The Les Toques Blanches (LTB) – Philippines Culinary Team made headlines in 2007 when they brought home the gold and the best of the best trophy from the Gourmet Team Challenge of the Hong Kong International Culinary Classic (HKICC).

This year, they will be giving the top honors another shot with the line-up composed of Marge Villena of Lolo Dad's Café, Andy Tabotabo of Lolo Dad's Brasserie, pastry chef Pauline Lagdameo and chef baker Bubbles Lerias of the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management (ISCAHM). Ariel Manuel of Lolo Dad's Café will be team captain once more while Fernando Aracama of Embassy-Cuisine occupies the post of team manager. Lending them assistance are Jopz Legaspi and David Uy of ISCAHM, Mark Lesaca of Lolo Dad's Brasserie and Johndy Rivera and Ria Mendoza of the Malacanang Palace and Nana Nadal for PR and logistics. All the activities will be under the supervision of LTB Director, J Gamboa of Cirkulo and Milkyway Restaurants and LTB President Othmar Frei of Werdenberg International Corp.

The Gourmet Team Challenge category gastronomic masterpiece is a cold buffet spread consisting of a total of 27 different items such as tapas, soup, appetizers, desserts, cakes, artisanal breads, seafood and poultry platters which have to be prepared and presented to the judges in 24 hours.
Metal and glass artist, Mike Aguas of Vulcan Resources designed and manufactured the display especially for the competition from recycled steel weaved and formed into cantilevered shelves. The theme, “Renewable and Sustainable Cuisine” will be evident in both the menu and display.

Ariel Manuel will also be joining the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) Global Chef Challenge, a live market basket cooking event where the competitor makes a menu from the ingredients presented and cooks a four-course meal in five hours. If Chef Ariel wins this category, he will represent Asia at the World Finals in world finals at the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) Congress in Santiago, Chile in January 2010. There will also be live cooking events to be taken on by Carlo Miguel of Sala Restaurant.

The team is supported by Ajinomoto, Werdenberg International Corporation, PTC, Mida Foods, Selecta, Alternatives Food Corporation, San Miguel Purefoods, Fonterra, Meat and Livestock Australia, Unilever Foodsolutions, Golden Acres Food Service, Happy Living Fine Wines, Sweetlink – Siliconezone Products, Chef Revival, Philippine Airlines, Kyocera Ceramic Knives, Gourdos, and KLG.

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