The Quickfire host recalls the road she took to becoming a chef.
How and when did you discover your love for cooking?
The yearning to learn cooking came later in my life. My background is actually in baking. With pastry-making, you take your time and measure every ingredient precisely. One wrong move and you have to start all over again. But with cooking, ingredients are not really measured; instead, we just eyeball it. I didn’t really learn to cook well until I entered culinary school. It was a month into my studies before I realized that this was what I was meant to do. I suddenly had the passion for creating different dishes—in spite of the heat, stress, and pressure in the hot kitchen.
Growing up, what drew you to the kitchen?
When I was younger, I took up short baking courses, thus, my love for baking began. Also, my mom would always ask me to help her in the kitchen so that I could learn how to cook or at least learn how to make rice. As I grew older, I enrolled in schools that offered short cooking courses. I also grew up watching "Wok with Yan" and the Dazas cook on TV.
Now you yourself are on TV. You must get recognized when you go out.
When I started Quickfire, more people recognized me. One time, I was at the mall shopping when a group of women asked to have their picture taken with me individually. I obliged. All of them left after a bit of chitchat except for one girl. Then she blurted out, “Chef, pwedeng pa-kiss?” I was taken aback at first but I just said sure. She gave me a peck on the cheek and she left screaming, “I got to kiss her!” over and over again. It was weird but also amusing.
Any other endeavors aside from your TV show?
I am putting together a small cooking class in the comfort of my own home. A cookbook is also in progress.
As a young mom, what kind of food do you feed your kids?
With Katrina, 16, and Kyle,12, I just feed them whatever it is I cook and eat. I make sure that they get a balanced diet every day. Vegetables are in every meal. It was never really hard for me to feed them that because if they see me eat something, they instantly try it and they usually like it. My kids are pretty adventurous when it comes to eating. They have no qualms about eating sashimi and sushi, and they can eat up to three pieces of balut each without feeling disgusted!
Next page: The Umami Mommy names her pantry must-haves