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The recently concluded 16th Annual Ultimate Taste Test, the longest running food event since 2008, was held at 55 Events Place along Scout Rallos St. in Quezon City. Some of the judges say this was one of the best UTT events yet because of the quality of the vendors, the online voting process and the impact to the food purveyors.

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(Dulce Magat-Gibb of A Table, Chef Sunshine Puey, Chef Sharwin Tee and Jutes Templo of Gino’s Pizza)

For this year’s Masters Edition, instead of getting the public’s vote, we brought in the restaurant industry’s Masters—chefs, food influencers and restaurateurs—as the judges. Their invaluable experience, advice and rating are highly essential especially to home-based businesses that are just starting out.

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Set in a more intimate venue, the Ultimate Taste Test Masters Edition gave the vendors and Masters the opportunity to be more candid and personal.

We had almost a hundred judges and 26 vendors who supported this year’s event. We would like to extend our thanks to all our friends in the food industry who graced the event!

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Thank you to SIP purified water for quenching our thirst and providing good tasting water for our judges.

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Thank you to Williamson Nocom of Dinsmor Trading for the promotional materials.

We had a total of 93 judges who participated, and here are the overall winners (rated 3.4 and above) during the Ultimate Taste Test Masters Edition:


1. LA CARNITA Nachos Ala Bomba
Overall Rating: 4.04
BEST APPETIZER OVERALL WINNER 

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About La Carnita

La Carnita Modern Mexican Cantina started January 2017 in The Food Hive food park on Visayas Avenue. The stall offers Mexican products such as Quesadilla and Burrito wrap, but the flavors are quite adaptive to the Filipino palate. Above all, the people behind the Cantina make sure that they provide a “ UNIQUE REAL GOOD PRODUCT” that only La Carnita can offer.

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For the UTT Masters Edition, La Cantina served their nachos redefined in a modern way. Nachos ala Bomba is a grilled nacho dish with Beef, Salsa, Beans, Cheddar shavings, Mozzarella and Homemade La Carnita Cheese sauce grilled together and poured on top of very thin and crispy nacho chips.

I was elated to find out that La Carnita won Best Appetizer for UTT Masters Edition. Whenever newcomers would arrive at the event, the first thing they would ask was: “What should we try first?” La Carnita was always part of my answer as it really was the best light dish to start with.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download La Carnita Judges Rating and Comments

LA CARNITA
Mobile: +63 9175518123
Facebook: La Carnita Modern Mexican Cantina
Instagram:
 @LaCarnitaPH


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Thank you Chef Sharwin for inspiring the food vendors with your presence and rating!


2. CHANG THAI
Overall Rating: 4.02
BEST MAIN DISH OVERALL WINNER!

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About Chang Thai

Aof Suwannalert (not pictured), a Thai Chef from Chiang Mai, founded Chang Thai. She has been in Manila for the past 5 years and has worked both as chef consultant and chef under Chef Sau Del Rosario.  She is being assisted by her husband Carlo.

With the vision of introducing honest, fresh and authentic Thai food in Manila, she decided to start Chang Thai at the Legazpi Sunday Market in Makati a couple of years ago and has since opened stalls in Makati and BGC. Chang Thai has also started to do private caterings and has been chosen as one of the food providers and event caterers for the Royal Thai Embassy of Manila.

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Can’t say I’m surprised that Chang Thai won best Main Dish! I wanted to get second helpings of the Catfish Salad and the Pad Thai but I needed to make sure that the other samplers also got a taste of them.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:Download Chang Thai Judges Rating and Comments

CHANG THAI
Mobile: +63 966 6850659
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: ChangThai
Instagram:  @changthaiph


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This was a favorite of Bryan Ong of the famed General’s Lechon.


3. SALTA! CRABONARA PASTA
Overall Rating: 4.00
MAIN DISH WINNER 

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About Salta! by Pappare

Gem Tee, owner of SALTA, knew that she wanted to pursue a pasta-based business after graduation given her track record of winning the highest awards in international culinary competitions.

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Crabonara®, SALTA’s own secret recipe for taba ng talangka, homesmoked bacon, fresh crab claw meat, topped with creamy sous vide 63º egg.

Their use of fresh ingredients elevated what would otherwise be a trendy dish into something that could stand the test of time.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Salta! Judges Rating and Comments

SALTA
#38 Mayaman St., UP Village, Quezon City
Mobile: +63 917 830 9290 / +632 372 9177
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Salta: Italian Rotisserie Bar
Instagram:  @saltabypappareph


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Thank you to Chef and Author Myke Tatung for your presence! Check out his new book entitled, DISHkarte sa kusina.


4. ELIAS WICKED ALES & SPIRITS
Overall Rating: 3.96
BEST DRINK OVERALL WINNER

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About Elias Wicked Ales and Spirits

Raoul Masangcay, a certified Cicerone and BJCP Beer Judge in the Philippines, evoked a love for craft beers and hard ciders like no other. He spent a considerable amount of time in the United States, perfecting his ciders and winning multiple homebrew competitions along the way. When he moved back to the Philippines in December 2017, he decided to focus on imparting Filipino flavors to these brews.

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Elias brought in two local ciders, both with an ABV of 7%. The Guyabano Cider was refreshing and tasted like pineapple. It was better suited to those who prefer a more classic flavor profile. The Durian Cider, however, did not scrimp on the Durian. I grew up eating Durian desserts so this was such a treat for me. Durian lovers will get a kick out of this one.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Elias Judges Rating and Comments

ELIAS WICKED ALES AND SPIRITS
13 Ubay St. Comfort Dining, Quezon City, Philippines
Mobile: +63 917 514 3746
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Elias Wicked Ales & Spirits
Instagram:  @wickedelias</a


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Dynamic duo Chef Niño Laus and Liquid Maestro Kalel Demetrio made sure to pass by the Elias booth…maybe several times!


5. SOIL Modern Dining
Overall Rating: 3.95
MAIN DISH WINNER

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About Soil Modern Dining

“Our company started with a vision of making fine food accessible through the use of what is locally available. This is the same vision we had when we first conceptualized our restaurant, Soil Modern Dining, in 2016 in the south of the Metro. While moving around the city became a chore for most, we found ourselves wanting to reach a greater audience around the city. To fully actualize our vision, we decided to bring our craft to the very heart of every guest—their homes. Through this, we are able to give a more personal touch and build genuine relationships with our guests while expanding our base to the whole Metro and, possibly, even beyond.”

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For this event, they presented two dishes. The first was the Tanigue Kilawin with Soba—a classically Filipino kinilaw dish with added touches of Japanese flavors and ingredients.

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The second—Lechon Kawali with Tinapa Mashed Potato—upgrades the humble Lechon Kawali to something much more upscale by exploring several cooking techniques and adding the mashed potato instead of the usual rice.

Soil Modern Dining does not have a standalone restaurant or a consistent presence in weekend or night markets. Their concept revolves around arranging for a personal chef to visit your home and provide an excellent fine dining meal.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Soil Modern Dining Judges Rating and Comments

SOIL MODERN DINING
Mobile: +63 9988620021
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Soil
Instagram:  @soilmoderndining
Website: www.soilmoderndining.com


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Thank you Michelle of MyMomFriday for gracing us with your beautiful presence 🙂


6. GYOZA HOUSE
Overall Rating: 3.77
Appetizer Winner

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About Gyoza House

Gyoza House started as a personal project for Alain Siscar as a way to help his Chef Partner Christian. Through rounds of recipe formulation and testing, they came up with what they believe to be the best-tasting gyoza.

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Gyoza House prides itself in not using extenders for its Gyoza. The addition of the mozzarella in its Cheese Gyoza gave the Japanese dumpling a pleasantly surprising creamy texture. Great all-around appetizer.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Gyoza House  Judges Rating and Comments

GYOZA HOUSE
Mobile: 
+63 918 826 2887
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Gyoza Bar PH
Instagram:  @gyozabarph


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Treena Tecson of True Chocolate PH, Bea Acosta (early bird) and Inky Dario relentlessly tasted all 26 purveyors’ products.


7. SNAPPY EATS
Overall Rating: 3.72
Main Dish Winner

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About Snappy Eats

Snappy Eats provides frozen, ready-to-cook meals for busy parents, millennials and foodies who still prefer a home-cooked meal but with minimal prep time and mess.

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We tried their Beef Bourguignon, and felt that it would be a great addition to our weekly dinner rotation. Very savory and perfect with copious amounts of rice.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Snappy Eats Judges Rating and Comments

SNAPPY EATS
Mobile: +63 9178516843
Facebook: Snappy Eats
Instagram:  @snappyeats


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Stonibert of TheFoodAlphabet and wife Joan never fail to attend the annual UTT but this time, there’s an addition—a little boy in tow.


8. TEA BROTHERS
Overall Rating: 3.66
Drink Winner

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About TeaBrothers

Traveling from Thailand to Taiwan, to Hongkong and to many other countries, these brothers (and the sister) realized that there are so many types of traditional milk tea. With the vision of sharing the unique taste of each country’s flavors, they started TeaBrothers. Their current offering focuses on Thai Milk Tea.

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I already love Thai Milk Tea to begin with, but I’ve never tried Green Thai Milk Tea before. It’s just as good!

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TeaBrothers kept it as authentic as possible. The bags of Cha Tra Mue were proudly displayed to let customers know that they use only the most authentic ingredients.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Tea Brothers Judges Rating and Comments

TEA BROTHERS
Mobile: +63 (02) 241 9999
Facebook: Tea Brothers
Instagram:  @teabrothersph


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Thank you to Vlad Bonoan of ABS-CBN News for continually supporting Ultimate Taste Test over the years!


9. GAVRIE’S GRACE OF CAKES
Overall Rating: 3.64
Best Dessert Overall Winner

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Gavrie’s Grace of Cakes was born out of Mary Grace’s love for baking and eagerness to redefine what desserts are for most. Most people think that desserts are always overly sweet, so she set out to create something decadent but not cloyingly so.

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From its inception, the Frozen Brazo was a hit. A modified brazo de mercedes, the Frozen Brazo has 4 layers of graham crust, homemade vanilla ice cream, their signature custard and melt-in-your-mouth meringue. I don’t like brazo mercedes in general, but I’ll reconsider for this.

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Browned Butter Muscovado Choco Chip Cookies (BCC) This is much darker than the normal chocolate chip cookie, a result of the technique of browning the butter and the use of muscovado. The flavor isn’t too sweet also; it has hints of slight bitterness, caramel and rich chocolate.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

 Download Gavrie’s Judges Rating and Comments

GAVRIE’S
Mobile: +63 917-5860481
Facebook: Gavrie’s Grace of Cakes
Instagram:  @gavriesgraceofcakes
Website: http://marygracemrqz.wixsite.com/gavriesgraceofcakes


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Thank you to Angelo Timban and Chefs of F1 Hotel for supporting Ultimate Taste Test Master Editions!


10. BOOCHAMAMA
Overall Ratings 3.64
Drink Winne

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About Boochamama

Boochamama is a Small-Batch, Artisanal, Craft, Kombucha Tea nano brewery based in Manila. The Kombucha Teas are Raw, Alive and Unpasteurized to maximize all the health benefits.  Raw Kombucha is a uniquely delicious ancient elixir made from sweetened tea. It contains naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, enzymes and organic acids as well as powerful probiotic, pre-biotic, immune booster and anti-oxidants known to support optimal health and well-being.

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The large vat of liquid behind the bottles contained the SCOBY, the mother ingredient for all Kombucha.

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Boochamama brought quite a few flavors for us to sample that day, but my clear winner was the French Rose.

I can also attest first-hand to the health benefits of the kombucha as I did not feel any bloating throughout the day even though I sampled so much food at the event.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Boochamama Judges Rating and Comments

BOOCHAMAMA
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Boochamama
Instagram:  @boochamama
Website: http://www.theboochamama.onuniverse.com


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The Diaz boys (Joshua, Raphael and Yugi) repeatedly asked for “juice” and Tita Inah generously poured”juice” into their cup every time. How they loved it!


11. BELLEFLEUR
Overall Rating 3.59
Dessert Winner 

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About Bellefleur by Beatrix

While studying overseas for University, Bea felt homesick and started to miss the taste of home as is the case for most who leave the homeland, so she began to experiment with baked goods.

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The Frozen Ube Brazo is one of her bestselling unique creations, and rightly so. Highlighting the quintessentially Filipino ingredient, she made the ube shine in this dessert.

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Calamansi White Chocolate Cookies, another one of her creations, is a combination that’s new to my ears and my palate. The use of calamansi instead of lemon is surprising, and I have a feeling that calamansi desserts will soon become more common.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

BELLEFLEUR Frozen Ube Brazo and Calamansi Cookies

Download Bellefleur Judges Rating and Comments

BELLEFLEUR BY BEATRIX
G/F Unimart Greenhills, Greenhills Shopping Center,
Mobile: +63 9451234577, +63 9178128730 (Viber)
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Bellefleur by Beatrix
Instagram:  @bellefleurbybeatrix


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UTT is a nice networking venue. I was able to introduce Chef Day Salonga to Pierre Marmonier of Fruit Garden.


12. FRUIT GARDEN
Overall Rating: 3.57
Appetizer Winner 

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The Fruit Garden by Pierre Marmonier is an artisanal jam brand that fuses French Heritage with Filipino Flair. Each fruit jam is cooked in the French tradition—small batches in copper cauldrons. It’s 100% natural, with a minimum of 60% fruit content and no additives or preservatives.

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The Fruit Garden was one of the first vendors in the earlier days of UTT. For this year’s Ultimate Taste Test, The Fruit Garden presented their Christmas collection.

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The Berry Trio and Fig Mustard jam is a must try!

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Fruit Garden Judges Rating and Comments

FRUIT GARDEN
295 Haig Street, Mandaluyong City
Mobile: +632 621 4603, + 632 535 8783
Email:  [email protected]
Facebook: The Fruit Garden
Instagram:  @the.fruitgarden
Website: http://www.thefruitgarden.net/


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The day Rina met Chef Jackie Ang Po, legendary pastry chef and owner of Fleur De Lys café and pastry shop.


13. JETERRA
Overall Rating: 3.56
Dessert Winner 

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About Jeterra

Jeterra originally started as a means to destress for Rina when she first started working in the corporate world. What started out as weekend baking turned into a full-fledged career change from telecommunications to pastries.

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Marry the delicate texture of Mamon and the signature flavors of coconut and salted egg of the Bibingka, and you have the Bingkamon.

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I loved this twist on the regular banana bread! I’m into banana bread, and cornflakes are my favorite breakfast cereal, so this was an easy favorite. Theirs was also the first stall you encounter upon entering the venue, so they set the bar high for the rest of our food experience.

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This is sold in a much bigger cake form, perfect to share with friends and family!

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Jeterra Judges Rating and Comments

JETERRA BAKERY & CAFE
Mobile: +639568416027, +639999614186
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Jeterra Bakery & Cafe
Instagram:  @jeterrabakerycafe


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Sebastian’s Ice Cream maker Ian Carandang checking out the pizza display and providing tips to Pizza Brava.


14. PIZZA BRAVA
Overall Rating: 3.51
Main Dish Winner

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About Pizza Brava

Adrian once had the opportunity to study in Rome, Italy. For someone living on a student’s budget, pizza al taglio was a staple affordable meal in itself in such an expensive city. When he returned to Manila, he couldn’t find anything similar in Manila’s dining scene. Armed with a background in breadmaking, he went back to Rome and set out to replicate the recipe with the idea of sharing the goodness with Manila diners.

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The Squash Blossoms and Anchovies Pizza was a hit! It was my first time to have squash blossoms on anything, and I was happy that this was my first introduction.

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Their pizza was served Roman style—rectangular and with a much airier and chewier dough than what we’re used too. And not too surprisingly, the Porcini Truffle Mushroom was a crowd favorite as well.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Pizza Brava Judges Rating and Comments

Pizza Brava
Email[email protected]
Instagram: @pizzabravaphils


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Talking about pizza, pizza, pizza—Jutes Templo of Gino’s giving Pizza Brava a thumbs up!


15. HOTDISH.PH
Overall Rating: 3.47
Main Dish Winner

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About Hotdish.PH

Hotdish is a delivery and take-out service which aims to offer delicious yet affordable Filipino-Asian dishes. All meals are cooked to order using only the freshest ingredients.

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One of their well-loved signature dishes is the Pancit Sisig, a medley of Pancit Guisado + crunchy Sisig—two Filipino favorites in one. Pancit Sisig is a delectable twist on the beloved comfort food.

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Another bestseller is the Pichi-Pichi made from 100% cassava with no preservatives and no artificial coloring. I loved this! It had more of a bite compared to the commercially available ones.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Hotdish.PH Judges Rating and Comments

HOTDISH.PH
Mobile: +632 936-7053
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Hotdish
Instagram: @hotdish.ph


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Chef Gel Salonga, winner of last year’s UTT Pro Edition People’s Choice Best Seller in Peso Sales, with her partner Chef Dino Datu of Cook Magazine EIC.


16. KARABELLA
Overall Rating: 3.47
Dessert Winner

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About Karabella

Karabella, from the term “Caraballa” (female carabao), is a social enterprise with the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm (GKEF) that seeks to provide the experience of eating ice cream in its most wholesome form. From the raw ingredients to the finished goods, Karabella is proud to use only real and natural ingredients sourced from our local farmers and other social enterprises.

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This year, Karabella presented a new addition to their ice cream line. The Roasted White Chocolate Cashew is very milky with strong hints of the cashew coming through.

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Undoubtedly, a clear favorite especially for the kids! Go Yugi!

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

 

Download Karabella Judges Rating and Comments

KARABELLA
Mobile: +63917-861-3405
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Karabella Dairy
Instagram:  @karabelladairy
Website: http://karabelladairy.com 


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Pam Yu of Everyday Mom joined previous participants of the UTT series.


17. FLOUR POT
Overall Rating: 3.43
Dessert Winner

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About Flour Pot

Rhea Castro-Sycip has been baking since she was eight years old. Her family encouraged her to turn her passion into a business, so she can share her baking with more people.

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Soaked in rum sauce using local and premium small batch rum, the round bundt cake is moist but not soggy, rich but not cloying. It is baked with free-range eggs and artisan butter from Bukidnon and packaged in a pine woodcraft box. Apart from supporting local ingredients, their packaging also aims to support local craftsmen.

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Taking inspiration from the Inipit of Bulacan, the Avocado Inipit Cake is a light dessert that’s good if you have room for two servings of the same dessert. This remains seasonal at the moment to ensure that only the highest quality avocados are used.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Flour Pot Judges Rating and Comments

FLOUR POT
Mobile: +63 9177892352
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Flour Pot Rum Cakes Manila
Instagram:  @flourpotmanila


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Dedet of Pepita’s Kitchen and Gwen Cariño of Best Food Forward stopping by to try the rum cake.


18. CONSUELO’S
Overall Rating: 3.43
Dessert Winner

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About Consuelo’s Artisan Cakes and Pastries

Icon has always been passionate with baking; she even spent ten years of her life teaching culinary subjects. Starting from cupcakes and small pastries, Icon eventually hit the home run with tin can cakes as these rose in popularity. She has since focused on tin cakes and has developed three variants, two of which she presented at the UTT.

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Strawberry Dream Cake is a soft and delicate vanilla chiffon cake layered with milk custard, homemade strawberry compote and topped with sweetened strawberry whipped cream.

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My favorite from her stall was the Salted Caramel Indulgence Cake, a moist chocolate cake soaked in dark chocolate sauce, layered with salted caramel custard, toasted almonds, topped with milk chocolate fudge, finished with more toasted almonds and a little sprinkling of pink Himalayan rock salt. The Himalayan salt brought the flavors up a notch!

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

Download Consuelo’s Judges Rating and Comments

CONSUELO’S ARTISAN CAKES
Mobile: +63 9055121161
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Consuelo’s
Instagram:  @consuelosartisancakes


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Thank you to our UTT Pro Edition partners Eric and Kidd Dee of the Foodee restaurant group for supporting the Masters Edition!


19. GIANNA’S
Overall Rating: 3.42
Dessert Winner

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About Gianna’s

Gianna’s originally started out selling cookies in 2014, but a lifestyle change in 2017 prompted them to move their business towards the same direction. The ketogenic diet does not have much room for sugar, so they formulated and experimented recipes for their own consumption but soon offered it to the public after much clamor from their family.

The Keto Plain Cheesecake was so good, I couldn’t believe it was Keto! The flavors were there, and the textures were spot on.

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The Keto Quattro Chocolate Cake was a revelation too. How can something that tasted so sweet and chocolate-y be considered Keto? Even those not on the Keto diet would appreciate this.

UTT Masters Edition Judges Rating:

 Download Gianna’s Judges Rating and Comments

GIANNA’S
Mobile: +63 9988598845
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Gianna’s Cookie Shop
Instagram:  @giannascookiesph


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Legendary Pastry Chef Buddy Trinidad and wife Rita of Park Avenue Desserts giving back to the young pastry entrepreneurs of UTT Master series.


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Congratulations to all the winners of the first-ever Ultimate Taste Test Masters Edition!

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Watch out for Ultimate Taste Test 2019 in August and UTT Masters Edition in November 2019!

For more info, visit the official Facebook page: Ultimate Taste Test.

Live an Awesome Life,

 

Anton & Rache Diaz with Spanky Enriquez and Team Our Awesome Planet

P.S. Thank you to all our friends and family who attended the historic Ultimate Taste Test Master Edition!

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Chef Sunshine Puey with couple Richard and Irene Co. of Tales from the Tummy blog.

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Princess Salonga known as the Phantasm Darkstar

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Our parent friends Jonathan and Ellen Lo.

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Mark Tan with his former preschool student who is now taller than him.  Mark will always be Teacher Mark to the Diaz family.

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High School friend, Lanabel.

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Our Meg-atok foodie friend.

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Awesome Friends from World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

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The Mommist Len and husband Jay bonds with ever elusive Fooddude Gerry San Miguel also known as GSM.

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Mom and daughter date—Auntie Vangie of Ha Yuan and Suzy Lee.

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Gershwin Garcia of Bakmi Nonya with his well-behaved kids.  Mommy Lucy is MIA.

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Winky Sagenes of ThinkWink cookies joined the previous UTT with her daughter.

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Thank you CJ Juntereal for the support!

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King Chef owners, Mike and Maritess Ang.

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Thank you to Marvin, owner of the famed Brotzeit Philippines.

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Thank you to Nana Nadal for supporting the Ultimate Taste Test Masters Edition!

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Kian Kazemi of Persia Grill, Kite and Lobo.

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Rommel and Cha Diaz of Team Artisano.

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The Bicol connection of Jay Altea and Popsy & Momsy Diaz.

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Team Our Awesome Planet—Boom, Abi, Sean and Nico.