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How This Culinary Org Prepares Student Chefs to Succeed in the Real World

There's also work outside the kitchen!
IMAGE Courtesy of Culinaire

Culinaire, Enderun Colleges’ premier culinary organization, trains its members to excel in the culinary world. It hones their skills, as well as provides them with opportunities to learn from the best and explore different aspects of the industry. Here’s exactly how it’s been preparing aspiring chefs to succeed in the real world.

1. It immerses them in the business side of the industry.

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Culinaire has various events where members run an establishment and cook the dishes. Pop Up, for instance, finds students taking over Enderun Colleges’s Restaurant 101 in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Students are in charge of the menu, financing, and restaurant operations. “This is my favorite activity because it exposes you to real kitchen work,” says Martin Visbal, Culinaire’s president. “From recipe testing, costing, controlling the budget, and taking care of your employees (in this case, our members)—I was able to do all of those in Culinaire.” Meanwhile, Gabriel Augustine Santos, the org’s executive committee trainee, shares, “I learned the importance of proper costing and financial projections to ensure our funds are well distributed. This means we’ll have the right amount of ingredients and that our Pop Up is profitable.”

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Culinaire also has a booth at the school’s sports festival, Titans Week. It serves dishes that it believes will sell in the Enderun community: rice bowls, hotdog sandwiches, and soft-shell tacos. Recently, it sold gourmet burgers for P100 to P200. “We still try to maintain the high standards we are known for as we strive to earn money,” says Martin.

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2. It instills teamwork and professionalism.

By working together toward successful events, Culinaire members learn to be team players. According to Marcky Yuvienco, the org’s internal vice president, for Pop Up, the president is the head chef, and he delegates the different tasks and duties to the members. Different teams are assigned to the meats, vegetables, sauces, and side dishes; some members serve the guests; and the president plates each dish before it’s sent to the customers. All of them clean up after.

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Martin states, “Successful events require working with different people, including those you may not be close with or even like. Still, you must be professional and handle the job at hand. Thankfully, Culinaire members are easy and fun to work with.”

Although not an officer yet, Gabriel does a lot for the org. “I have worked day and night with the executive committee to make sure every activity we plan will push through efficiently and effectively.” He adds that apart from proper planning, the help of other Culinaire members has been crucial to successful endeavors. “The quality of the members outweighs quantity.”

3. It helps students be more mindful of food’s impact on people.

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Even if they’re trained in the business side of the culinary industry, Culinaire members have also become more aware of the importance of food in one’s wellbeing. Martin cooks for other people. “I love the fact that I can change a person’s mood with the food I make,” he says. Gabriel shares the same sentiment. “Each dish I make is inspired by experiences in my life. I want to share these with the people around me. I want to not just fill people’s physiological needs but make them happy too.” He adds, “Cooking is beyond work and filling the stomach. It’s an art. It has always brought people together, and it’s been integral to our survival.”

4. It’s humbling.

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Culinaire members express their creativity (and themselves) in the food they serve, so they’re opening themselves up to praise and criticism. Marcky reveals, “The guests at Restaurant 101 know that Pop Up is a special event run by Culinaire, and they go there to find out what we’re capable of creating. So far, the dishes we’ve served at Pop Up have been well received. We still get comments on how the dish can be improved on, though.” They all need that feedback to do better next time.

At the other end of the spectrum, culinary students also have to deal with people who disregard their art and hearing others say “Luto-luto lang ‘yan.” According to Martin, the industry is “physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting.” He explains that people in the kitchen work long hours every day and are underpaid, while still being expected to warmly serve others and meet their requests. This compels Martin to treat his peers (and future kitchen staff) well to keep them on board. It’s no surprise then why Culinaire uses the profits from the Titans Week food stall to treat the 20 most active members to dinner anywhere in the metro.

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Kathreece Quizon 7 hours ago

Today, I am sharing my mother's story. I wish my mother was a constant in my life, like an angel who guards you to sleep and comes right there when you called. But angels come back home too, in heaven where they always belonged, and my mother went back a little early. My mother died when I was 13 years old. My last memory of my mother: Letting go when you are not yet ready is a very cruel thing that one has to ever experience. It is a sudden wave of total sadness and desperation crashing into your very core.

On the 28th of July 2013, we went to a resort in Bataan for the employees’ getaway. My parents own a 7-11 franchise, and it had always been a tradition to give their store clerks a get-together every year. I remember very well the last breakfast I had with my mother. The Sunday morning sky was clear and sunny, and the sea was calm and tranquil as we ate our breakfast on a cottage under the tall palm trees. She shared with us a strange dream she had the other night. She dreamt about an unknown woman holding an ice pick chasing her down on a dimly lit street, then she woke up just before the woman could grab her arm. We never knew what that dream exactly meant and now, I wished I never knew its meaning. After breakfast, my family and our employees decided to take a swim at the beach. The day was nice. The morning air may be chilly but the sun’s kiss on our skins gave us warmth. It was perfect. Everything is fine and the tides are low which made it very enjoyable to swim. We swam a little farther from the shore and we stopped to the point where the water reached our shoulders. We were talking about the good things in life and reminiscing the good old days. Those are the things that I’ve always loved about my family because I never had a meaningless conversation with them.

A few moments later, we heard a panicking call for help from one of our store clerks. It was Rachel. She was struggling to keep her head above water. She was already drowning but the odd thing was, she was only a few feet away from us. At first, we thought she was just playing around until we felt the sand in our toes dissolving like powder. It felt like as if the seafloor submerged deeper. I remembered sighting the shore and it seemed so close yet very far away. We were all panicking at that time. No one knew how to swim except my mother so without having second thoughts she swam towards Rachel and called out to my father, “Yung mga anak mo! Dalhin mo sa pampang yung mga anak mo!” and I never thought I already heard my mother’s last words to my father. I was paddling like a dog, gasping for air, as I say a little prayer to God to take us all back to safety. I felt my father grabbing our swimsuits, trying to lift our bodies so we can breathe even though he was also struggling to keep himself alive. Once I felt my toes touch the ground, there came a veil of relief that covered my whole body. As soon as my father and my sister made it to the shore we started calling out for help. There were no lifeguards on duty at that time, no personnel, nor guards. I saw my mother already floating in her stomach. We sighted a boat sailing nearby, we waved our hands and called for their attention. They almost ignored us because they cannot comprehend what we were trying to relay but the good thing was a passenger in the boat noticed my mother and Rachel in the water.

My mother’s body was laid on the shore. She was unconscious and her whole body was pale as white. My father performed CPR but my mother couldn’t get the water come out of her mouth because the food she ate earlier got stuck in her throat and blocked the passage. A concerned tourist offered his car to deliver my mom in a nearby health center or a clinic of some sort since the hospital was miles away from the beach and she needs immediate care. My father told us to stay in the hotel room and prepare mom’s belongings so that if she wakes up she has fresh clothes to change into. My sister and I finished packing our things and waited for our father to pick us up from the hotel. I was crying and I couldn’t stop myself because I was afraid to lose my mother. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be if I lose her that day. Moments lasted until we heard a knock on the door and it was my father, crying, and apologizing to us. He hugged me and my sister tightly and saying, “Sorry, anak, sorry hindi na uuwi si mommy, sorry hindi ko nasagip si mommy”. And that was the moment I felt sinking into the ground. I never knew what to feel at first. I was numb because my worries were now actually a reality that I have to live in. I was at shock because I am now one of the kids in those cliche teleseryes who lost a mother at an early age. We went to the health center to settle everything. The clinic was very small and it sure did lack equipment. He told us to stay in the car. I wanted to see my mom, but I know he never wanted us to see her like that. I didn’t know what to feel. I was having high anxiety levels that my stomach is churning and I wanted to vomit. I got off the car and entered the health center to find the restroom. When I was finding my way around, I passed by the emergency room. I saw my mother lying in a foldable bed, lifeless, her hands dangling from the side of the bed, she has violet bruises on her skin, and her body was partially covered with a white towel.

That is when it sunk into me that she’s dead and never coming back. My father asked the others to just commute back to Manila because what we need right now is comfort from our family. The drive back home was one of the most painful memory I had as a kid. My father was in the steering wheel crying his eyes out. We drove from Bataan to Pampanga. We went home to my grandmother’s house, the nearest house that we can call “home” because how are we still going to be “home” without her?

Once we reached Pampanga, we stopped over to the gas station and my father made some calls to our loved ones to tell them that my mother passed away. He then called my aunt to help him arrange for the funeral. We got home and my grandmother hugged us and told us to get some rest. Already tired of crying, I went to sleep for a while. I woke up and for a second, I thought everything that happened the other day was all just a dream. That she was there in Manila, sitting on the couch reading some furniture magazine, waiting for us to go home. But that’s how cruel life is, right? I got up and weirdly, I felt sands in the bed. It was gray, just like the ones on the beach. I thought maybe it was just dirt but it was a fair amount to believe that maybe she visited us before she left. - ?

- The part of how I conquered the grief of her passing is shared in my personal blog. I felt the need to share my story with everyone since she's the woman I look up to. Feel free to visit my personal blog too when you have the time. I love writing my stories. Thank You! link: http://qkathreece.wixsite.com/kathreecequizon/post/breaking-waves

Ry Fabella 7 hours ago

Hello! Sharing my first story in Wattpad!

TITLE: Whisper to the Stars AUTHOR: https://www.wattpad.com/user/withniji

GENRE: Teen Fiction/Romance STORY LINK: https://my.w.tt/Y3HeLPe9K7

Description: Ingrid Gianna "Gigi", a breadwinner of her family, has kept her feelings hidden for Hayme, her long time high school crush, because she has too much responsibilities in life; believing that she has no time for love. But, no matter how hard she tries to suppressed it for years, fate always finds its way....like it was already written in the stars.

COLLEGE SURVIVAL TIPS: IS BEING ALONE MEANS WEAKNESS OR STRENGTH, OR ELSE, MAYBE IT'S JUST YOUR OWN WAY TO SURVIVE.

College is a Matter of Survival. It is more on trusting and relying on YOURSELF, alone. College is not a race, it's like a journey, a journey of hardships, circumstances, and challenges that, to some extent, will push you to give up, so you must set your goals and take risks. College is far from being a junior or senior high school, so there's no more room for easy-going attitudes.

It is better to suffer now than to regret your actions in the future. I've learned these things and continue doing it right now. College made me realize that you'll meet temporary people in your life, some of them stay, but others not, they vanish, and soon you become strangers to them. It's okay to make friends, but you must know how to set your limitations with them. Also, don't forget to think wisely, there are some whose only seasonal friends. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you accompanied each other, and still, you have yourself. Being alone doesn't mean you avoid people coming into your life, it's just that, you know how to distance yourself from people you don't feel to get along with, and that's OKAY. The thing about college is, you'll meet different types of people who will help you to open up your mind to be more matured enough to the point that you will become more understanding rather than start an argument. There's nothing to be afraid of being alone, you just need to accept the facts and consequences.

Little by little, you will witness yourself develop from how much you've grown, and be grateful for that because you overcome those situations that trigger you to give up. I share these things with you that may be applicable to your upcoming college life and leaving this message to you. 'Don't hesitate to take risks to success, it will be paid off someday. Let God help you and do your very best.' #CollegeSurvival

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