In his tender years, Dubai-based freelance chef consultant Andrew Faundo Paderes was inspired by his late father in cooking. He recalled that he was ‘a very good architect and a brilliant cook’ at the same time. At a young age, he knew that being a chef was born to be a successful chef.
As a Dubai-based chef, his work entails a lot of hard work and ‘heart work. “You can do so many things for you to soar high and succeed. But you do far more things that could put you down, “ he said.
Cooking and culinary are his bread and butter. However, the road to success was never easy. It all began with the burning itch about food and cooking that became his passion. “This passion never ceased, instead I kept the fire burning by continuous learning,” he added. Through this, Padres said he is able to express himself, share his talent, mentor other chef enthusiasts, and inspire others.
The chef’s early life
Born in Hagonoy, Bulacan and raised and grow up in Manila, Paderes’ family has struggled badly. But her mother, being a determined person, held them stronger and tighter. “She did everything she could to make ends meet. My brothers sacrificed as well by working instead of studying,” he said. While Paderes’ family members were outside to make ends meet, he was honing his cooking skills in their small kitchen and learned how to cook simple meals and control their small allowance.
He carried on just like that as his mother and brothers supported his studies. He graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the prestigious University of Santo Tomas. Following his graduation, he worked in various professional kitchens. He said that he was fortunate enough to be trained by top-notch chefs and kitchen managers while he was embarking on a career in the culinary industry. “I have taken in all my learnings and made sure that it doesn’t stop there. I strongly believe that everyone I meed in this profession has something to teach me one way or another,” he added.
Because of determination and passion, he was able to climb up the steps of the culinary ladder and was given an opportunity to prove his worth in every company he joined. “I have managed very busy kitchens, quick turnovers, and a very versatile menu. Every day, my skills are sharpened like a knife,” he said.
Paderes has thought of moving out and working abroad since the 90s, a time he thought that there was a big boom of Filipino F&B practitioners abroad. However, his desire to move out of the Philippines didn’t materialize until 2005.
Even though he already an instructor of Culinary Arts in the Philippines, he still yearns for his personal growth as a chef. “I wanted to explore more of the culinary world. Maybe because I did not have the proper Culinary Arts schooling, that’s why I am aching to learn more. So, when the opportunity to work abroad came in, we have decided to do everything for us to able to move out,” he said.
And in 2005, he worked in a British kitchen as a sous chef in the south of England. Within a year, he was promoted to be the head chef of a three-star hotel in Hampshire. In 2007, he moved to London considered this time as a ‘turning point’ in his career as a chef.
Another opportunity came, but with a lot of uncertainties as he shifted to a sushi chef. “This was very challenging as the discipline of Japanese cuisine is so different than what I have been doing for so many years. During that time, I almost gave up and struggled to go to work because I felt I was not doing enough,” he said noting that with lots of encouragements and morale-boosting, he pulled it through and finally fell in love with it. At that time, he was the second Filipino chef to have worked as a sushi chef for the global brand NOBU.
More doors of opportunity opened. Paderes was one of the opening chefs in Maze Gordon Ramsay in Doha, Qatar. And in 2010, he landed his very first job in Dubai as a sous chef for a swanky New York Brasserie style in the Dubai International Financial Centre area. In less than a year, he was promoted to the executive chef of the restaurant. After there, he worked in various leading restaurants in the country.
“Dubai, for me, is the new land of opportunity. With Dubai’s ever-evolving progress, it created an almost constant demand for the workforce,” he said.
“One thing that I could advise my countrymen is to be more engaging in the workplace with other nationalities. Don’t just stick with your own. You need to be in the mix because that is where you will stand out and get noticed,” Paderes concluded.
This story has been featured on the 9th issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at email@example.com.