Fil-Am wins Gilroy Great Garlic Cook-Off with original lumpia recipe
GILROY, California — Lumpia, one of the traditional Filipino dishes, took center stage when Fil-Am Will Simbol won the 2018 Great Garlic Cook-off at the 40th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival with his original recipe: Savory Crunchy Freshy Tangy Shrimpy Herby Garlic Lumpia Wrap.
He beat out seven other finalists who came from all around the country. The eight finalists who were selected from hundreds of entries came at the festival and prepared their recipes in front of the public and panel of judges within a time limit of two hours.
The lumpia wrap consisted of a cup-shape leaf of lettuce, his original garlic rice, and topped with his original deep fried garlic lumpia filling. It is eaten like a taco. The lumpia wrap was served on small bamboo steamers lined with banana leaves. It was served with a lime wedge to add tartness, if desired, and his original garlic sauce contained in a wooden spoon.
All five judges praised the taste of the dish and they also liked that they could add different elements with the sauce and lime. One of the judges described the sauce as “great” and said that he tried the lumpia wrap without adding anything, with the sauce, and with the lime; he described the dish as a big hit.
One other judge said that it had all of the elements contained in the name of the recipe.
Simbol won the coveted garlic crown and a $5,000 cash price. His parents, who were originally from Pampanga, are longtime residents of Cerritos, California.
Simbol, who was born in Long Beach, California, and grew up in Cerritos, California, now resides in New York and teaches at Ideal School of Manhattan.