LAPU LAPU CITY–Thirteen students and a faculty member from the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) were chosen to make a gigantic mango dessert dubbed by the event organizers as the “biggest tapioca dessert in the world.”
They are Janwilliam Diola, Lance Jefferson Pacubas, Joden Malinao, Martin Gonzales, Christian Lawrence Rivera, Mharmel Chzai Borromeo, Hannah Mae Abad, Alliah Rose Cho, Flyn Ica Marie Celocia, Ricavienne Cual, Fretche Ann Luna, Kyle Anthony Memphin, and Marianne Dio. All of them are Hospitality Management students whose major is food and beverage.
Chef Richard Hao, who is a Josenian professor, personally handpicked the team members from among his current and former students. He selected them in terms of current skills and dedication to improving their practice of the culinary arts.
Meanwhile, Chef Hao was handpicked by the organizers of the first Mango Festival in Cebu because he is one of the prominent faces of the local culinary industry and its academic counterpart. He is also an active participant of different conventions, contests, and local initiatives which promote food tourism.
“Other schools claim they are the best in the hospitality and food & beverage but asa ang ilang footprint? Kita (USJ-R) man ang i-tap,” he remarked.
In an interview, the team recalled that 300 kilograms of mangoes were freshly harvested at Mactan Newtown on the day of the festival. This served as the main ingredient. Fifty kilograms of tapioca, small sago made from cassava, were also mixed together with 50 liters of milk.
All ingredients were mixed in a giant cauldron with a diameter of seven feet and four feet depth. It was customized specifically made for the event.
The Josenian team took at least five hours to finish making the mango dessert. Chef Hao recalled that keeping the mixture fresh after that was their biggest challenge. To address it, proper segregation of labor to limit the time of preparation and preparing about 50 bags of ice cubes were key.
Diola, one of the students who prepared the dessert, said that he feels honored to have been part of something historical in the country. He expressed gratitude for having an opportunity to take part in a ‘big event’ which he can use as leverage when applying for a job in the future.
Hao said that exposing students in the real world practices can level up the skills through firsthand experience and also help them find new inspirations in the field of food and beverage.
Meanwhile, Hao clarified that the dessert which they served is the biggest in the country to date.
The first Mango Festival was held on May 26 at Mactan Newtown in Lapu-lapu City.