His fate has been like a box of chocolates in that he himself didn’t know what he was going to get

by Michael Joe T. Delizo
July 28, 2014 (updated)
Manila Bulletin

YUM, YUM, YUM! Chef Boy says happiness and prayers are prime ingredients that make his creations more palatable than usual
YUM, YUM, YUM! Chef Boy says happiness and prayers are prime ingredients that make his creations more palatable than usual

Chef Boy Logro is a busy man. His day sometimes begins at 2 in the morning, with activities that include shuttling between GMA-7 in Quezon City and Cavite – then back again.

He juggles two TV shows on the Kapuso Network apart from managing several branches of his namesake restaurant and running his own culinary school. He also attends to numerous speaking engagements. He eats hectic for breakfast and maybe even for lunch and dinner some days.

Chef Boy doesn’t seem to run out of energy in all these things, though, accomplishing the tasks always with sense of humor. No wonder the kitchen superstar is one of the most lucrative and popular chefs in the country.

Just like Cinderella

Not long ago, Chef Boy, who hails from a family of fishermen in Biliran in Eastern Visayas, was a houseboy in a Chinese resto in Quiapo. An elementary school dropout, he said he never really dreamed big.

Chef Boy Logro
Chef Boy Logro

His exposure to goings-on in the kitchen and the wonders of cooking reoriented his mindset. After gaining sufficient experience in other restaurants in and around Manila, the hardworking young man found his way to a palace in Oman, where he was eventually crowned – no, not as prince – as sous chef.

In the royal household, Chef Boy served leaders from different states, going on to tour the world with the sultan. The latter liked Chef Boy so much that he allowed him to live a lavish lifestyle. Apart from a huge house, he gave Chef Boy an elegant car. More importantly, his family was able to live with him in the Emirates.

It’s not as if Chef Boy didn’t have sad memories. He claims being treated badly on his way up.

“’Yung mga matataas ang pwesto, sisigawan ka kung tuturuan ka. ’Yun bang bubuwisitin ka muna,” he said in an exclusive interview.

From personal experience, the chef advises those who want to follow his path to lose their sense of self-importance first.
“If you want to be accepted as a sous chef, forget your ego – you’ll never grow. Focus on your goal. Ako, sinabi ko sa sarili ko, ‘After three years, uuwi naman ako, meron na akong lote, hindi na ako babalik sa lugar niyo.’”

And that’s exactly what happened. A few years later, Chef found himself working as executive chef at the Manila Diamond Hotel.

As for his TV stardom, it started when he joined the cooking show “Secrets of the Master.”

“Tanggapin mo ’yung failures mo. Huwag mong sabihin na magaling ka. Hindi ’yung napagsabihan ka lang eh iiyak ka na o lalaban. Hindi ganon. Never ever stop learning. Ang pag-aaral ay hanggang kamatayan,” he muses aloud.

Chef Boy Logro
Chef Boy Logro

Key ingredients

Chef Boy shared the many flavors of his life:

Sweet – his job at Manila Diamond Hotel at age 30.

“I was the hotel’s first Filipino executive chef and my salary then was R 350,000 plus-plus a month. Dun din ako at ang pamilya ko nakatira sa Diamond Hotel – executive suite, all free.”

Bitter – watching his children grow up and leaving the roost to start their own families.

“Malaki na sila, may kanya-kanya nang mundo na pagdating sa pag-aasawa o relationship, nakakalimutan na ang magulang. ’Yun ang mabigat don.”

Sour – when some fellow Pinoys supposedly begrudged him of his appointment at Diamond Hotel.

“Ayaw nilang tanggapin na nasasapawan sila. Ina-underestimate ako. Sinasabi nila, ‘How did you get here? You’re not a graduate!’ Harap-harapan sinasabi sa akin na, ‘Sipsip ka, wala ka namang alam!’”

He shrugged these off by telling himself, “Sige, kutyain niyo lang ako ng ganyan. After five years, yayaman na ako, maghihiwalay din naman tayo sa kumpanyang ito.”

Salty – his first day in Oman.

“Ang sabi lang sa akin, ‘You work in palace. Catering.’ Akala ko business name ’yung Palace Catering.

“Pagdating ko doon, parang ang alat ng nangyari dahil palasyo pala talaga at ang ganda-ganda! Kusina pa lang, parang ground floor na ng SM. Ang luwag-luwag! Tapos, electric lahat! Eh, siyempre galing ako sa gas, malay ko naman diyan.”

Logro continued, “I had a staff of 15. Ang in-apply-an ko sous chef, pangalawa pala ’yun sa executive chef. Akala ko taga-gawa lang ng sauce.”

Spicy – living in a high-end neighborhood in Oman.

“After three years, sabi ng pinaka-protocol ng majesty, ‘Are you lonely?’ Sabi ko, ‘I have children, they’ve grown already.’ Alam mo sabi sa akin, ‘You want to bring your family?’ Siyempre ayaw mo ba naman? Edi dinala ko agad. Tumira kami sa parang Forbes Park, kapitbahay namin ang mga ambassadors ng buong mundo.”

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