Hotel Elizabeth shows winning form in HRAB competition-A A +A
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
LAST September 22, the “My City, My SM, My Cuisine” campaign was held at SM City Baguio. It was a competition between the city’s top hotels and restaurants: Bloomfield, Le Monet, Le Chef, and Old Spaghetti House.
Also, the cuisine of neighboring provinces and heirloom dishes by former Baguio City mayor, Peter Rey Bautista Jr., restaurateurs Oliva Bajadia, Zenaida Cating, and Anthony de Leon, General Manager of Baguio Country Club were featured.
The contest had two categories: Salad and Dessert. The winners were Old Spaghetti House and Hotel Elizabeth Baguio, respectively.
The winning entry from Hotel Elizabeth Baguio’s pastry chef, Chef Chris Malinao, was Choux Paste with Chocolate Shortbread and Creamy Strawberry Filling, a perennial favorite with the hotel’s patrons due to its rich yet simple combination of textures and ingredients.
“I have a lot of respect for the chefs who joined. Competition was tough,” says Chef Chris. He was shocked when he won. “I just tried my best for Hotel Elizabeth. I didn’t want to disappoint our president, Mrs. Elizabeth Salonga Fernando, who has always been very supportive and open to new ideas.”
Chef Chris has a colorful culinary background. A Baguio native and just 30, he has already been around the world for work.
He decided to take up Hotel and Restaurant Management at De La Salle Lipa in Batangas.
His first job was at the Shangri-La Makati as a waiter then, he moved to the InterContinental Hotel Manila as a kitchen helper for the pastry department. “I fell in love with pastry because so much goes into the preparation,” he says. He also became interested in bread making, and studied with the bakers after his shift ended at midnight. After a year, his diligence paid off. When Executive Chef Cyrille Soenen moved to the newly opened Crowne Plaza in Ortigas, he took Chef Chris with him.
Here, he worked under Chef Eliseo Calbay, whom he considers one of the most influential figures of his career: “I learned a lot about techniques in bread making from him; his were more experiential and not by the book,” he says.
He then moved to Shangri-La EDSA where he was assigned to the Executive Lounge as the pastry chef. Happy with work but looking for financial fulfillment, he started applying for overseas jobs. Soon, he found himself aboard a cruise ship for Royal Caribbean International as the Assistant Pastry Cook.
Life aboard the ship wasn’t easy. He moonlighted as a toilet cleaner and a night watchman, among others. “It was very difficult. I learned how to move and think fast to maximize the little time I had for preparation,” he says.
His next job was at a 7-Star hotel in Dubai. Contrary to his contract, he was assigned to the hot and cold kitchen instead of the pastry department. He persisted for over a year, all the while struggling with depression. Fortunately, he was absorbed into the pastry department. Soon after, Global Flavours, the company behind Outback and Fish & Co., hired him as their Executive Pastry Chef.
Before Hotel Elizabeth, he worked for an Australian cruise line. Although the pay was good, the workload was unbearable. He moved back to Baguio to be with his family. Of his current job at Hotel Elizabeth he says, “I feel my superiors and co-workers trust me. They are like my second family.”
Hotel Elizabeth General Manager, Edmund Valencia, is proud of the outcome: “We strive to offer exemplary cuisine, and joining competitions organized by reputable organizations such as this, helps us strengthen our determination to consistently create brilliant F&B innovations.” — GDT
Hotel Elizabeth Baguio is located at #1 J. Felipe Street corner Gibraltar Road, Baguio City. For inquiries and reservations, call (074) 619 0367 or the Central Reservations Office at (632) 912 2691, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our website at www.hotelelizabeth.com.ph, like us on Facebook (hotelelizabeth), and follow us on Twitter (hotelelizabeth). (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 02, 2012.