Having been raised in a family of cooks, with her Grandmother being a former cook in Indonesia while her mother handled their family Catering Business before, it has been Chef Agnes’ childhood dream to become a Chef. She was a Business Management Graduate from Xavier University (2002) but her passion for cooking led her to enrol in Culinary Institute of Cagayan de Oro for Batch 2 in the year 2010. Chef Agnes couldn’t contain the smile on her face, answering our questions, while reminiscing the days she was still a student chef at the Institute. Now that she’s an up-and-coming Chef Entrepreneur in the Industry with her newly opened Bistro last September 28, 2014, Chef Agnes shares her past experiences and words of encouragement to all aspiring chefs.
- Are you currently employed? Where? How long have you been working?
I used to work at N Hotel. In fact I was the very first female hired Chef at the Hotel and I worked there for 11 months before I resigned and decided to put up my own Bistro. I was the Assistant Head Chef of the Restaurant from June 6, 2013 to May 15, 2014.
- Who helped you find your previous work? And now your own business?
The school, CIC, recommended me to apply at N Hotel and I gave it a shot. As for my own Bistro, I was backed up by my family, especially by my father.
- Why did you enrol in CIC? What have you learned in CIC?
Because it is “The First in Northern Mindanao” (laughs). I was actually one of the visitors during CIC’s very first Open House and I enrolled after that. I have learned a lot in CIC! The formal training I had undergone was incomparable and I treasure the close relationships I had with my Chef Instructors. I also gained friends during my training in fact my batch mates and I still keep in touch to this day.
- What is your favourite cuisine?
Definitely, Asian Cuisine! Chinese Cuisine to be specific.
- What’s the best thing about being a Chef? And the Worst?
I can say that the best thing about being a Chef is when the guests recognize what I cooked for them. There is this pride in knowing that the guests recognize and appreciate you as a Chef. As for the worst, it would be the chaotic relationships inside the kitchen (when it happens).
- What is your favourite food?
Barbecue! (laughs) It’s on the top of my list, definitely barbecue.
- If you did not become a Chef, what do you think would have been your career?
My childhood dream was to become a Chef, so I couldn’t imagine myself not becoming one. (laughs). I clearly remembered how teary I was during the Toque Ceremony when the Chef Instructors gave me my Toque and during my Graduation when I changed into my new Chef’s Jacket. It was a dream come true.
- How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a good Chef and as a very friendly person— someone who my workmates and my friends could easily approach and count on in times of need.
- What best advice did you get from your CIC Chef Instructor(s)?
To never give up on my dream, especially when I knew my potentials. I remember the time I faced a lot of personal problems and I almost gave up my schooling because of the heavy weight on my shoulders. Chef Malou encouraged me to finish my training and to never give up on my dream. She saw great potential in me and I took her words to heart. I am very thankful for her and for her encouraging words to this day.
- Do you think you learned the necessary professional competencies expected of your chosen career now?
Very. I don’t only limit my knowledge when I’m inside the school. I research and study even when I’m at home. I’m a very serious and a very hardworking person and I never fail to apply the things I learned at the Institute.
- Were you trained rigidly with a sense of discipline by your current/former employer?
Yes, I even learned a lot in N Hotel. I learned more cooking techniques, ones which you could only be able to learn when you’re in an actual professional kitchen. Discipline, professionalism and camaraderie were all observed inside the kitchen.
- Have you developed values of hard work and diligence?
Yes, all the time.
- Did you get along with your co-workers? Employees?
Yes, especially with my co-cooks and stewards. Even after I resigned, we kept in touch. Some of them even applied to work in my Bistro. (laughs) In my Bistro, I have three employees so far and we get along pretty well.
- Were you able to apply in your work the KSA (Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude) learning methods that you’ve learned from CIC?
Yes. I couldn’t imagine myself without applying everything I learned in CIC.
- What advice would you like to share to aspiring chefs?
Follow your dreams and apply what you have learned all the time. The things you’ve learned during your formal training will all help you in the future. Next, do not bend the rules of the Establishments, even under pressure, because if something goes wrong and you disobeyed the rules, the name you’ll destroy is not only yours but also the establishment’s. Always obey your Head(s) and do not become insubordinate apprentices.
To all aspiring student chefs, if cooking is really not your passion and if you feel you lack the drive to finish because you were forced to take Culinary, don’t force yourself in pursuing this career path. You need both the heart and the passion to finish the course you’ve chosen and you will do yourself and your parents a favor. To those who dream of becoming a Chef like me, go on and pursue your dreams. Never give it up because the joy you’ll receive when you’re inside the kitchen will always be incomparable.
Name of Resto: Chef Agnes Bistro
Date Opened: September 28, 2014
Location: Don Carlos, Bukidnon
Contact #: 0926-451-5215