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Whitney Alumni and Former Cerritos Resident Wins Gilroy Garlic Cook-off With Original Lumpia Wrap Recipe

COOK-OFF WINNER Will Simbol (center holding the 1st Place check worth $5,000) with friends and family at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Simbol won with his original “Savory Crunchy Freshy Tangy Shrimpy Herby Garlic Lumpia Wrap.” Photo courtesy the Simbol family.



Whitney High School alumni and former Cerritos resident Will Simbol won the 2018 Great Garlic Cook-off at the 40th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Simbol won with his original recipe that is a much of a mouthful as the title: “Savory Crunchy Freshy Tangy Shrimpy Herby Garlic Lumpia Wrap.” 

Simbol beat out seven other finalists who came from all over the country. 

The eight finalists were selected from hundreds of entries from all over the country, who then traveled to the festival in the tiny central California town

In a Food TV Chopped program format the contestants cooked in front fair attendee and a fiver person panel of judges with a time limit of two hours.

Lumpia is the Filipino spring roll and is one of the traditional Filipino dishes. 

Simbol’s lumpia wrap consisted of a cup-shape piece of leaf lettuce, his “original” garlic rice, all topped with his original deep fried garlic lumpia. 

The esthetically pleasing dish is eaten like a taco with the lumpia wrap served on small bamboo steamers lined with banana leaves, accompanied by lime wedge and more of Simbol’s original garlic sauce poured into a wooden spoon. 

 All five judges praised the overall taste of the dish while also extolling the ability to add different taste levels with the garlic sauce and lime. 

One of the judges described the sauce as “fantastic” first trying the lumpia wrap without adding anything, then with the sauce alone, finally with the lime alone, saying “this dish is a big hit.”  



Simbol’s Savory Crunchy Freshy Tangy Shrimpy Herby Garlic Lumpia Wrap.




Simbol won the coveted garlic crown and a $5,000 cash price. Simbol’s parents, who are originally from Pampanga, Philippines, are longtime residents of the city of Cerritos, located in southern California on the Los Angeles and Orange County borders. 

Simbol grew up in Cerritos and graduated from the prestigious Whitney High School, located in Cerritos, 

Whitney was recently ranked the best high school in California after placing second for many years.

Simbol now resides in New York, New York and is teaching at Ideal School of Manhattan, a K-12 school located in the City. 

The IDEAL School opened its doors in 2006 with 20 students from kindergarten to second grade. 

Over the past decade, IDEAL has grown from elementary school, to middle school, and now to high school, with almost 200 students.