By Leigh O’Connor.
On a personal mission to make Mango’s Bar and Grill
the most renowned pub in Queensland, Filipino-born Chef Robert Caymo Cauilan delivers world-class cuisine with an Asian twist in a modern context to discerning diners.
Elevating pub dining with a team of internationally trained Chefs, Mango’s on Frizzo Road in Palmview curates the freshest flavours of the Sunshine Coast. Nestled in the iconic Banana Bender pub, you’ll be greeted by some quirky characters on arrival, from a kangaroo in sunglasses to a koala riding a wave, while the choice of where to dine is up to you - from the spacious Queensland-inspired verandah to the Celebrity Mezzanine, where more than 60 famous Aussies in caricature await.
Robert discovered a love for cooking by helping his Mum in the kitchen of their San Mateo home in the Philippines, sparking a genuine interest in food influenced by his family, especially his grandmother who owned a small restaurant.
"I believe I inherited my culinary talents from these inspiring figures,” he tells AGFG. "Cooking has always been more than just a task for me; it’s a passion that continues to excite me. Even at home, I find joy in preparing food, infusing each dish with inspiration and a keen sense of presentation.”
His culinary journey officially began during his college years, when he studied for a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management at Central Luzon State University in the Philippines. Eager to showcase his talents and immerse himself in the industry, Robert actively participated in cooking competitions, securing a Gold and Silver medal in the up-and-coming Chefs and Filipino cuisine challenge respectively.
"Ever since my childhood, the dream of becoming a Chef has danced in my imagination. It’s a tribute to my parents, envisioning a restaurant of their own. I see being a Chef as not just a career but as a means to turn their dreams into reality.
"Every dish I create is a step towards our shared goal, a manifestation of a family dream that fuels my journey in the world of flavours and culinary delights.”
In the kitchen, Robert is constantly on high alert for that timer’s crucial ding – the signal that something’s perfectly cooked and ready to roll.
"The order printer on the other hand, acts like a rapid-fire commander, relentlessly barking out orders, urgently spewing a flurry of culinary demands that need immediate attention.”
Sharing his recipe for braised pork belly humba and papaya salad
, Robert says this dish holds a special place in his heart reflecting his Filipino heritage and a personal touch with the inclusion of his favourite salad.
"Each bite is a taste of nostalgia and celebration of my Filipino roots.”
Confessing to dreams of becoming a Celebrity Chef, don’t expect every meal at home to be extraordinary…when he doesn’t feel in the mind there will be a cup of noodles – "just put in the hot water and wait three minutes.”