Are you hungry JANFAM?
My mother and father were both born and raised in the Philippines. My father received an opportunity of a lifetime to immigrate to the states for employment purposes with the US Navy. He managed galleys on land and ships. They were exceptional cooks. My mother was known for her cooking skills and was recruited frequently to cook for parties within the Filipino community. Being surrounded by my parents who loved food was a gift.
A life-changing moment came when my dad was stationed in Italy. This country woke my curiosities regarding food. Both, my parents encouraged the experimentation of food, by allowing me to cook dinners for our guests. My first solo performance was at the age of 11 grilling rib-eye steaks with propane. In 1988, my father lost his battle with cancer and my mom raised two kids as a single parent. The years with my mom has shaped me into the woman I am today and many of her characteristics helped me get through the rigorous lifestyle as a professional chef.
Love came my way in 2000, I married a soldier, our adventures together have given me the opportunity to taste and learn about food all over the world. Helping me present my clients today with a wide array of menu options. Between my father and husband, being exposed to military life has opened up a large space in my heart for Veterans, Active Duty soldiers, and families within the Armed Forces.
If at first, you don't succeed. My first career was in banking and it took me awhile to realize it was not for me. At the age of 30, I started Culinary School at The Art Institute of Seattle, while my husband was deployed with 2 kids and a full-time job. Not an easy feat, but I graduated with honors and everybody survived. Please, hug a military spouse.
Being a chef has given me the opportunity to meet the most amazing people and bring happiness by the way of food. A recent milestone for our family was the retirement of my husband from the Army. We decided to move back to my hometown, Tacoma, WA. Going back to my roots evoked a need for cooking from my Filipino background. A recent impactful trip to the Philippines has brought much food and cultural inspiration. Thank you for your support. Follow your passion/s and never give up.