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5 aspiring chefs vie for ‘Alessandro Narducci’ plum

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

As the Italians commemorate the Week of Italian Cuisine in the World 2020, the Embassy of Italy in Manila together with the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ICCPI), Alessandro Narducci, and the Extraordinary Italian Taste will hold the Alessandro Narducci International Award National Cook-Off Philippines on November 29 at the MIHCA Mandaluyong – Magsaysay Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Inc. in Ground Floor, Pioneer Woodlands Tower 1 & 2, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.

The Alessandro Narducci International Award came into being to commemorate the inspiring memory of the youngest starred Italian Chef, Alessandro Narducci, and bring Alessandro’s story beyond the borders of the Italian peninsula by highlighting the talent of young cooking students and amateur chefs and spreading the Italian cuisine throughout the world.

With the Italians’ discriminating taste for high-quality food and wine, that same kind of passion and a unique identity was carried out by Alessandro and manifested in his passion and illustrious career at home and abroad. Thus, Alessandro Narducci became Italy’s youngest starred chef. Unfortunately, Narducci died in a car accident on June 22, 2018, at the age of 29.

The cuisine award is in honor of his personality and values, a commemoration of his unparalleled legacy to inspire future generations of chefs, to give foreign students the opportunity of becoming professional chefs working in a first-class restaurant, and also an initiative to promote Italian cuisine around the world.

Meet the 5 finalists

There are 5 young aspiring chefs who are competing in the National Final to determine who will represent the Philippines in the Alessandro Narducci International Final Award.

Arik Ibale,  a 3rd-year college student from St. Scholastica’s College Manila, taking up BS Hospitality Management specializing in Culinary Arts who believes that the way through a person’s heart is through their stomach. 

Andre Santos
is a student at the Center for Culinary Arts Manila who is interested in learning various cooking techniques



Karl Watson is currently a home-cook whose exposure to culinary traces back to when he was still young and developed his passion for cooking. For Karl, he considers the kitchen as a safe space where he can create and explore endless possibilities.


Laetitia Bugarin
is a freshman student from the School of Hotel, Leisure, and Restaurant Management at St. Scholastica’s College Manila and currently taking up the program BS Hospitality Management, and plans to specialize in Culinary Arts. Inspired by her two grandmothers’ passion for cooking, she plans to live out her love of food and food making. Laetitia will work hard to learn all that she can about food and to strengthen her culinary skills.



Ricel Gabi is a graduating student from the University of Batangas. He is a dancer and an aspiring Chef that dreaming to have his own restaurant or to work in a 5-star hotel someday. Aside from dancing and cooking, he loves to help and feed other people especially the poor and homeless people with his delicious dishes to make them happy.

The winner of the National Final will qualify for the International Final which will be held in Rome at IPSEOA. The winners will be provided with a roundtrip ticket and accommodation in Rome, Italy and the final date will be known in 2021.

With these talented, passionate, and creative aspiring chefs set to showcase their culinary prowess, truly Alessandro Narducci would be delighted as his legacy and mission will be perpetuated thru the Alessandro Narducci International Award. As Alessandro said, “I know I am happy if I make others happy, this is the secret of doing well our job.”

The Alessandro Narducci National Cook-Off Philippines is in partnership with Magsaysay Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Inc. Venue Partner, Italfood Distribution Inc., Platinum Sponsor, and supported by the Philippine Italian Association and Societa’ Dante Alighieri, Comitato di Manila. Gold Sponsors are BDO Unibank, Dusit Thani Manila, and StratBase An Advisory and Research Consultancy Group.

The Philippine Business and News (THEPHILBIZNEWS) is the official media partner of this historic event.


The event can be viewed via online streaming on Zoom and Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Facebook Page

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