FOR food to be truly good, it should create good memories, says Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino executive chef Alessio Loddo, who fondly recalls going into his grandmother’s house “skinny” and coming out of it several pounds heavier.

Chef Alessio comes from southwest Sardinia, an island in Italy. He started his culinary career as a kitchen helper when he was 15 and rose through the culinary ranks until he became sous chef in Hilton Dubai Jumeirah. His stint in Dubai was, for him, a great learning experience as he was working in a kitchen with many different nationalities. It was the best way to learn other cuisines, interacting with the different chefs. From there, he moved to Thailand where the spicy cuisine suited him fine as he loves chilis.

His first stint in Cebu, with Waterfront, was in 2009. He was executive sous chef and became executive chef in 2010. After two years, he went to Metro Manila to work for Crimson Hotel in Alabang for three years, after which he joined Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay. Now he’s back with Waterfront Cebu.

The first thing Chef Alessio did when he came back was to meet with the suppliers to find out what was available in Cebu and in what quantity, especially as the hotel has a lot of conventions and big affairs catering sometimes to hundreds of people. The supplies available, he found out, are slightly better now than several years back. Already, he has changed the menu for the hotel lobby (one should try here his concoction of pizza trio with the flavors of pulled pork, stewed chicken and beef curry with cheese sauce) as well as for Café Uno. He is working with the Japanese and Chinese chefs to also upgrade their specialty dining outlets Mizu and Tin Gow. Soon, he said, he will be doing La Gondola, but first, he is thinking of many heavy meat dishes to a man’s heart for Father’s Day this June.

Chef Alessio does not believe in food trends, “which come and go.”

“I am into classic cuisines that stay. It’s the classic things that you remember. That is part of family dining tradition. You cannot live without food but you cannot live a good life without good memories, especially for us, chefs. Food is about quality and memories. You create a good memory when you create good food,” said the chef.

Food is usually among the things one remembers, when one thinks of special family get-togethers like Christmas and birthdays.

One of the reasons Chef Alessio came back to Cebu is that he is an island person. Sardinia is surrounded by water and so is Cebu.

Asked how he relaxes, he said he hasn’t found the time yet. He will relax, he says, when his family arrives in Cebu.

“My wife is Filipino-Bornean and I am Portuguese-Italian, so my children are ‘halo-halo,’” the chef quipped, while giving a shout-out to Cafe Uno’s version of the popular Filipino cold dessert.