Chef Tin Angeles, Katsuya South Beach, Miami

Studying in AHA Philippines is definitely not for the faint of heart. I remember how I found it a little weird that the interview questions for admissions included, “Do you have Hemophobia?” and “Do you easily cry when scolded?”. It felt a lot like Mrs. Cordova was trying to scare me, instead of convincing me to study in AHA. Even one of my friends who was a student of AHA at that time, told me how absurd the rules of the school are. But before you think this is one awfully written hateful testimonial, let me tell you about how AHA has helped me grow not only in this profession but also as a person. I must admit (and I never thought I would say this), I am truly grateful to have chosen to study in AHA.

When I started attending AHA, everything felt unfamiliar and uncomfortable. I have been cooking for my friends and family, long before I knew what mirepoix and mis en place mean.  I have always loved food and the science behind it, and studying Culinary Arts was initially just to gain a degree that is somehow related to my interests. I didn’t know I wanted to be a chef, until AHA helped me realize the unfathomable depths my talents can reach. I do not say this because I am overconfident nor am I bragging about what I can do, or who I can be. It is all about how AHA has given me the best foundation regardless of the path I choose to follow.

What I have learned from AHA is way beyond my own expectations. I could read Wayne Gisslen’s “Professional Cooking” book from cover to cover and still I would fail Culinary for being a minute late. I could ace the final exams knowing the standard size of a julienne is  1⁄8 × 1⁄8 × 1–2 inches (or 3 × 3 × 25–50 in millimeters), but instead I would not even get to try for the highest score, just because I’m one spatula short of my toolbox. This may not make sense to anyone who hasn’t experienced the “AHA way”. Believe it or not, it is not as bad as it sounds. These are, in fact, the things that have made me not only the toughest, but more importantly, the most responsible person I didn’t think I could be.

It was hard to follow them at first, until I realized that the rules they set are not made to give us a hard time, but to mold us into the best possible versions of ourselves. I could have gone to a different school, and could have learned through the conventional way. I could have graduated earlier; I could probably even be the lucky student giving out the graduation speech. I could have known different people, different from my AHA friends and chefs whom I now consider my family. But I chose AHA. I have chosen to stay positive during the toughest times — the times I had come to know who I am, who I was and who I want to be. I chose AHA, and I am glad I did.

Chef Tin Angeles
Katsuya South Beach, Miami, FL

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Chef Hana’s

I had 2 options when I decided to take culinary course. I had ISCAHM and AHA in mind. I’m glad that I chose AHA because not only it was cheaper but the school also has high teaching standards. It was all worth it. The culinary skills I learned from AHA were all very useful because up till now, I am still able to apply everything I learned with my current job.

AHA trained me well not only as a professional Chef but as a stronger and better person in whatever industry I may pursue. AHA taught me how to work well in a team and with other people. With the rapid change of manpower in my current job, it was easy for me to adjust since as I’ve mentioned, I was trained well. Being a Chef requires a lot of energy and hard work. And that means working on long and sometime late hours continuously. AHA gave me that experience too. To be on my feet for long hours doing preps, cooking and cleaning. And not to forget, doing all those things under pressure. And now I know that all those experiences from AHA are just for me to be well prepared in the real world.
I believe with the many sayings about the “never stop learning”, because there is so much more there for me that I still have to know and share to others to become a better Chef.

– Chef Hana Tuano
(Assistant Kitchen Manager at Maisen Japanese Restaurant )

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Chef Japz’s

One of the reasons I am thankful that I attended AHA than other schools is because of the of the student atmosphere where everybody helps each other ensuring that no one is left behind. one of the best things i learned in AHA is being punctual is a great thing in real work life, being on time especially on the first day of work tells how serious and dedicated you are in doing your job right.

I can say that the training experience in AHA is rigorous and tough, but that experience taught me to be a better chef, colleague and a better individual.

– Chef Japz Piamonte
(Line cook at Pinkshell Hotel Florida)

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Chef Giney Villar, CEC-ACF, Food Columnist, Purveyor of Historical/Regional Filipino Cuisine, and Owner of Feliza Cafe y Taverna

My formal culinary journey began at AHA in 2007. At that time, it was the only culinary school that offered Culinary Arts and Entrepreneurship. I was impressed that it was ahead of the other schools in terms of offering a business component to a culinary course.

I thought culinary school would be easy, as I already knew how to cook. But, as the days wore on, I realized that professional cooking was very different from home cooking. There were principles to master, standards to meet and skills to hone. It had math, science, ethics and even law!

Culinary school is challenging. Body and mind as well as one’s emotions have to be in harmony. So much goes into a seemingly simple dish to make it look effortless.
The three most important things I learned from AHA continue to guide me in my culinary career. One, get your basics down pat. You cannot make anything complicated without an understanding of your basics. A complex thing, is just a combination of many simple parts.

Two, learn to be disciplined. There are many chefs out there who probably have an innate talent for cooking. However, without discipline, this genius will be wasted. You need to meet deadlines, focus on what you need to do despite the challenges thrown at you. You need to produce the same quality of food worthy of your salt, every time required, no matter what you are feeling.
Three, many things you need to know, you will learn from working in a kitchen. Cooperation, humility, leadership, and responsibility were inculcated at AHA. As you become more proficient in kitchen skills, you will also mature as you learn more about the world, working with all kinds of people.

I think many people would benefit from learning to work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. To learn to pay attention to the minutest details, to work quickly under pressure, to be consistent, creative and bold while keeping cost down. I think taking up a course in culinary arts might help one find direction in the many areas that chefs can now go into—photography, research, writing, restaurant consultancies, niche catering and many other possibilities.

If not, at the very least, you can whip up a great dinner.

Thank you AHA, for teaching me how to seize the seasons.

Chef Giney Villar, CEC-ACF
Food Columnist,
Purveyor of Historical/Regional Filipino Cuisine,
and Owner of Feliza Cafe y Taverna
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Chef Juri’s

I am thankful that I chose AHA to learn Culinary. At first I thought that attending this course would just teach me how to cook. I didn’t know that it was going to be an intensive course.I learned serious discipline in and outside the kitchen. Given the task to be the batch representative, it taught me how to be a leader, to love what I was doing and to be the best that I can be. All my learnings and experiences wouldn’t have been great without the expertise of my teachers and camaraderie of my batchmates.

The opportunity to study and live in Italy for 1 month is one of the best experiences I had in my life coz it came with laughters and tears. It was a good ride as it changed me and made me into a better person.

– Chef Juri Watanabe

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Chef Jai’s

I was an incoming 4th year Political Science student when I decided to shift to Culinary. I am searching for a school that offers a Bachelors Degree instead of just Certificate Courses which most culinary schools offer. Then i came across the homepage of American Hospitality Academy – Philippines, not only that they offer a Bachelors Degree course; it was a double degree as well. Im not only getting a degree in culinary arts but an international management degree as well which is a great bargain for me and most especially for my parents.

I am thankful that i chose AHA instead of another school since my degree will give me a more competitive advantage compared to those who just completed a certificate course. Not only that i will be able to work as a chef in the kitchen, i am also qualified for kitchen management positions because Aha did not just train us to be a great chefs but as future managers as well.

Discipline. It was something that im completely grateful that AHA trained us to be, a well disciplined individuals. It took a while for me to get used to at first but eventually being on time, bringing complete tools, having pocket notebook with written marketlist, tying my hair, removing my earrings and doing my homework for the day just become part of my daily routine without me noticing it. It helped me a lot especially during my internship abroad. Another thing that i learned in AhA that i was able to apply in my working life is to be able to work with what ingredients you have in front of you. To work with your imagination and creativity in the kitchen.  As much as we would like to have all the ingredients that we need that are just times that you run out of something and being able to be creative enough to replace it or to modify the recipe was something that aha has tought as well during our market basket.

Its not always a good day in the kitchen as well as in Culinary schools, there are days that you will be scolded for something wrong that you did but instead of taking it the wrong way you must learn from these experiences. Use this bad experiences as a motivation to better and stronger. That is how my experiences in aha helped me become a stonger and better chef. I applied all the good things or experiences that i’ve been through and learned from the bad ones. As they say experience is the best teacher.

– Chef Jai Alilio

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Chef Zahra’s

I am grateful and blessed I attended AHA culinary school. They trained me to be a world class professional and inspiring chef. I learned how to be focused, disciplined, team player and a good creative artist. And they also taught me that being on time is very important in everyday life.

I  am proud to be a World class Halal chef. I am happy and grateful to serve my muslim brothers and sister all over the world. Being a muslim chef is not easy because of my traditional muslim veil. The hotel I am working in now is very happy and blessed to have me as their muslim chef . Serving muslim food.

Chef Zahra Abdulwahid
Halal Chef at Manila Hotel

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AHA Culinary Team / Chef Gem’s

Joining the AHA International Culinary Team was my first goal upon enrolling at AHA. I started as a new member, a recent school transferee, and I didn’t know how to fit in, but I just focused on what I wanted to achieve and just proved I can handle being with the team. It’s unlike any sports team. It’s like military camp except it’s inside the kitchen. We did exercises, taekwondo & jumping jacks to train us to withstand long hours of training and events. We cook the same dishes again and again until our coaches approve. We have 4:30 am call times. We are required travel out of town to compete and do fundraisings. We are required to spend on our ingredients. Basically, the AHA International Culinary Team doesn’t tolerate COMPLAINS, ARGUMENTS, TARDINESS, LAZINESS, and BAD ATTITUDE.
The AHA International Culinary Team was the best experience of my stay at AHA. I wouldn’t be who I am today and wouldn’t have achieved everything if it wasn’t for our then Coach Chef Dyan Tablante and all the team work and friendship from the other members.
The pressure, the shouting, the long hours….you need to embrace it learn from it and have fun!

Jarina Gem Tee
Team Captain 2012 to 2014
1 Bronze; 5 Silver Medals; 1 Gold Medal

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Chef Angel’s

The best decision I’ve made that I am very thankful for is that I attended AHA. It’s because they taught me everything that I needed to know about being a world class professional chef, thinking outside the box and giving my best in everything I do. AHA is a small intimate community. You got to see and work with same people all the time. Sometimes clashing of personalities, artistic and professional methods occur. But AHA with it’s strong sense of professionality, taught me to deal with different kinds of people and to still be in my best even under stressful circumstances. AHA will train you hard, teach you all the techniques and share the deepest knowledge to be the best world class professional chef.

Several important things that I have learned is Time management, Punctuality, Discipline and Adaptability. AHA helped me Boost my Confidence in cooking and baking. AHA taught me to accept everything especially very tough challenges.

My internship in Europe sparked my curiosity and thirst to learn more, to love my craft. I was introduced in different kinds of ingredients and their foods. I have learned more new methods, techniques that I can continuously use in my personal and professional life.

Being a chef you have to wake up early and be on time. At first it’s really hard to wake up early in the morning but then I got used to it. To be scolded by your chef’s if you are not listening attentively, to be sent out if your equipment are incomplete. But all of it did something good to me. It made me a better chef.
One of the things I found hard was dealing with different personalities and attitude inside the kitchen. Especially when it comes to teamwork. But then, experiencing it everyday made me become better in dealing with it and being in those tough situations, learning from mistakes and improving on the good things made me a stronger and better chef.

AHA gave me alot of memories,good and bad. Experienced alot of things that made me continue my culinary journey. They made me a better person. Widened my knowledge in culinary. AHA will mold and make you a World Class Professional Chef!

– Chef Angel Tan Guico

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