A nationwide culinary competition is heading to every region in the country as Solane Kitchen Hero Chefs’ Edition sets to discover the next big name in the culinary world. Instead of convening participants in one location, the 16-leg competition is heading to the provinces where the country’s talented chefs and their “comfort cooking zones” reside.

“We believe that the Philippines has some of the best and most talented chefs in the world,” says Isla LPG Corp. CEO Ruben Domingo. “We are on a quest to explore and highlight Filipino specialties that are unique to our provinces.”

Participants must be Filipino with at least three years of kitchen experience and currently employed as a professional chef at any foodservice or hospitality establishment.

The competition is divided into two rounds in which the first round will determine the winners of the regional competition who will then go on to represent their region in the second round. The second round will comprise of the semifinals and grand finals where the regional campions will compete against each other to be hailed as the Solane Kitchen Hero Chefs’ Edition champion.

The regional winner, semifinalists, and grand finalist will be awarded P15,000, P20,000, and P30,000, respectively. Meanwhile, the grand champion will take home P100,000 and win an all-expense paid culinary trip to Japan.

“There’s so much talent out there that’s not recognized,” says Valeri Villano, Solane marketing manager. “We wanted to give them an opportunity to make themselves known.”

The competition will be judged by chef Sau del Rosario and author Nancy Reyes-Lumen. Del Rosario will be keeping an eye out for the dishes with a memorable story because when it comes to food, he lives by the words, “Pag walang kwento, walang kwenta.” Meanwhile, Reyes-Lumen will look for dishes that unearth “the bounties of the land, sea, and air.”

The criteria for judging will focus on the featured ingredient native to the province and the originality and creativity of the dish.

The competition will kick off on May 24 in Tarlac, Region III, and will continue until Sep. 7 when the national competition will gather the regional champions for a cook-off that will determine Solane’s new Kitchen Hero.