IT IS a common fact that Kagay-anons love food, especially of good quality and at an affordable price.
However, there are only a handful of places here in Cagayan de Oro City that offers both, as some might have quality food but costs much while some have affordable food with disappointing taste.
It can be hard to find restaurants that offer quality and affordable food as some are located in places where only few cars pass by or in places that you can only reach by riding a motorela.
However, once you try their food, you can truly say that the search and travel is worth it.
One such place is the Chef Centrale, located in 19th first Street, Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro City, which serves tasty food with a pocket-friendly price.
Started in June 2018, the Chef Centrale, owned by Meeland Xyza Teves, is a restaurant with soothing and relaxing ambiance that offers rice bowl meals and yummy desserts.
The food and desserts are all a product of Teves' own recipe, with the Baby Back Ribs as her bestselling product. The rice bowls, which include: Chicken Cordon Bleu, Kare Kare, Beef Salpicado, Chicken Pork Adobo, Pork Binagoongan, Salt and Pepper Ribs, Pork Sisig with egg, Chicken Wings, and Lumpia Shanghai, cost at a price range of P69 to P109.
"Mao gyud ni ang akong gusto nga concept, murag rice bowl nga affordable and at the same time dili sad disappointing ang taste (This is the concept I like, a rice bowl which is affordable and at the same time the taste is not disappointing)," Teves said.
They also have ala carte for Kare Kare, Pancit Canton, Chopsuey, Sisig and Lumpia Shanghai with a price range of P100 to P150.
Apart from the hearty meals, they also offer desserts, all baked by Teves herself, such as Mango Cream Cake, Ube Cream Cake, Choco Mousse Cake, Chantily, and others.
According to Teves, some of the food she put in their menu are those she cooks at home or during parties. That's why the customers are assured that all the food are tested for its quality and taste.
"Before ko nag open, two days before, nagpatabang ko sa duha or tulo ka chef nako nga friends. Nag food tasting mi. So far, okay man ang feedback. (Before the opening, two days before, I sought help from two or three chef friends of mine. We had food tasting. So far, the feedback is okay) Dili na plastikan ha (This is not a bluff)," Teves said.
Before she delved into opening a restaurant, Teves was a home-based baker that sells pastries to those who order from her through social media, particularly Facebook.
However, she found her home-based business a bit challenging, especially when it comes to delivering the pastries to her clients.
"Di man sa kapuyan noh, pero kanang murag maglisod na ko adto kanang sa delivery lang, unya more on meet ups bitaw. And naa pa gyud koy friend nga gusto sya ako ang mag handle sa iyang dessert buffet and cocktails. Lisod kaayo ang pag transport (Not that it’s tiring but it’s difficult especially in delivery and more on meet ups. And I have also a friend who wanted that I will handle her dessert buffet and cocktails. The transport is difficult)," Teves shared.
At first, she was the only one doing the operations of her business as she doesn't want anyone helping her or having people making a mistake when it comes to her products.
"Sa una gyud, gusto gyud ko ako ra isa pirminte. Dili ko ganahan nga naay motabang sa akoa. Dili ko ganahan nga naay masayop or something, ing ana bitaw. Perfectionist kay ko in a way (Before, I liked working alone. I did not want any help. I did not want any mistake or something. I was a perfectionist)," she said.
With the influx of orders, the challenge in delivery and the lack of manpower, Teves realized that she needed a production area.
And said area is not what we see at the Chef Centrale.
Initially, Chef Centrale or the place where it is built is supposed to serve as a production area for her dessert business, however, she came up with the idea to not just have it as a production area but also a restaurant that serves rice bowls.
Teves may not be a professional chef nor took up a culinary course in college, however, she did have an experience going through an intensive course in International School for Culinary Art and Hotel Management in Manila in 2006 and studying in Monster Kitchen in 2012.
She has also worked at the restaurant at Xavier Estates' club house, which gave her the skills when it comes to efficient and fast food preparation.
It was through these experience that she found the world of culinary beautiful and amazing.
"Grabe gyud ka beautiful ang world sa culinary. Nakaingon gyud ko: 'grabe gyud, ka-wow (Culinary worls is amazing and beautiful," Teves said.
According to Teves, most of her customers are students from the nearby university and schools and those who are living in the area and in the hotel near the restaurant.
Chef Centrale is open at 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and located at 19th first Nazareth in between Fort Santiago Pension House and Jeffly Dormitory.