Band vocalist JR Royol was named the first ever Pinoy MasterChef after conquering the “MasterChef Pinoy Edition: The Live Cook-off” grand finals Saturday (February 9) at the SM North Edsa Skydome with his unique “bigorot” dish, which drew rave reviews from the judges.
JR Royol proved supreme over other cooks Carla Mercaida, Ivory Yat, and Myra Santos to win Php 1 million, a kitchen showcase, and a Diploma Program for Professional Culinary Arts scholarship at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies.
The Rakistang Kusinero of Benguet prepared his winning “bigorot,” a portmanteau of Bicolano and Igorot, to honor his parents, his heritage, and his hometown, the Cordillera region from which the dish’s organic ingredients were grown and acquired.
It scored an average of 96 points in the live cooking challenge from host Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, chef judges Chef Ferns, Chef Lau, Chef Jayps, and celebrity guest judges Kris Aquino and Richard Gomez.
The dish was so exceptional that it scored 97 from Richard and 99 from Kris Aquino, who described it as “perfection.”
“Nakaka-in love kang magluto,” Kris Aquino said.
Carla Mercaida, the Negosyanteng Kusinera of Bulacan, was hailed as the second placer for her adobong tuna at kaning dilaw that gained an average score of 93.9 points from the judges. Trailing behind was Ivory Yat, the Kusina Fashionista of Quezon City with her palabok finale that garnered 93 points.
Myra Santos, meanwhile, failed to participate in the live cook-off and was automatically declared the fourth placer after getting the lowest average score in the competition’s first two-part challenge.
Carla Mercaida, Ivory Yat, and Myra Santos won Php 500,000, Php 300,000, and Php 200,000 respectively. They will also get a kitchen package and a scholarship at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies.
Pinoy MasterChef JR Royol grabbed the early lead in the first two-part challenge, which asked them to prepare each other’s signature dishes and whip up a dish using coconut milk as the main ingredient.