San Mateo, Isabela, Philippines.
In my youth, I discovered a love for helping my Mom in the kitchen and that sparked a genuine interest in cooking. Influenced by my family, especially my Grandmother who owned a small restaurant, I believe I inherited my culinary talents from these inspiring figures.
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.
My culinary journey officially began during my college years, where I pursued a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management at Central Luzon State University in the Philippines. Eager to showcase my talents and immerse myself in the culinary industry, I actively participated in cooking competitions.
My skills flourished while working at a 4-star hotel, F1 Hotel Manila and later at a 5-star establishment, Hilton Manila, where I advanced my career to become a Chef de Partie overseeing three outlets at a remarkably young age.
Participating in prestigious culinary competitions in the Philippines, I proudly secured a Gold and Silver Medal in the up-and-coming Chefs and Filipino Cuisine Challenge, respectively.
Seeking new horizons, I embraced an opportunity in Australia. Joining the Banana Bender Pub as a Chef was not just about sharing my knowledge, experience and skills but also a chance for continuous learning. Within six months, I earned a promotion to Executive Chef, entrusted with leading the team at Mango’s Bar and Grill.
My personal mission is to deliver world-class cuisine with an Asian twist in a modern context. I aim to satisfy every guest, ensuring their experience is truly memorable. Ultimately, I aspire to make our venue the most renowned pub in Queensland!
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Since I was a kid, I always wanted to become a Chef and why I am pursuing my career as a Chef! It is because of my parents; their dream is to have their own restaurant and I know that working as a Chef it will help me to achieve my goal and their dreams.
How would you define your style?
Ever since my childhood, the dream of becoming a Chef has danced in my imagination. Why the culinary path? It's a tribute to my parents, envisioning a restaurant of their own. I see being a Chef not just as a career but as a means to turn their dreams into reality. Each 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.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Asian Cuisine with a combination of Filipino and Thai cuisine.
In my kitchen, I'm 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.
Your greatest culinary influence?
As a Head Chef and Chef instructor back in the Philippines I was able to impart my knowledge to my students and my co-Chefs my skills and knowledge and inspire them to pursue their culinary careers.
What do you love about this business?
In the realm of this business, personal growth intertwines seamlessly with innovation. Here, I not only evolve as an individual but also catalyse fresh ideas. My passion finds its purpose as I inspire and lead my team forward.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
I can’t live without mint and coriander. These are my favorite ingredients, especially in my salads.
Most eyebrow-raising menu item?
Braised Pork belly humba with papaya salad. It is a combination of Filipino braised pork belly with Thai papaya salad.
The Mango’s Burger – a savoury delight featuring a genuine beef patty complemented by our exclusive housemade bacon jam, pickled onions, American sliced cheese, mayo and fresh lettuce, all encased in a soft brioche burger bun. This culinary masterpiece isn't just a dish; it's an unparalleled experience. Unsurprisingly, the Mango’s Burger reigns supreme as the top-selling gem at Mango’s Bar and Grill.
Tell us about the recipe you are sharing and why is it special?
I'm delighted to share the recipe for braised beef pork belly humba with papaya salad. This recipe holds a special place in my heart as it reflects my Filipino heritage through the traditional dish of humba and it adds a personal touch with the inclusion of my favourite, papaya salad. Each bite is a taste of nostalgia and a celebration of my Filipino roots.
What can diners expect when they eat at your restaurant and what makes the experience special?
Expect an enjoyable dining experience as we aim to serve world-class cuisine with an Asian twist presented in a modern and exciting manner. Your taste buds are in for a delightful journey!
What is your go-to meal at home when you don’t feel like cooking?
A cup of noodles, just put in hot water and wait 3 minutes.
Tell us something no one knows about you?
I want to become a Celebrity Chef.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I envision myself continuing to be a part of this company while expanding its reach with the establishment of additional restaurant outlets.