Melawares Crowns New "Cusina Idols"

Cooking Enthusiasts Division winner, Mercedita Madrona

Armed with their cooking skills and fueled by their passion for food, a cooking enthusiast and a culinary student bested other finalists on the most exciting culinary competition to date, “The Next Cusina Idol Cook-Off Challenge,” hosted by Melawares, the popular high-quality melamine tableware, and Urban Kitchen, the complete restaurant and food service solution.

Mercedita Madrona bagged the title in the Cooking Enthusiasts Division with her innovative fish recipe, Adobo Marinated Hito in Sisig Wraps, while Kimberly Jane Solejon emerged victorious in the Culinary Students Division after serving her winning dish Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Chinese Sausage Stuffing.

Culinary Students Division winner, Kimberly Jane Solejon

As the “Cusina Idol” champions, each winner received a total of P250,000 worth of kitchen showcase from Melawares, Perfect Dining, Bestware or Urban Kitchen. Meanwhile, the other finalists went home with P25,000 worth of kitchen showcase.

Serving as their cooking arena was the Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy in Pasig City, where other gastronomic dishes were featured. In the Cooking Enthusiasts Division, finalists whipped up Fish Tortilla with Mom's Most Requested Salad, Escalope Sea Bass with Celeriac Puree and Red Wine Sauce, Pan Seared Tuna with Cream Cheese, Tomato and Squash, and Crispy Fish Nest with Hoisin Chili Fillings. Finalists in the Culinary Students Division, on the other hand, brought to the table Pancetta-Wrapped Chicken Breast with Brussels sprouts and Mashed Roasted Squash, and Cheesy Chicken Tarts.

Adobo Marinated Hito in Sisig Wraps (recipe by Mercedita Madrona)

Pan-Roasted Chicken Breast with Chinese Sausage Stuffing
(recipe by Kimberly Jane Solejon) 

The Cusina Idols finalists were asked to cook and present their star dishes on the spot within one hour, and were judged based on the taste of their dishes (50 percent), cleanliness and preparation (20 percent), and plating and presentation (30 percent).

Before advancing to the final round, the competitors underwent a rigorous preliminary round, after purchasing P500.00-worth of Melawares, Bestware, Perfect Dining, and Urban Kitchen products and filling out an online contest registration found at the Melawares Cusina Club Facebook page.

Each contest participant was required to cook one original main entrée dish choosing between fish and chicken. Using Melawares, Perfect Dining, Bestware or Urban Kitchen products for the final plating, they took photos of their entries and posted it to the Melawares Cusina Club Facebook page. Winners were chosen based on the plating, cleanliness and preparation, and number of Facebook shares.

“It is no secret that Filipinos are foodies at heart, with some of our best chefs making waves at the international food industry. However, while the culinary talents of our Filipino cooks are unquestionable, food presentation poses a challenge to most. Fortunately, Melawares and our other lines are now making it easier to serve not only genuinely delicious food, but beautiful and appetizing-looking as well. With the Cusina Idol Cook-Off Challenge, we are excited to see the best and brightest culinary stars in the Philippines,” said Chriselda Chua, Marketing Manager of CDC Manufacturing Corporation, makers of popular tablewares brand Melawares and other quality tableware since 1969.   

From a company that sourced its products through importation, CDC Manufacturing Corporation now carries four brands, namely, Melawares, the classic brand that carries high-quality melamine tableware products, Bestware, its affordable line of tableware products, Urban Kitchen, the company’s modern brand that carries food service products outside of melamine tableware, and Perfect Dining, the company’s exclusive brand for the SM chain that carries high-end melamine products, on top of being the leading manufacturer of customized dinnerware for Quick Service Restaurants serving the biggest names in the food industry.

For more information about the Cusina Idol Cook-Off Challenge, visit

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