Spencer Merchadesh wins BBQ pork rib cook-off, again

SPENCER Merchadesch has again won the BBQ pork rib cook-off at the Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden on Saturday.

This year, however, he had a new partner, Joel Camacho. The name of their  team was “Go Well with Joel.”

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Last year, Merchadesch teamed up with Angelo Camacho who also competed this year but with another partner, Joey Tudela. Angelo Camacho and Joey Tudela placed third this year.

Joel Camacho’s team-mate last year was his brother Jonathan. They placed fourth.

Second prize went to Patrick Cepeda of Mama’s Love team.

The other contestants were team-mates Gerald Boyer and JD Tenorio of Sugar N’ Spice, and the Uncle & Nephew Team of Joe D. and Roy Tudela.

Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Chris Concepcion said they had five teams this year compared to eight last year.

“But the excitement of the community is there, and we are glad to have new faces in this competition,” he said, as he thanked Joeten and IT&E for sponsoring the event and the prizes for the winners.

The first prize was a Samsung Galaxy S7 with a three-month plan from IT&E and a $300 gift certificate courtesy of Joeten Enterprises.

The second prize was a Samsung A520 with a three-month plan from IT&E and a $200 Joeten gift certificate while the third prize was a Samsung J5 Pro with three months of free service from IT&E.

For this year’s competition, Merchadesh said he used local green mango and soursop for the sauce. “The fusion of mango and soursop was good. They worked well together,” he added.

Merchadesh said he was humbled and honored to win the annual cook off again. “I just love to cook,” he added.

Joel Camacho said their plate included breadfruit as side dish and a bottle of beer from Marianas Brewing Company. “Everything is local — we wanted to promote local ingredients in our dish,” he added.

The competition judges were chef Samson Tan of Grandvio Resort, Emi Okazaki of Joeten, Shayne Villanueva of Roil Soil Clothing,   Assistant Attorney General Jackie Nicolas and Laxmi Shrestha of Everest Kitchen.

Concepcion said  each contestant or team was provided with a rack of pork spare ribs. It was an open grilling contest, but only charcoal and wood grills were allowed, he added. Contestants were not allowed to use holes or ground BBQ pits or pre-boiling or frying in oil. All ribs were thawed out and uncooked at check-in.

Villanueva said the entries had different flavors, and it was a “little difficult” to judge them. “There were some strong flavors, and they all had their own unique style, some served with beer or with a sweet mixture,” he added.

He thanked MVA for holding the event, saying the contestants’ cooking skills were praiseworthy.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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