It used to be that chefs were strictly confined to the kitchen. Not anymore. Since shows like Masterchef became popular—and since people like Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain gained a following, the idea of chefs as celebrities has become one that the world has wholeheartedly embraced.
Today’s chefs have successfully reinvented themselves into entrepreneurs, authors, even product endorsers, and hosts. Especially in the Philippines—a country where good food is a lifestyle—there’s no escaping the fact any longer. Celebrity chefs are now everywhere, and doing a lot more these days than just cooking or slaving away over a hot stove.
One of the faces at the forefront of this trend is Chef Sharwin Tee. Host of the cooking show Curiosity Got The Chef (which is now on its fifth season on the Lifestyle Network), the former culinary student started making waves when he won “Clash of the Toque-en Ones” in 2010, a culinary competition where the prize was the chance to star in his very own food show.
Chef Sharwin’s culinary talent and sprightly style—and his perpetually smiling face that makes cooking look so fun and easy and not the drudge that people imagine it to be--captured the attention of the judges and set him firmly on the path to becoming one of the country’s genuine, honest-to-goodness celebrity chefs.
Aside from currently hosting Curiosity Got the Chef, Chef Sharwin has also authored his own cookbook, which has the same title as the show. The book was launched late last year and became an instant success.
This year, he added another feather to his cap when he received an award for being an “Innovative Celebrity Chef” from the Best Choice Awards.
Chef Sharwin is social media-savvy, and maintains active Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/chefsharwintee), Instagram and Twitter (@chefsharwin) accounts where he regularly shares recipes and cooking tips in his trademark fun and youthful style.
This style, which has become his trademark, is one of his best qualities and one of the reasons why his brand has consistently grown.
Both viewers and critics have praised Chef Sharwin’s easy, engaging, and fun style. It makes people gravitate toward him, keeps their attention and holds it, all of which would make him a perfect product endorser, especially of anything food-related.
And whether it’s a live cooking demo or an episode of his show, this comes across and is one of the things that people love about him because it shows how much he really enjoys cooking—so when he does, everyone else around him, or watching him, enjoys the experience as well.
Chef Sharwin, who grew up watching people like Stephen Yan of Wok With Yan and local culinary expert Nora Daza—just two of the people who inspired him to get into cooking—says he really tries to keep things fun and light all the time.
With his cookbook, for instance, he purposely made the recipes easy to follow. “Nothing is difficult,” he assured the crowd at the launch in October 2014.
This whole experience of becoming a celebrity chef, having his own cooking show and producing his own cookbook is something he describes as “a crazy dream that wasn’t supposed to come true, but did.” But now that it has, he is determined to keep going. He sees all of this as a way to “keep sharing my passion for food.”
He says: “I want to keep doing that. I want to keep finding ways to share my passion for food, and I do want to strengthen the show, and in that way inspire people to appreciate food and (make them want) to cook for other people).”
And who is the person that he dreams of cooking for? “I’ve always said I want to cook for the President [of the Philippines]. I hope I do get that chance,” he says.
He would also love to cook for ABS-CBN actress Bea Alonzo.