Chef Dan Puga II Reigns Supreme with Octopus Sisig Dish at the First-ever Funlasang Pinoy Twist Fest

Octopus Sisig wins. Chef Danilo Puga II won the hearts of the chef judges

with his own take on the classic Pinoy sisig by using octopus as a twist to his dish.

After cutting through 160 entries and besting eight other Filipino chef finalists, Chef Danilo Puga II hails as the first-ever Funlasang Pinoy Twist Fest Champion with his original recipe of Octopus Sisig, a spin-off on the classic Pinoy favorite sisig dish. The culinary competition was initiated by Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) Philippines to provide an avenue for Filipino chefs and cooks to showcase their talents and creativity to reignite everyone’s love for Filipino food.

Puga, 30, took up Culinary Arts and Technology Management at the Center for Culinary Arts but first worked in the corporate setting before pursuing his passion for cooking. After a leap of faith, deciding to make the great shift to fulfill his dream and also have more time with his family, he put up his own 40-seater restaurant in Antipolo called Minced Manila. When asked what his inspiration was behind his Octopus Sisig dish, he shared, “Personally, mahilig kasi ako sa sisig [I personally like sisig]. We were thinking of healthier alternatives to sisig, so we used octopus instead. It was my father-in-law who introduced octopus to me. Whenever I would see octopus in the market, I would come up with different dishes with it, one of which was this dish.”

In line with UFS’ initiative to place the limelight on Filipino cuisine, Puga also shares in the same advocacy and practices food innovation in his own restaurant to help the cause, give Pinoy food the recognition that it deserves, and encourage chefs and cooks in the Philippines to create their own unique recipes too. “We should never be afraid of getting out of our comfort zone by using new ingredients or infusing different techniques to Filipino food because this will help the cuisine evolve. Innovation will bring the Filipino cuisine to the world map,” Puga shared.

Apart from his now-award-winning Octopus Sisig dish, Puga also offers a variety of innovative and flavorful dishes with a twist such as Ensaladang Pakwan at Kesong Puti, Sizzling Fries, and Lechon Ceasar Salad in his restaurant.

Puga’s Octopus Sisig surpassed the rigorous judging by notable chefs in the industry, including Aracama Filipino Cuisine Executive Chef Fernando Aracama and UFS Senior Sous Chefs Brando Santos and Paulo Sia, and took home the grand prize of PHP 100,000. The unique dishes prepared by the nine finalists were scored according to creativity of the twist, food taste and presentation, and the use of the UFS products such as Knorr® and Lady’s Choice® Real Mayonnaise.

This milestone is just the beginning for greater things to come for Chef Dan Puga as he envisions to put up even more restaurants, if given the opportunity. In hopes to inspire chefs and cooks with his win at the Funlasang Pinoy Twist Fest, he would like to create even more impact among those who share in the same passion and love for cooking. Dan shared, “Never stop learning and always believe in your talent. Also, practice the fundamental methods of cooking because at the end of the day, no matter how good your concept is, but the cooking method is not right, wala din. We have to go back to basics.”

Without a doubt, the creativity and skill of Pinoy chefs is something to be proud of as seen in the exceptional dishes created by the Filipino chefs and cooks at the Funlasang Pinoy Twist Fest. With UFS continuous initiative to create avenues for chefs and cooks to showcase their skills, creativity and knowledge, and give them access to the right products, chefs and cooks can expect even more opportunities from UFS that will cultivate their talent, and celebrate the Filipino cuisine.

UFS Philippines awards Danilo Puga (3rd from right) as the first-ever Funlasang Pinoy Twist Fest Champion for his Octopus Sisig dish. In photo with the winner from L-R are celebrity host Tonipet Gaba, Aracama Filipino Cuisine Executive Chef Fernando Aracama, UFS Philippines Country Marketing Manager Pat Mallari, and UFS Senior Sous Chefs Paulo Sia and Brando Santos (2nd from right and right-most respectively).

To know more about UFS and Funlasang Pinoy, visit