YOUTH DOMINATES THE 7TH PHILIPPINE GRAND BARISTA CUP
Twenty-year-old Jon Louise Selorio, representative of the Lyceum of the Philippines, bested five other regional champions and was hailed the supreme barista at the national finals of the 7th Philippine Grand Barista Cup 2013. The culminating tournament was held at the World Trade Center during the Asia Food Expo 2013, hosted by Binibining Pilipinas— International, 2007, Nadia Shami. Her superb hosting skills and witty jokes entertained the audience, who were all game in joining the trivia game prepared by the author.
Allegro Beverage Corporation President and General Manager Leo De Leon welcomed everyone with an insightful look back at the past six years of that the Philippine Grand Barista Cup has been running. He also addressed the finalists who were bustling backstage in preparation for their set, on how to be crowned national champion.
THE JURORS AND THE COMPETITORS
Soon after the welcome remarks, Shami proceeded to introduce the prestigious panel of judges. This included Gerhard Baur, Executive Chef and Director of the School of Culinary Management at Treston International College— who gave away a P10,000 gift certificate for a short Culinary Course; David Mattgard, Sales Manager for Asia and Pacific for CREM International— makers of EXPOBAR Espresso Machines from Spain, the official espresso machine
of the competition; Tristan Destura, Brand Ambassador, Hygiene Specialist and Chef Artist from Andros France; and Pietro Buscaroli, Sales Manager of Essse Caffé, Italy— one of the top brands of roasted espresso beans in the world, who were in the panel of Sensory Judges. Brothers Errol and Ernest Martin, Beverage and Barista Trainers, Consultants and regular judges in National Competitions adjudicated the technical aspect of the tourney. The leader of the pack was no surprise as he is considered to be one of the best, having received training in Australia, Italy and China, and is one of the country’s most sought-after food and beverage consultants and special instructors— Chef Ernie Mesina, Jr.
Each contestant was given 15 minutes to prepare their work stations, present and clean-up. John Louise Selorio started the show and served up his signature and eventual winning piece, The Dark Night. His act was followed by North Luzon Champion Francis Caballero, Krispy Kreme Cebu’s Michael Jordan Onyot, The Curator’s Kevin Israel Fortu, Café Demitasse, Davao’s Romyr Rendiza Bago, and ending with the NCR Finals’ 1st Runner-up and COP Champion, Aldrin Lumaban.
Each finalist prepared espressos, cappuccinos, and signature beverages, which were close-toperfection, that when the judges’ scores were tabulated, the top three scores' difference was by a hairline. John Louise Selorio, the youngest regional champion yet was crowned 7th Philippine Grand Barista Champion while Aldrin Lumaban and Kevin Israel Fortu bagged the first and second Runnerup Trophies, respectively. Each of the winners received gorgeous Portafilter trophies and cash prizes apart from the gift packs. The champion was awarded with a check of P20,000 plus a home espresso machine.
Coincidentally, the three winners are all friends from years back and all have followed their passion in preparing only the best quality coffee, following the strictest standards in doing so. One lucky winner from the audience also won a P10,000 gift check courtesy of Treston, while others received special prizes from the event’s sponsors.
As the competition drew to a close, the contestants with the judges and organizers looked back at the experience and marveled at the growing talent competitions like this bring—and everyone is excited to see what lies next.