Abraham Lincoln once said, “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”
This saying goes with Chef Sau Del Rosario, who is Sam Oh’s co-host for GMA News TV’s cooking-dating show, Sarap to Heart.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) together with other entertainment writers got the chance to hear Chef Sau’s story, during the Sarap to Heart hosts’ pocket interview last May 11, at Napa restaurant, Tomas Morato Ave, Quezon City.
Chef Sau grew up in a family of chefs, and his interest was further honed when he studied at the Culinary Institute of America.
He pursued Hotel and Restaurant Management course at University of the Philippines- Diliman before they migrated in Las Vegas, Nevada.
KAPAMPANGAN IN PARIS. But the life in America did not really “entice” Chef Sau.
He was looking for something better than life in America could offer.
“My whole family is in Vegas.
“I was there for two months, we migrated, e, and nakikita ko ‘yong mga sisters ko na they work, they go home, they’re tired.
“Sabi ko, ‘No, this is not the life I want to live.’”
So, he looked for the life that he wanted in France. He studied while training at the same time.
He first trained in Restaurant L’universe in Nice. After few years, he transferred to Le Divellec restaurant in Paris.
He compared his life in France with Linguini, the main character in the animated film Ratatouille (2007).
“I was the training type na binabatukan ng mga chef, and that time I can only speak little French,” he explained with a laugh.
“So, actually parang movie siya talaga kasi kapag break namin I would smoke, would cry sa river bend. E, di ba, sa movie do’n niya na-meet ‘yong rat?
“Then, ako naman tinatawagan ko [ang mom ko], that time phone card ang ginagamit, nauubos oras ko kakatawag sa Vegas, umiiyak ako, ‘Mom, they let me mop the floor, they let me throw the garbage.’
“Sabi ng mom ko, ‘Buti nga sa’yo!’ Kasi, ako, nagpumilit na mag-aral do’n.”
He was at first hesitant to tell his story, but he was able to make the long story short.
This time, he talked about how he climbed his way to success.
“I went there to study and have my training.
“Then, you know what, it was nightmare because I experienced all the maltrato, everything.
“But you know what, I’m glad I did it because I’ve learned a lot, it was a learning experience.
“Ang ganda-ganda ng experiences ko do’n.”
One of Chef Sau’s unforgettable experiences was when his colleagues at Le Divellec restaurant made fun of him.
“Seafood ‘yong restaurant namin, so ako ‘yong taga-kaliskis ng isda.
“’Tapos ang pasa nila sa akin ng isda, I’ll catch it with my apron, so sometimes it will hit my face.
“Sinasadya minsan. Minsan hahagis nila nang malayo, I really have to run and catch it.
“One time, alam mo ‘yong eel, di ba ang dulas no’n? Itatapon niya sa akin ’tapos mahuhulog ‘yon sa kitchen floor, hahanapin ko ‘yon for ten minutes then, tawa sila nang tawa.”
But those experiences helped him grow, individually and career-wise. He was already a chef de partie or a station chef when he decided to leave France.
“I thought I have something to share. Parang I think I need to grow again,” he said when asked why he left France.
“So parang you’re a sponge na puno na ng tubig, like you need to be squeezed.”
However, the 47-years-old chef said there are still times when his heart would miss the life he had in France.
“Kaya when I watch films that has anything to do with Paris, parang my heart bleeds, parang feel ko siya, parang it became a second home for me,” he said with a smile.
“So, once you’ve been to Paris, you’ll always come back.
“When I came there, all my senses just came alive—the smoke, the smell of the coffee, the noise of the train, when on the train their eating their Bagets [bread] going home. I think it’s a wonderful experience.”
AROUND THE WORLD. After he left France, he tried his luck in Singapore.
With his experience and determination, he was able to enter Raffles Hotel and work there for three years.
Then, another opportunity came to him. From Raffles Hotel, he moved to Swiss Hotel, where he worked at Equinox restaurant as executive chef.
“Three years ako sa Singapore and two years po sa Shanghai. I worked there in Luna [restaurant],” he continued.
“I lived in Bangkok for a year then I came back here [Manila].
“I studied Thai cooking for one year.”
His country hopping was not only to learn new cuisines, he likes meeting people of other cultures.
Chef Sau is sure about three things: “I love cooking, I like traveling, and I like learning new things.”