A painting competition for young Filipino contemporary artists dubbed “Food and Art” concluded through the Caruso Awards 2015 on May 28 at the Caruso Ristorante Italiano. Emerging as grand winner was John Levin Cuevas followed by Dennis Francisco at second place, and Jaylenver Penafiel and John Emerson Tejones at third place.
The brainchild of Caruso Ristorante Italiano co-owner and marketing manager Emilio Mina in partnership with Ed Soler of Galeria Astra, the art contest opened in March with eight participating artists, who were cut down to four at the semi finals in April.
According to Mina, the restaurant, which is named after the Italian tenor Enrico Caruso, chose the unique theme of food and art because it aims to prove that the restaurant can also serve as a center of culture and arts.
Judging the finalists were three prominent artists, Virgilio Aviado, Jean Marie Syjuco, and Noel El Farol. Diners of the famed Italian restaurant and the public were also asked to vote.
Awarding the cash prizes and certificates to the winners were Italian Ambassador Massimo Roscigno assisted by the charming wife of Emilio, Evelyn Mina.
The awarding rites was opened by a doxology by Caruso waiter Roderick Estiller. Singing “The Prayer,” he surprised the guests present with his enchanting voice.
Other highlights of the awards night were performances by friends of Caruso like Cultural Center of the Philippines president Raul Sunico who opened the program with three beautiful piano pieces, as well as famous singer Jose Mari Chan, businessman turned tenor George Yang, balladeer Arthur Manuntag with surprise numbers from lovely wife Kathy and son Sean.
Also presented were the scholars of the George Yang Foundation from UST, soprano Jade Riccio and tenor Nomer Nival. Mom and Jenny Nardone, owners of Porta Galleria, displayed their jewelry creations beside the paintings.
Special guest of the night was Rep. Imelda Marcos who gave a beautiful and inspirational closing remark.
A lovely dinner prepared by Caruso partner goodlooking Dario Gardini followed at the Caruso. More singing ensued as Dr. George Sarakinis did a duet with Madame Marco to the delight of guests like international violinist Rony Rogoff, Guru George Sison, famous sculptor Ramon Orlina, the diplomatic corps, and the Italian community.
There were Marcoroberto Ascione with sultry Olah Brady, diamond dealer Hans Demetz and exotic Jannah Lopez. Of course not to be outdone were gorgeous ladies who rendered beautiful songs, including wellness guru Cory Quirino, and a duet by concert queen Pops Fernandez and movie actress Vina Morales.
It was indeed a successful competition and awards night that Emilio is thinking of another similar event before the year ends. Congratulations, Emilio and Dario!