Aspiring Appetites

My feature writing class is like a breath of fresh air this semester. One, because the class feels more like a comedy stint where all you do is laugh (and learn.)

Second, because I obviously enjoy writing and I don’t mind going to class when you learn more about something you love to do.

Anyways, as I said in my earlier blogoyears, I want to keep track of my essays/ articles somewhere. So,  I’m posting our first individual writing assignment which was to profile someone we find interesting.  Thanks Diego for letting me write about you!


Aspiring Appetites

Everyone craves to do something they love when they grow up. It’s an insatiable appetite that grumbles in our gut, pestering us to feed it with a satisfying meal. Some ignore the feeling and are simply content with the usual menu of going to a university and taking a blue collar job.  While others like aspiring chef Diego De Rivera go straight into the kitchen and concoct their future directly after high school.

Appetizing Beginnings

Prior to graduation your typical 19 year old in the Philippines would be busy studying for entrance exams and writing college essays. Afterwards they would attend the big name universities, mostly with their high school barkada’s. But Diego didn’t have any of that. After he received his diploma from De La Salle Zobel, he enrolled in the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management (ISCAHM) for a 14 month course. He was “All set for culinary school. I knew what I wanted so I knew what I had to do” he chimes.

All it took was a plate of eggs and French toast and a love for eating to know that he was hooked. “My love for eating came first. My family always enjoyed eating, either big meals at a relative’s house. I started cooking when I was around 7 or 8.” Now he hasn’t even left teenagehood yet and already he’s cooking for local celebrities.

Main Course Musings

Currently he’s working for a catering company called Creative Dishes and Recipes which is based in GMA7 handling their Executive Lounge. Asides from being a restaurant for their employees on a daily basis it also feeds the bellies of CEO’s, celebrities and members of the press during events like press conferences.

One of the many perks of the job is all the interesting people he gets to meet. What’s exciting is “How in one day I can serve a billionaire lunch and a television star dinner.”

But as much as he enjoys his job now, Diego shares that he considers his first stint with Aubergine Restaurant and Patisserie to be his main course. By fulfilling a requirement for his on the job training it was his first taste of the industry and it left a delicious aftertaste.

“Till this day I still consider those 3 months as one of the best 3 months in my life. I felt like I was living the dream, doing what I loved, and doing it in a top notch restaurant like Aubergine.” It’s one of the top restaurants in Asia and according to the Philippine Star is one of the “Top Ten International Restaurants” in the Philippines

The Future Tastes Sweet

Diego is definitely on track, cooking his way through life’s multiple course buffet from the bottom up. Finishing his formal training at the mere age of 19, he can now set aside his education and “Get on with work to be able to gain experience and move up in the cooking world.” And soon, before we know it, “Diego’s Slow Food Bistro” which is what he’ll call his future restaurant, will be where aspiring chefs like him will want to be and where foodies will want to eat.

It will be a breakfast nook during the day and a fine dining restaurant at night as Diego has a penchant for giving his future patrons more than just delicious dishes.  He wants a “slow-food” restaurant where “Diners can take things slow and really savor the dining experience” which was an idea he had for project back in high school.

Trusting his own taste for good food, the future menu includes meals that he likes eating himself. These include Western dishes like fresh pastas, salads, roasts, grilled meat and sauces all made from scratch. Also, to further enrich the experience, along with the restaurant he wants a bakery so he can serve fresh bread daily.

Salty Seasoning

Like how “Salt is an absolute essential for any kitchen” passion is necessary for any profession, something which Diego is lucky enough to have in both areas.

“I like the thrill of having the diner’s feelings dependent on me. I can make them fall in love with the food or send them running for the door.”That’s why he compares himself to this saline seasoning. “Whether or not you’re rich or poor, without salt your meals would never be as flavorful.”

It’s obvious that Diego De Rivera’s plate is full of all the essential ingredients to success – passion, drive and skill. “I’m lucky because my parents never restricted me from doing what I wanted to do.”

Most people go through life unable to appease the hunger within, mostly because they don’t know what’s they’re craving for. Not everyone takes the non-traditional route after high school and specialize immediately.

While we’re studying away at our desks with the comfort of being with our friends, Diego is one step ahead of us as he chops, sautés and grills his way at his career.

“Don’t be afraid, trust your instincts” he says. Even if that leads you outside of the classroom and into the kitchen.


2 thoughts on “Aspiring Appetites

  1. A very interesting article about a young chef who’s totally dedicated to what he wants to do with his life. Which is to “COOK” for others. To Chef Diego, keep it up!!! I know you’ll go a long way with what you’re doing.

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