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_KulinaryaPoster_v2This Sunday, December 9, I have the distinct privilege of participating as a judge for the 3rd Annual Kulinarya Cooking Showdown at SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco, alongside Chef Arnold Eric Wong (E&O Asian Kitchen), Lynne Bennett (SF Chronicle), John Birdsall (CHOW.com) and Chef Francis Ang (Fifth Floor Restaurant).

Presented by the Philippine Department of Tourism, the showdown is a celebration of Philippine cuisine and features top Filipino American chefs from around the country. The event will also showcase dishes from various Filipino food trucks, food suppliers and restaurants, along with a holiday bazaar.

The competition features an amateur and professional division with “cheftestants” in each division battling it out with their own signature dishes. And the finalists are….


  • Jerrick Figueroa – Jerrick has worked at Saison, Wayfare Tavern, Plant Cafe and Cat Cora. His entree: Rambutan and Jackfruit Wrapped Escabeche.
  • Fernandina Lopez – Fernandina holds a Food & Nutrition degree from the University of Santo Tomas as well as Culinary Arts degree from the California School of Culinary Arts. Her entree: Kalderetang Manok.
  • Thomas Weibull – trained at Kristinaberg Restaurant & Hotel School in Sweden, Thomas has worked at One Market, Aqua, Rubicon and Plouf. His entree: Sous Vide Chicken Afritada


  • Justin Hulog – a writer by trade, Justin is completing his MFA in Creative Writing at SF State. His entree: Foie Gras Sisig
  • Ross Tordecilla – although Ross has been in the Financial Services industry for almost two decade, his passion has always been in the culinary arts. His entree: Braised Beef Kaldereta
  • Joycelyn Vergara – currently a Group Billing Coordinator at the Westin St. Francis, Joycelyn absolutely loves cooking and traveling. Her entree: Braised Beef Kaldereta

Admission to the event is FREE and includes access to the food showcase, cooking competition and bazaar. To purchase food tasting coupons, visit Kulinarya on EventBrite.