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CHEFS ON PARADE The stage is set for 2004’s biggest culinary competition
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: By Cornelio R. De Guzman
Date: 2004-09-30
All is set for the holding of the country’s biggest and ASEAN’s oldest culinary event competition, “Chefs on Parade 2004” (COP) on Oct. 7-9 at the Clamshells 1 and 2, Intramuros, Manila.

The COP Executive Committee is expecting participation from no less than 2,000 professional chefs, food and beverage practitioners, culinary experts and artists from all major hotel and restaurant establishments and schools nationwide.

The objectives of the yearly event are: to promote appreciation of international gastronomical movement and skills geared towards international competition; to focus on the innate skills and artistry of professional and student chefs; to showcase the various elements of the food and beverage services in the tourism industry; and to provide students and the general public with a holistic experience of an international competition and exhibition of food preparation and services in the hotel and restaurant industry.

Board members and this year’s overall chairman of the Chefs on Parade 2004 is Farid Alain Schoucair, general manager of the Hyatt Regency Manila. “Farid” whose name means ‘unique’ in Arabic, has been on top of Hyatt’s operations in the recent years armed with a unique and strong leadership backed up by years of solid experience. He holds a diploma in Hotel and Tourism Management from the Centre International de Glion in Montreux, Switzerland, of Swiss-Lebanese descent, Schoucair speaks French, Arabic, English and German.

He took over the helm of this industry landmark in October 2001, straight from Hyatt Regency Cheju, Korea where he was general manager for five years. This marks his second stint in Manila, having been assigned as Executive assistant manager from 1992 to 1996.

His long exposure in the Philippines proves his familiarity of the land and its people, transcending expertise in the field of tourism and hospitality. Having constantly developed ties with colleagues, has further endeared him to the very sphere that made him into the top hotelier that he is today: Food and Beverage. Such that headship of the industry’s most important competition was not a difficult task to assume.

Humble beginnings from simple home-cooked experimentation or perhaps an uncommon start, actually can become a prophetic break for a great talent. Such is the case for Singaporean top chef, Sam Leong. Chief Chef of Tong Luk Restaurants Group, Singapore. At 34 years old, he already brings with him an impressive track record in a variety of hotels and restaurants which includes Fullerton Hotel, where he was Director of Kitchens for its Jade Restaurant, the Four Seasons Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Hyatt Saujana, popular rouvelle cuisine food spots My Humble House and Paddyfields Thai, to name a few. For Chef Sam, who had wanted to be a policeman, the consistent prodding of his chef father led to unmistakable inspiration through homebound exposure. An accidental apprentice, watching and learning years of creating and perfecting culinary art from his own father inevitably nourished his innovative approach to cooking.

He now has earned a reputation of being a master in creativity and originality cooking up interesting and inventive dishes, that invitations for international festivals are a popular part of his calendar.

Four-time guest chef at the Wolfgang-Lazaroff American Food Festival, that even former US President Bill Clinton took notice of his exquisite food creations, specifically his cocoa pork ribs and his lamb shank served in a martini glass to which Clinton referred to as eating Jade, likened to a precious savory gem. As an award-winning chef Leong was voted as ‘Asian Ethnic Chef of the Year’ at the World Gourmet Summit Awards in 2002, Chef Sam continues to research, invent, process and innovate, to the delight of patrons the world over. He continues to bridge Asian and Western cuisine and offers a continuously evolving array of gastronomic wonders.

Catch Celebrity Chef Sam Leong on Oct. 7 and 8, as he presents some of his culinary innovations plus witness the potentially tasteful and creative interplay of both aspiring and experienced participants at Chefs on Parade 2004.


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