Chef Boy doesn’t seem to run out of energy in all these things, though, accomplishing the tasks always with sense of humor. No wonder the kitchen superstar is one of the most lucrative and popular chefs in the country.
Just like Cinderella
Not long ago, Chef Boy, who hails from a family of fishermen in Biliran in Eastern Visayas, was a houseboy in a Chinese resto in Quiapo. An elementary school dropout, he said he never really dreamed big. His exposure to goings-on in the kitchen and the wonders of cooking reoriented his mindset. After gaining sufficient experience in other restaurants in and around Manila, the hardworking young man found his way to a palace in Oman, where he was eventually crowned – no, not as prince – as sous chef. In the royal household, Chef Boy served leaders from different states, going on to tour the world with the sultan. The latter liked Chef Boy so much that he allowed him to live a lavish lifestyle. Apart from a huge house, he gave Chef Boy an elegant car. More importantly, his family was able to live with him in the Emirates.
It’s not as if Chef Boy didn’t have sad memories. He claims being treated badly on his way up. “’Yung mga matataas ang pwesto, sisigawan ka kung tuturuan ka. ’Yun bang bubuwisitin ka muna,” he said in an exclusive interview. From personal experience, the chef advises those who want to follow his path to lose their sense of self- importance first.
“If you want to be accepted as a sous chef, forget your ego – you’ll never grow. Focus on your goal. Ako, sinabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘After three years, uuwi naman ako, meron na akong lote, hindi na ako babalik sa lugar niyo.’” And that’s exactly what happened. A few years later, Chef found himself working as executive chef at the Manila Diamond Hotel.
As for his TV stardom, it started when he joined the cooking show “Secrets of the Master.”
“Tanggapin mo ’yung failures mo. Huwag mong sabihin na magaling ka. Hindi ’yung napagsabihan ka lang eh iiyak ka na o lalaban. Hindi ganon. Never ever stop learning. Ang pag-aaral ay hanggang kamatayan,” he muses aloud.(M. Delizo, mb)