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Food Hero Crowns First Male Winner!

By Freddy  /  21 Oct 2016 (Friday)

Image credit: Scripps Network Interactive

Anton Amoncio from the Philippines has been crowned the winner of Food Hero 2016. After five weeks of challenges and elimination, he won after the final challenge with three other finalists at the Food Hero Finale held in Singapore on 20 October 2016.

The 27-year-old revealed his motivation of participating in Food Hero. “It’s been a dream of mine. I have been watching Sarah Benjamin. They have been there since 2014, and I just want to hopefully have my own show in the future. I’ve been wanting to do that because that way, I will be in the platform where I can actually make a difference.”

As the winner of Food Hero, Anton will join Scripps Network Interactive as its latest talent on their channels, Asian Food Channel and Food Network. He is not a stranger to the camera as he is a regular guest chef for various television shows in the Philippines.

Image credit: Scripps Network Interactive

“My ultimate dream is to actually make a difference to a lot of people. I want to ignite, I want to be the fire that lights underneath them. I know it might sound cheesy, like my dish. I wanted to be their own personal Food Hero, just like my grandmother is with me,” elaborated Anton on what he wants to achieve by being a Food Hero.

“I wanna leave footprints in the sand. I don’t wanna just pass on and not leave something. Even if someone would just be able to at least learn something like a recipe from me, just at least one person, I’ll go happily. It means I have fulfilled my duty and I’ll be very very happy.”

The entries to Food Hero are evaluated by a panel comprising of production and creative experts based on the participant’s personality, on-screen appeal and their creativity in producing original and engaging content. In his audition video, the Anton showcased Antojos,  a restaurant he owns and runs, Antojos.  

Image credit: Scripps Network Interactive

His winning dish was Cheese Lamb Rack Kaldereta. “I want to mix in something that is unfamiliar, since lamb is not really commonplace when it comes to Filipinos. But I wanna mix it in with something that is familiar, which is the tomato base of the Kaldereta. And usually we top it off with cheese, so I mixed it with Mornay, which is a European influence from France to trim off the spiciness of the Kaldereta,” explained Anton. He added that his beloved grandmother, Elisa, was the one who taught him to cook Kaldereta.

“My grandmother is screaming at the top of her lungs. She was very happy.”

(L-R: 2015 winner Ili Sulaiman; finalist Pattaya Benjavari; 2016 winner Anton Amoncio; finalist Koh Kay Kim; finalist Farris Danial Abdul Rahman; 2014 winner Sarah Benjamin; 2015 winner Debbie Wong)
 Image credit: Scripps Network Interactive

Past winners from the food competition have gone on to host their very own food show, travelling around the world in search for delicacies and cuisines. 

“Food Hero changed my life completely! I went from a desk job to travelling around the world, eating and coming up with recipes - it’s everything that I ever wanted to do! I am still pinching myself that this is actually my job,” said first season winner Sarah Benjamin, who has starred on a range of Asian Food Channel programs, including ‘Must Try! Asia’, ‘Fresh Off Japan!’, and the upcoming second season of ‘Cooking For Love’.
Stay tuned to our interview with Sarah and Nik Michael Imran, hosts for ‘Cooking For Love’, coming real soon.

She added: “I think Anton has so much stuff coming to him and even the rest of them, they have done so well. I am sure that there are a lot of opportunities for them in the future. You’re going to encounter so many situations that you are may be overwhelmed by, but just try everything and be adventurous, and you will learn so much about yourself and what you are able to do.”

For Ili Sulaiman, one of the two Food Hero winners of last year’s season, has even went on to open her own restaurant in Malaysia, on top of the series of shows she hosts on Asian Food Channel, such as ‘Family Feast with Ili’ and ‘Home Cooked Malaysia’ and ‘By The Sea with Ili’ which will premiere this coming November. 

She credits the competition as a ‘life-changing experience’. “I had these amazing experiences of travelling and shooting, doing these great, great food shows with amazing people. What Food Hero did was it gave me the courage to share what I know with other people… Food Hero recognises me as a cook, and as an individual who has the ability to change lives.”

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