What does it take to become successful in one’s chosen career? While there is no direct path towards one’s desired end result, approaching one’s career with enthusiasm, passion and inspiration, reaching those goals and objectives are achieved much easier.
While many young boys of his age dream of becoming basketball stars or their favorite superheroes, the young Jose Carlo Santiago was already busy cooking meals, reading cook books and envisioning a career as a chef. He didn’t think of any other career because he knew what his heart really longed for was to become a professional cook. And The Center for Culinary Arts, Manila, the country’s pioneer for formal culinary education, is more than proud to have been part of his cherished success in the industry.
“Ever since I was a child I’ve always been cooking at home. The idea came in grade school, the first time I saw a group of chefs in uniform at a hotel. I was deeply intrigued then because they are men, when at that time most cooking shows feature women. But it’s in high school when I decided to pursue a career in culinary,” he said.
With his intensive social training in high school and food service technology and management, not to mention the level of talent and perseverance that Chef Carlo has shown, there is without a doubt that he can definitely achieve whatever he sets his mind into. Thus, his next stop: finding the best culinary school that will sharpen his gift even more.
“While I was looking for a school here, I chanced upon CCA, Manila’s newspaper advertisement. I was immediately impressed, so I decided to personally visit the school. What made me finally decide are the chefs there: Chefs Menoy Gimenez, Jay Gamboa, and Joy Roces. I wanted them to be my professors, to know them,” he said.
For the talented executive chef, the best part about studying in CCA, Manila besides the daily methods of intense hands-on activities is his personal interface with like-minded individuals and highly trained mentors.
“The best thing about CCA are the chef trainers, they are among the best in the country. I consider them my best critics. They are very knowledgeable, very strict yet at the same very giving with the way they teach and nurture students. Their precise teaching methods really guided us to become who we are today,” he mused.
And the rest was delicious history in the making. Studying at CCA, Manila opened a lot of opportunities for Chef Carlo. He was chosen to work as Executive Sous Chef at Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club, Corporate Chef at Legend Hotels International and pre-opening Executive Chef at Tamayo’s Group of Companies.
Now an acclaimed executive chef handling the major kitchen operations of The Bay Leaf’s three flagship restaurants, he is indeed happily living out his childhood dream. Looking forward into his future, Chef Carlo says he plans to open his own restaurant where he can proudly showcase his expertise. “That would be my ultimate goal in life, the pinnacle achievement of my professional career as a chef,” he added.
As a last piece of advice to upcoming CCA, Manila students, Chef Carlo tells them to “pursue their real passions, follow their heart’s desire, their calling in life. They should hone their talents and have a positive mindset.”
“Apart from love of food, a respectable culinary education, according to Chef Carlo, can do wonders in helping one become a successful chef. “ A degree from a reputable culinary school, like in my case, CCA, Manila. I’m a happy alumni,” he mused.
With a tradition of dedication, innovation, and leadership spanning nearly a decade, CCA Manila’s unrelenting commitment has successfully produced many of today’s outstanding experts in both local and global culinary industries. Providing access to world-class programs and only the best learning environment for driven and talented students, the academic experience at CCA, Manila imbibes the essential rudiments through realistic, hands-on experience of both the science and the art of professional cooking.