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The Hospitality Training Paved the Way to Success

By Marilyn Bautista-Ponce

Taking a cooking class in Manila is just one of the steps in the long series of skills training that I learned to master in MICARS. That’s one that have proved to be fortuitous. Allow me to tell you why.

My eldest sister, Nadine Bautista Koch, belonged to the second batch of graduates. I am the fourth child in the brood of six, and ever since my sister left for Manila to study at MICARS, I have longed to follow her footsteps.

I enrolled in MICARS in 1998 with the idea that after graduation, I shall immediately be employed as what happened to older sister, Nadine. She was privileged to receive training at Ilonggo Grill, then moved on to Shangri-la Hotel Makati. After which she went to Dubai to work at Mariott Hotel where she met her husband who eventually brought her to the USA where they currently reside.

Such good fortune was evident in our lives. In 2000, I finished the program at MICARS and had my first job at Henlin as Management Trainee for a year. I sought a more challenging job so I moved on to find it at the Cork Wine Cellar of Rockwell in Makati where I worked as Commis 1 for two years. Before I left the company, I recommended two of my classmates and they got accepted.

Opportunities kept on knocking that I said yes to an offer to work as Chef de Partie in the first outlet of Segafredo Zanetti Espresso, an Italian restaurant in Greenbelt. Later, I was hired by Chef Allan Mathay to be the Pastry Chef of Cena, where I invited another graduate of MICARS to work with me.

I became a Consultant and Pastry Chef at Plato Platina. Then I opened a branch in Blue Wave, Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City, and within a short time, I opened five more branches within Metro Manila.

Then I was by hired Mr. Tarek Boubess, a Lebanese who owned five-star hotels and restaurants in Lebanon. He opened his first Italian restaurant in Dubai. I went to Le Meridien Hotel in Lebanon for a 3-month training. Afterwards, I was sent to Dubai to be an Executive Pastry Chef.

I spent three years in Dubai and then went back to the Philippines to open my own restaurants. I have one in Alabang and another in Valenzuela. Both started well but perhaps largely due to my extreme confidence on my partners and complacency on my part, the businesses failed.

I went back to working in restaurants and hotels in the years that followed such as the Camayan Beach Hotel and Resort in Subic, Tri Place Hotel in Quezon City, and Giligan’s restaurant. I had the chance to work at La Dolce Vita as its Executive Chef and Manager before I was hired as Head Chef by the CEO of The Tradies in Australia. In that place, I met the man who became my husband and we settled in the country down under for good.

On December 2, 2013, a fundraising event was held at The Tradies for the benefit of the victims of typhoon Yolanda ( aka Haiyan), and I personally prepared traditional Filipino food as my contribution for our countrymen. To date, I feel honored to be able to sponsor one scholarship of a MICARS student.