Pinoy sisig has been served and done in many ways—there’s the classic pork version as well as lighter alternatives using chicken, seafood, and tofu.
Before one can say we’ve seen it all, young chef, Nikko Roa of Hizon’s Catering presents his vegan sisig version, the Toasted Quinoa Vegan Sisig.
Chef Nikko spent hours of testing to come up with his original dish, which won the grand prize at the Knorr Funlasang Pinoy Year 2 Luzon Cook-off.
“Sisig has always been my comfort food. I just took it to another level and made a healthier version of it without losing that classic taste we’ve always loved,” said Chef Nikko.
Knorr Funlasang Pinoy Year 2, a platform initiated by Unilever Food Solutions Philippines and Knorr, invites Filipino chefs and cooks to showcase their talent and creativity by innovating classic Pinoy dishes with fun twists.
Using quinoa as the main ingredient, mixed mushrooms, chilies, tamarind soup base, and Knorr Liquid Seasoning for flavor, Chef Nikko presented a modern and healthier alternative to the traditional sisig, which won the hearts and palates of the judges.
His creation stood out among the dishes of eight other talented Filipino chefs and cooks from Luzon who also presented different creative takes on Filipino classics: sisig, kare-kare, bulalo, crispy pata, and adobo.
The 35-year-old chef from Pasig started as a kitchen helper in a hotel before pursuing a diploma from the Academy for International Culinary Arts. He then took a teaching stint before becoming one of the current sous chefs at Hizon’s Catering.
Being his first time to join a culinary competition outside of culinary school, winning the Luzon cook-off was something Roa never expected.
“Pinag-isipan ko talaga yung concept ng dish [I really thought hard about the concept of the dish]. I knew I wanted to do something creative with sisig. I wanted it to be unique,” he shared.
Chef Nikko shares the same advocacy of UFS and Knorr in taking Filipino cuisine to brand new heights. He also constantly thinks of new ways to present local dishes.
“Masarap ang Pinoy food [Filipino food is delicious]—I think we know that well. Our local cuisine has a lot of delicious dishes to offer to the world and we just have to keep on innovating these dishes to cater to the ever-evolving taste of diners,” he stated.
The grand winner from Luzon bagged P100,000 cash prize.
Together with the grand winners from Visayas and Mindanao, Chef Nikko will attend the UFS Chefmanship Academy to further expand his culinary knowledge through mentorships from esteemed chefs in the country.
Visayas and Mindanao cook-offs were held on Aug. 9 and 22, respectively.
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