Dishwasher turned executive chef Ricardo Bojador said one should not give up in life and always try to go beyond what has been accomplished the day before.
Bojador, who hails from Bicol, recalled working as a dishwasher at a five-star hotel in Ermita, Manila, while pursuing a career in law and supporting himself. The 42-year-old, today, is now working at a five-star hotel–not anymore as a dishwasher–but as executive chef at a plush world-class, fine-dining restaurant in Dubai.
A college dropout, Bojador worked in fast-food restaurants and worked full-time to bring food to the table for his siblings and parents.
In 2016, he has decided to move to Dubai to have a better opportunity. “I applied for a job in one of the best Japanese restaurants and received a reply from them the next day,” Bojador told Rappler. He was accepted for the job and his initial responsibilities included washing vegetables and receiving deliveries.
“I would come early from my usual shift so I could finish my task and have extra time to learn more. The struggle was real. My mission was to gain the skills required to be great in my field, and I worked towards that every day. I put in the hours, worked silently and focused on my goal, hoping that my food and work would one day speak for itself,” he said.
The then kitchen helper, six months after, was given a chance to work in line with other chefs where he was taught the ins and outs of the work before he was finally given a big break. “The head chef let me work in the sushi bar. I was very happy and excited because it was what I had been waiting for,” Bojador recalled. The overseas Filipino worker was promoted twice following two and a half years of hard work.
Bojador started on an overseas journey in 2008 when he got a job as demi chef at Jumeirah Group Hotels in Dubai where he worked for five years. “During that time, I gained more valuable experience in running a kitchen. I continued working hard and got promoted thrice until I was given the position of sous chef,” he added.
In 2013, he joined a trendy Japanese restaurant as a senior sous chef. Before the opening of the restaurant, he attended a brand training in Los Angeles, California, USA where he learned the culture of the brand. After the training, he was assigned to Kuwait to be a support group for the opening of the restaurant in the Middle East. Rising through the ranks, he was then appointed as the head chef and then executive chef.
Currently, Bojador is an executive chef for Wakame fine-dining restaurant which specializes in innovative Asian cuisine at Sofitel Hotel in Downtown Dubai.
“To my fellow OFWs, focus lang po sa trabaho. Wag susuko at higitan mo kung ano ang nagawa o na-accomplish mo kahapon. Every day dapat may prorgress ka, maliit man o malaki,” he said.