'MasterChef PH' winner wants to release cookbook

Posted at 02/14/13 7:35 PM

JR Royol accepting his award as the first Pinoy MasterChef during the show's finale last Saturday.

MANILA, Philippines -- After being named the first-ever "Pinoy MasterChef," band vocalist JR Royol is considering pursuing a career in the food industry.

Royol, who took home a P1-million cash prize and a culinary scholarship after winning "MasterChef Pinoy Edition" last Saturday, hopes to open his own restaurant someday.

"Before 'MasterChef' never have I imagined myself na magta-trabaho ako sa restaurant o sa kusina kasi I was tied up na with corporate setup," he said in an interview on Thursday. "So never kong na-imagine pero after (his victory) definitely gusto ko talaga siyang tahakin."

But even before that happens, Royol said he would like to have his own cookbook.

"Noong December pa lang po may nag-offer na sa akin na friend na parang sila ang mga magpa-fund for a book," he said.

Royol admitted that he already foresaw himself in the finals of the hit TV cooking contest. In fact, he created his winning dish, "bigorot," which blends his Bicolano and Igorot heritage, back in December.

The dish, which used organic ingredients grown and acquired in the Cordilleras, 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 Gomez and 99 from Aquino, who described it as “perfection.”

"When I went home for a family reunion noong December sa Mountain Province doon ako nakapag-isip ng recipe," Royol recalled.

"Then when I brought it up sa friend ko sabi niya, 'Why not do this sa different regions ng Philippines? We will fund you. You write a book and then you travel and try to recreate or try to make a dish from local produce sa mga regions na pupuntahan,'" he added.

But Royol also admitted that the being on show helped boost the popularity of his band Israfel.

"Actually noong nag-audition ako sa 'MasterChef,' hindi ko naisip yung banda. Equally pareho ko sila (music and cooking) gusto at equally passionate ako sa kanila. But when I joined 'MasterChef,' buong focus ko nasa competition at hindi kami nag-gig noong entire competition," he said.

"It's something that we are really hoping na we could make something out of, na magagamit namin in the future," he said of his exposure on the show. "At least may recall man lang, not only for me, but for the entire band na din para makakatok kami sa mga pintong interesado sa amin."

Royol, whose dream is to perform with singer-songwriter Noel Cabangon, and his band have been recording their own songs.

He said they are planning to submit their work to recording companies.