Budding Student-Chefs Create Healthy Gourmet Sandwiches at St. Paul University x Gardenia Cooking Challenge

Gardenia and St. Paul University Manila recently co-hosted a cooking competition where students from St. Paul University Manila, University of Makati, and Chang Kai Shek College came together in creating healthy gourmet sandwich recipes using Gardenia breads as their main ingredient.

Held last May as a culminating activity for the recent 2023-2024 school year, the first ever St. Paul University Manila x Gardenia Sandwich Challenge tasked the participants to create a tropics-inspired recipe within a 30-minute time limit and a fixed budget of 300 pesos – and the budding chefs stepped up to the plate!

With the theme, Tropical Wellness, this sandwich-making competition featured a total of nine teams, which were divided into two brackets: (A) Internal, which is the category for St. Paul University students, and (B) External, which included the students from the other participating universities.

For the internal category, 4th year St. Paul University BS Hospitality Management students Kyla Dela Umbria and Sharllene Madeja were proclaimed as grand winners with their Kani Mango in Toasted Sesame Dressing Sandwich using Gardenia High Fiber Whole Wheat Bread.

Winning sandwich creation: Kani Mango in Toasted Sesame Dressing Sandwich

For the toasted sesame dressing, Kyla and Sharllene used sesame seeds, Japanese mayonnaise, sesame oil, and apple cider vinegar. To bring in the tropics, they added crabsticks, mangoes, and cucumber, and then completed this healthy sandwich recipe with egg slices, tomatoes, lettuce, and kani salad.

Kani Mango in Toasted Sesame Dressing Sandwich
● Toasted Sesame Dressing
○ ¼ cup of Sesame seeds
○ 200-300g of Japanese mayonnaise
○ 4 tbsp of Sesame oil
○ 1 tbsp of Apple cider vinegar
○ 1 pinch of Salt
○ 1 pinch of Ground black pepper
○ 4 tbsp of Ground brown sugar
○ 5 cloves of Garlic, minced

● Kani Salad
○ 500g-1kg of Crab sticks
○ 2-3 pcs. of Mangoes
○ 1 pc. of Cucumber, diced

● Kani Sandwich
○ Gardenia High Fiber Whole Wheat Bread
○ Butter (optional)
○ Lettuce
○ 3 pcs. of Boiled eggs
○ 3 slices of American cheese
○ Sliced tomatoes

A. Prepare the toasted sesame dressing
1. Toast the Sesame seeds on a non-stick pan until golden brown. Set aside.
2. Grind the toasted Sesame seeds until powder-like consistency.
3. Combine ground Sesame seeds, Japanese mayonnaise, sesame oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and minced garlic. Set aside.

B. Assemble the sandwich
1. Prepare the kani salad by combining crab sticks, sliced mangoes and diced cucumbers. Set aside.
2. Lay out slices of Gardenia High Fiber Whole Wheat Bread.
3. Add butter on the bread slices (optional).
4. On the first layer of the sandwich, add lettuce, kani salad, and sliced boiled egg slices.
5. On the second layer, add lettuce, kani salad, cheese, and sliced tomatoes.
6. Top with a third loaf of bread.
7. Garnish with mangoes.

Meanwhile, the grand winners for the external bracket were Chang Kai Shek College BS Hospitality Management students Carlo Velasquez, a 4th year student, and Mariel Kimberly Hsueh, a 2nd year student, who made a Tropical Sunset Sandwich, which was a fun and playful twist on the classic Eggs Benedict.

Tropical Sunset Sandwich, the winning recipe from Chang Kai Shek College Hospitality Management students

Carlo and Mariel used the Gardenia High Fiber Whole Wheat bread as base for their recipe, and added a flavorful twist to the sandwich with shrimps and zesty slices of mango. The Tropical Sunset is a cold sandwich served with breadsticks and a passion fruit sauce.

Tropical Sunset Sandwich


  • Gardenia High Fiber Whole Wheat Bread
  • 5 pcs. of Eggs
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 1 pc. of Onion
  • 1 pc. of Tomato
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • Wansoy
  • 1 pc. of Mango
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ginger
  • 15 pcs. of Shrimp
  • 3 pcs. of Bacon
  • Vinegar
  • 3 pcs. of Cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • Passion fruit
  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch


  1. Prepare the layers
  2. Cook 3 eggs in a pan to make an omelette. Transfer to a plate and let it cool.
  3. Wash the romaine lettuce, dry, and place in the chiller.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the minced onion, tomato, garlic, wansoy, and mango. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. In a medium pot, boil water with onion and ginger. Add the shrimps in skewer sticks.
  6. In a pan, fry the bacon until brown and cut it into desired size.
  7. Poach egg in a medium pot. Just add vinegar and salt in boiling water, then mix continuously while adding the egg.
  8. Assemble the sandwich
  1. Lay out slices of Gardenia High Fiber Whole Wheat Bread.
  2. On the first layer, add the egg omelette, lettuce, and mango mixture.
  1. On the second layer, add the cheese slice, bacon, and mayo spread.
  2. Top it off with another slice of bread and add the poached egg on top.
  3. Serve with the Passion Fruit sauce made by combining passion fruit, sugar, and cornstarch.

The winning sandwich creations were selected by a panel of judges led by Gardenia’s Chef Danae Yu based on the following criteria: (1) the use of unique and unexpected ingredients that complement each other; (2) visual appeal and plating; (3) cleanliness and technique; and most importantly, (4) combination of flavors and textures for overall enjoyment.

The winners received Sodexo gift certificates, Gardenia’s limited-edition recipe book, and a gift pack of Gardenia products, which include various health and flavored loaves, muffins, as well as Gardenia’s Happy Mie Mi Goreng, Coffee Smile, and Delicia Salted Caramel.

This sandwich-making competition tested the students’ culinary talent and creativity, aligning with Gardenia’s Kusina ni Gardee (KNG) campaign that aims to explore the delicious possibilities one can do with breads. Gardenia’s KNG also showcases cooking videos that are posted on Gardenia’s Facebook, Instagram and TikTok page, where consumers can find easy recipes that are made more filling and nutritious with their favorite Gardenia products.

Aside from putting on spotlight delicious sandwich recipes, bringing the KNG experience to campuses also creates an avenue for promoting healthy eating habits, integrating Gardenia’s mission to serve its consumers BEYOND BAKING. During the competition at St. Paul University Manila, Gardenia’s very own culinary specialist led a lecture on healthy eating where the participants learned helpful tips on meal preparation and reading of nutrition labels.

The St. Paul University Manila x Gardenia Sandwich Challenge was held at the university’s Founder Hall in time for PaulSkills Event 2024, and was organized by the College of Business and Management in collaboration with the Marketing Office of St. Paul University Manila and the Center for Continuing Education headed by Doctor Amelia Butial.