Chefs’ group dismisses exclusivity
There are many industry-related associations for chefs and restaurateurs. It is up to the participant to choose which association he or she feels would give him the best network, the most growth, and hopefully, great friendships.
This week, I met those in the revamped Hotel and Restaurant Chefs’ Association of the Philippines (HRCAP). It is an association led by chefs who work or have worked in hotels and restaurants although it is open to everyone in the industry, including suppliers and even food issue advocates.
The group was founded in 1994 by Bert Francisco, a retired hotel chef who now runs his own restaurant in his hometown of Imus, Cavite. He was the chef garde-manger of the Manila Hotel during the martial rule and was executive sous chef of the Diamond Hotel when he founded HRCAP. He also served as executive chef for various hotels.
Francisco was succeeded in 2017 by chef Dennis Peralta who has a very impressive résumé himself. Peralta was one of the chefs at the Hotel Intercontinental, which we remember for such fine chefs such as Billy King and Cyrille Soenen.
Since his Intercon days, chef Dennis has really bloomed and eventually became culinary director at the Resorts World Manila, one of the first Filipinos (if not the first Filipino) to hold the rank of culinary/F&B director in the Philippines’ five-star hotel industry. Today, he is executive chef of City Garden group of hotels.
Closely working with him is chef Angelo “Chubby” Timban, who is now the executive chef of the F1 Hotel. Timban recently won the gold for the Filipino category at the last Philippine Culinary Cup.
HRCAP is a great effort to create a kitchen community that sincerely supports each other.
Peralta recalls how one deaf chef approached him, lamenting that programs available to persons with disabilities were limited to basic cooking. Chef Dennis personally mentored him. The apprentice even became a chef at a major hotel.
The community also helps members find work.
Last Thursday, HRCAP inducted its new officers: Peralta was named president; Timban as vice president; Chuser Quidlat, corporate secretary; Manny Nario, national treasurer; and Angelo Guison for marketing. Aside from doing demos in various food expos, they are also planning a cookbook and a feeding program for an indigent community.
I think the best thing about HRCAP is the sincere desire of its officers to help its members become better chefs or participants in the industry. They are intent on keeping their fees affordable (the fee to join HRCAP is only P2,500 for the entire year; other chef associations require as much as P3,000 for monthly dinners and P8,000 every three months). You can also instantly see the genuine desire of chef Dennis to support poor chefs who are starting out.
HRCAP currently has 460 members, with over 100 joining this year. I hope this association is truly able to inspire. We have so many talented people who just cannot afford the expensive culinary schools or dinners at fine dining restaurants where they need to be exposed. Hopefully, through their programs and projects, HRCAP can provide these people with the training and knowledge they need to achieve their dreams.
The Hotel and Restaurant Chefs’ Association of the Philippines is on Facebook.
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