Every negative, hurtful, challenging situation has a silver lining. Therein is the awakening of the soul.
the home alone challenge
Last quarter of 2018, my two little ones were confined at the hospital for gastroenteritis. We left our three teenage boys at home. Though my mother visited them from time to time and brought food, our sons managed to take care of themselves. They also took care of the house for about a week. I was the proudest mom at that time and even until now. That despite the challenging situation they were in, they managed to survive and discover their strength.
Would you believe that despite the convenience instant noodles bring, my boys preferred to cook pasta and eat spaghetti for dinner? They also cooked carbonara and tuna spaghetti. They even made their waffle dog and baked brownies and cupcakes.
I joked them they got so much time to prepare food considering they still came from school. They answered that pasta noodles are easier to cook than rice. And all they have to do with the sauce is to heat it and pour to the pasta. As for the bread, they got used to us baking together that baking is the closest way to feel their mom’s presence at the house.
the bake-off challenge
Thus, when I attended the awarding ceremony of the 4th Flourish Pilipinas Baking Competition, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. For one, I imagined how my boys survived with bread and pasta for seven days without their parents. Also, the competition’s participants were all public senior high school (SHS) students – most likely 16 to 18 years old – and yet they were all able to bake and present their finished product with grace and precision.
The “bake-off” put the skills of SHS students to the test. It also enabled the participants to express their talents and know-how gained from their classes, and multimedia learning toolkits designed by Universal Robina Corporation (URC) and Department of Education (DepEd).
From making delectable slices of bread to producing one-of-a-kind cake recipes, the select SHS participants demonstrated their baking talents at URC Flour’s new facility in Quezon City. The venue, the new Baker John Academy, is also URC’s first baking school. The 179-sqm facility is complete with state-of-the-art equipment and machine for bread and pastry production. More than that, it also serves as an interactive workroom for aspiring bread makers. The place is also for pastry chefs and culinary lovers supported by URC Flour. At its lobby is a cafe which showcases URC Flour’s renowned bread products under the Baker John brand.
the victory after the challenge
Though with the guidance of their coach, still, the student representatives from the Flourish Pilipinas Baking Competition did an impressive performance. The Pasig-based Sta. Lucia High School, for instance, baked a Sweet Potato Carrot Cake. Their entry was considered the pastry with the best complimentary flavor combination, giving the judges and guests the best of both worlds. They emerged as the champion in the cake baking category. They brought home P100,000 worth of prizes and various baking tools and ingredients from sponsors.
URC’s Flourish Pilipinas Hones Future Bakers
The duo, with their coach, emotionally received their prizes. Their passion for baking was all over their eyes. And that has always been the aim of URC Flour and Pasta Division when it launched last year the Flourish Pilipinas program. This capacity-building project for public SHS students aims to discover the potential and harness the talent and skills of the participants. And with URC’s partnership with DepEd, Flourish Pilipinas hopes that more students find inspiration to continue becoming the next generation of successful professional pastry and bread bakers. It is the vision of URC Flour Division to help create and sustain success in this lucrative and exciting field of bread and pastry making.
the opportunity from the challenge
As a parent, I am grateful that there is a program like the Flourish Pilipinas that provides support to the growth and development of the local baking industry in the country. Through the program, too, many student participants are certainly inspired to continue their passion for baking. Undoubtedly, also, the parents of the winners are all proud of what their children had become just like how I am proud of my boys when they showed independence on challenging days.