconut Tres Leches

This super-charged entertainment event starts at 6pm with tickets price at $150 per person. This year's event will be co-hosted by Ray Gibson and Sonya Artero. For more information, contact 735-2956. See you there!

Chamorro Month - Last Week To Celebrate

Since this last week of March brings a close to Chamorro Month, there's still time to go to a few places where you can satisfy your craving for Chamorro Cuisine. First and foremost, be sure to go to Y Kusina's Sunday Brunch, where you will experience for a wide selection of Chamorro standards for only $19.99!

This is the last Saturday night to hear "Guma' Palu Li'e", a group that will be performing traditional-style Chamorro chant and dance, starting at 7:30pm at Planet Hollywood. Chef Chito Iglopas has a very special Chamorro Menu to complement the music and dance.

King's and Denny's are also offering daily Local Specials, and, as always, Chamorro Village has assorted one, two, & three-choice plates available featuring all of your favorite fiesta foods. Last, but certainly not least, don't forget Jeff's Pirates Cove in scenic Ipan Talofofo, where you can get his popular Fiesta Plate.

New USO Opens in Tumon's Royal Orchid

A Grand Opening party was held on Thursday March 23, for a brand new USO Guam, located on the Ground Floor of the Royal Orchid Hotel. It is an impressive, modern facility, with high-speed Internet stations, comfortable lounge areas, and a large screen video capability. It will be a welcome stop for many service personnel, as one of the USO's primary functions is to provide relief and comfort to the members of our military. The party was grand, with an impressive array of tasty hors d'oeuvres prepared by Royal Orchid's Executive Chef, Michael Madigan. It seemed to me that the Royal Orchid is looking to establish a unique culinary identity. From what I ate, I was able to discover some new tastes. The USO Guam will be open to service members and their guests. Volunteers are welcome to apply. Call 647-4USO. Congratulations to Leigh Leilani Graham, Director of Guam USO, and to the sponsors and supporters of this well-established service institution, whose history is part of American military culture.

La Brasserie's Oriental Buffets - A New Surprise Each Week

This week's special culinary tour at La Brasserie in the Holiday Resort Guam Hong Kong. I especially enjoyed the cook-to-order Hong Kong Style Wonton Noodle Soup - the broth was excellent as were the won tons. The appetizer section had such exotic food items as Jelly Fish, Charsiu, Balsamic Marinated Mushrooms, Crispy Pork Belly, Homemade Pizza, Calamari Rings, Pissaiola Steak, and Roasted Duckling. Executive Chef Philip Duong has been taking diners on excursions to Korea, Vietnam, China and Thailand, with stop offs in Japan and Indonesia. There are tasty homemade desserts made by the Chef as well, such as his Egg Custard, Tiramisu, and Coconut Tart. The price for this buffet is only $11 adults and $6 for kids (+10% s.c. for both).

This Time Last Year - Highlights from the GuamDiner Newsletter

March 25, 2005 Vol 5 No 12

Restaurant Reviewed: Pacific Chinese Restaurant-Tumon's Newest Serving Delicious Chinese

Highlights:
"Let's Get Grillin' Guam" Grilling Competition Deadline Approaches
Positive Choices Part II - "Guard Your Heart" S.D.A. Clinic Program

Around the Island - Tasuke, Happy Fiesta Filipino Lunch

We hadn't been to Tumon's Tasuke Japanese Restaurant in a while, and it was my craving for good ramen that was not too salty that brought me back to this quaint little inn across the street from the Hyatt and just under Club Vikings. I ordered the Dinner Ramen Set B, with Ramen, California Maki, Tekka Maki, Salad, and Pickles, for $16. We also ordered the Deep Fried Baby Shrimp ($6), which were a lot to munch on...some seemed a bit large for baby shrimp. These crisp up so you can eat the whole shrimp, but the size of some of them caused their legs or antennas to protrude. I love the ramen noodles...they are some of the best, and the broth is simmered perfectly.

I had a craving earlier this week while in Hagatna for some Filipino food and my first thought was to go to the Happy Fiesta Restaurant in the Agana Shopping Center. This is a fast food place by day and offers a la carte dining for dinner. As it was already near 2pm, I ordered a little soup (Nilaga), and had some Lechon Kawali and some Chicken Adobo with a spicy sauce. I flavored up the crispy pork with some Mang Tomas Sauce. The hot line items vary daily, and lunches are priced at $3.99 (one choice), $4.99 (two choice), and $5.99 (three choice). The Agana Shopping Centers really moving forward, and the little restaurants have brought a special value to this place.

Yummy Tummy Restaurant- Affordable Fresh Seafood Cooked to Your Liking

A new restaurant with a happy name has opened up in Tamuning. Yes, Yummy Tummy (does that name ring a bell?), has opened in the former Pampanguena Restaurant across the alley from the Universal Tae Kwon Do Training Center, and across Chalan San Antonio from the new Vino Wine Store and Elite Bakery. Although open in its new location for just over one month, Yummy Tummy operated in two other locations, most recently in Yigo and originally in the Oka Plaza that is now Fast Wok, so it's not a totally new restaurant. However, Yummy Tummy has finally positioned itself for certain success this time since they are located adjacent to the Lobster, Crab & Fish Market, which is run by Peter Au, an ideal seafood source for wife Brenda's restaurant.

Before we get started on our dining tour of Yummy Tummy's menu, I think you should be warned in advance. The parking is a bit crowded on week nights when the martial arts sessions are on. The outside of the building looks like it's still under construction, since there seems to be a wall of plywood covering over half of the building's front. Don't let that deter you, since it does not affect the dining room, which is quite pleasant once you enter. We ate there on two consecutive nights, and both times we had exceptional seafood, with fish so fresh and good that I'd be willing to walk to Yummy Tummy to get some more!

The bright yellow sign with red and blue lettering describes Yummy Tummy as having Oriental Cuisine and Seafood. Once inside and seated at either a booth or a table, you'll see why they use the term "Oriental". Foods like Fried Lumpia ($4.99), Won Ton Soup ($5.99), Sinigang ($8.99).Shrimp Tempura ($8.99), Beef with Black Bean Sauce ($6.99), and Braised Tofu ($5.99) show a broad range. Our peppy waitress, Nita, was a dynamic little bundle of enthusiasm and optimism, and she helped us through some menu decisions. After getting our drinks, we ordered Fried Fish with Fruit Sauce ($7.99), Salt & Pepper Pork Chop ($6.99) , and Chicken with Lemon Grass ($6.99). While we sat, we noticed the plates being delivered to other customers. That seems to be one of the preoccupations for food reviewers...to scope out someone else's plate on its way to a customer's table. If it looks tasty enough, I'll even go a step further and ask to take a photo of their food once delivered (no one seems to mind).

The first to arrive was the Chicken with Lemon Grass...it was way too much meat for me, and it did not have the kind of Lemon Grass taste I enjoy at Vietnamese restaurants. Zee pointed out that this dish would be popular for families, since it's a heck of a lot of tasty and spicy chicken, blended with lots of green and yellow onions interspersed with sliced boonie peppers! The next to arrive was the Salt & Pepper Pork Chops, which came with twice the volume of onions than meat. It really wasn't anything special. Nita suggested that we have the fruit sauce served separately and not ladled over the fried Lapu Lapu. It turned out to be a good suggestion since the fruit sauce was like fruit cocktail in a thickened sugar syrup. The fish, alone, was fantastic, and I could have used some lemon finadene. The plate had a fresh made slaw that's not bad. The fish just had a wonderful freshness.

As we sat, we would talk occasionally to Peter and to Brenda about their restaurant and the seafood, how some items are not on the menu but could be cooked to order. They wanted us to try the Walnut Shrimp ($8.99) and surprised us with a sample order. It was really some of the best Walnut Shrimp I've had! The shrimp were big, plump, and the sauce was not over-powered by mayonnaise as is so common. These were great, and much better than the pork and chicken dishes we'd ordered.

We decided to return the next night to concentrate on seafood only, and ordered a Steamed Fish ($14.99) , and though I wanted a fresh crab, they had run out and only had frozen Mangrove crabs. I wanted to get a picture, and ordered one fried with ginger ($13.99). While we waited, another customer was served Sweet & Sour Fish ($7.99) and graciously allowed us to take a photo. Please note that the photo shows a double order, one for the him and one for his daughter!

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Bon Appetit!

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