Meet Malacanang's Executive Chef (and self-proclaimed Yummy reader).
How did you end up in the Palace kitchen?
I was initially appointed as Assistant Secretary, Department of Budget and Management (and before this I was Finance Director in the Committee on Appropriations), but I said, “Ma’am I’m tired of doing paperwork. I want to cook.” I had also studied culinary arts and so I was hired by the President to professionalize the Palace kitchen. Since my forte is in budgeting and finance, I still get to use my expertise to limit kitchen expenses.
What’s a day in your life like?
Full of surprises—unscheduled and unexpected presidential official events with less than eight hours’ notice! I’m on call and on duty 24/7. No holidays!
As the President’s chef, what’s your most memorable experience so far?
Cooking personally in my pajamas at midnight for an emergency meeting called to discuss the country’s national interests. I had to feed 1,000 people in just an hour’s notice.
What types of dishes does GMA like?
Alam mo si Presidente, wala siyang demands. Just don’t serve her yucky food. Foodie si President and definitely, Pinoy pa rin ang gusto niya. Nagkakamay siya kapag kumakain ng alimango. Adobo, that’s her favorite too. Inihaw na hito na may burong hipon, boiled ampalaya, okra—yan ang mga type niya. When it comes to international dishes, [she and her family] prefer Spanish cuisine. May sarili silang recipes na galing sa kusinera ng kalolo-lolohan nila. Yan pinag-aralan ko at nakuha ko naman eventually.
Tell us about any of the President’s memorable dining experiences.
Kunwari we have bulalo soup in our buffet. Lalagyan ni Presidente ng soup yung bowl, tapos bubuhusan niya ng rice. Sabi namin, nakalimutan ata ni Presidente na nasa function siya. Nakakatuwa.
Next page: A peek into the President's fridge.