CHEF REJ CASANOVA, EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF, MARRIOTT HOTEL MANILA

The “AHA Philippines way” is one of the core values that I have been using in my day to day culinary journey starting from my first job as a cook and up to the ladder now as the Executive Sous Chef of Marriott Hotel Manila.

AHA Philippines  is the best place to learn about the industry, perfect your skills and knowledge, and become the culinary professional you want to be. When we were students, our chefs treat us as if we are professionals , which helped us a lot in preparation for this very challenging culinary world.

Another best thing about school is that they   provide you with every opportunity to be successful both personally and professionally. I must say that  my Internship at The Ritz Carlton Naples, Florida is one of the genuine experiences that I can truly be proud of.  Thank you AHA!

Chef Rej Casanova
Executive Sous Chef
Marriott Hotel Manila

 

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AHA TAUGHT ME WELL, CHEF JORIEL HERMOSO, ASSOCIATE BATCH 2010 INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL, DOHA, QATAR

Throughout my stay in AHA, I learned things that guided me well in the culinary world.

AHA taught me to be tough because in the culinary world —  only the strong survive. You have a lot of things to deal with like physical and emotional stress.  Something unpredictable can happen everyday, so I also learned to easily adapt to a situation whether it being a sudden shortage of ingredients or a guest who wants a dish out of the menu.

AHA also taught me to strive for the best and challenge myself always. In the culinary world, you should always aim for a 101% in whatever task is given to you. Never settle for anyhting less when you know you can do better.

Lastly, AHA taught me that, you gotta start somewhere low and you can’t just jump right to a high position. In the culinary world, it’s better to go through the ladder, one step at a
time. You’ll learn more and you’ll be more competitive and resourceful.

I thank AHA for instilling these values to me and up to now, I still embody them.

 

Chef Joriel Hermoso, Associate Batch 2010
Intercontinental Hotel, Doha,  Qatar

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CHEF NICU DALMAN, NEW YORK, NY

A solid core and a deep understanding of the basics. That is what Chef Gene and AHA taught us since day one. T.V. Or other institutions would try to sell you with this idea of how glorious the kitchen life is but only AHA taught us that in order to become a good chef, you must be a well rounded cook first and that I believe is what trained me and what still guides me to this day. AHA never sugar coated anything. I remember Chef Gene would always tell us “good sauces come from good stocks” and it took me awhile to fully grasp the ideology behind it.

Cooking has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. It is grueling and often times you question why you do it. To my fellow cooks, we don’t do it for the money or for the recognition. We do it because it is what feeds the hunger inside us and no amount of money can ever compensate for the satisfaction of a day’s hard work.

To whoever is reading this, as both a former student and faculty of AHA I cannot dictate you on how to pick the best school that suits you but I can tell you this, the reason why AHA stands out from all the other culinary schools in the Philippines is their dedication to build character and character is what earns us the respect.

“Nunc est bibendum”

Chef Nicu Dalman, New York, NY

Alumnus, Diploma in Culinary Arts Batch 2012

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CHEF CHRIS NEARY CEC, CCA, AAC — ON PASSION AND HARD-WORK OF AHA STUDENTS

My time spent with the students and instructors at the American Hospitality Academy several summers ago is an experience I will never forget. My traveling companion ,Chef Ty and I were treated like dignitaries by everyone we met.

It was a pleasure and an honor to get to lecture in front of and work along side of such a dedicated group of young culinarians, many of who I still keep in contact with through Facebook and my daily Chef’s Start of Day email blasts.

I was particularly impressed by the level of intensity the students displayed in their daily quest for knowledge. I often talk about passion in my daily emails and will add any of you to the list that wishes to join in.

I’ll never let the crew and students from AHA escape my memories and look forward to the chance to someday return to your country.

Respectfully,
Chris Neary CEC, CCA, AAC

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CHEF SARA LECCIONES – DEL PUERTO, HEAD CHEF OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FOR GREENWICH, JOLLIBEE FOODS CORPORATION

Anyone can learn fundamental kitchen skills from any school of culinary arts. What sets AHA apart is the discipline that they inculcate in you by immersing you in diverse kitchen experiences that simulate the hardships and pressures in a real-world professional kitchen environment each and every day.

This intense discipline instilled in me the most important values I now have as the Head Chef for Research & Development of Greenwich, a subsidiary of Jollibee Foods Corporation:

Humility to take on any task needed, no matter how unglamorous – During my short stint in Singapore in addition to my usual kitchen work, I washed dishes and scrubbed the kitchen floor when we were one man short. I’ve realized that each and every task in the kitchen, no matter how small, is important in what I do as a chef.

Excellence in the face of intense pressure – I’ve learned to use the sound of my head chef shouting at me at the top of his lungs to push my limits and put out my best work each and every time.

Punctuality and preparedness – There is no time to slack in the kitchen and the pressure never goes away. Each task should have been done a few seconds earlier. This is something that I’ve grown comfortable with since my days as a student in AHA.

So despite graduating at the top of my class in 2007, my key takeaways from AHA, more than just the techniques and the skills, on which most of my grades were based on, is the attitude I’ve developed towards my craft.

If you want to have a wholistic and immersive learning experience – an experience akin to training in a real professional kitchen – AHA is the perfect school.

AHA will equip you to be the best chef you can be.

Chef Sara Lecciones-Del Puerto
Head Chef of Research and Development for Greenwich,
Jollibee Foods Corporation

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PASSION, DISCIPLINE AND HARD WORK, CHEF REY PARRENO, RICHMONDE HOTEL ILOILO

Vivir para cocinar..cocinar para vivir..live to cook, cook to live!

My passion for the culinary arts  made me choose AHA – and that’s where I was trained to be the best that I can be for 6 months under the Diploma in Culinary Arts program.  I learned all the things that I think I would  need to be a great Chef —  with discipline, handwork and real kitchen experience, I headed home to Iloilo, my hometown, to work.

Lacking experience at that time, I applied in a 4-star hotel and was interviewed by the Executive Chef. Theoretically I nailed every cooking method, which impressed my Chef but still they had doubts on my capability because of my lack of experience.  I wasn’t hopeful, but the Executive Chef told me “You came from AHA?” I know Chef Gene and he is a great teacher – I am putting you on board!”

I gave my all for the first 2 weeks, which my Executive Chef noticed and said “You hve impressed me the past days” to which I responded, ” I  was doing what I have learned from culinary school, hard work and sticking to the basics, Chef.”  With a serious face, my Executive Chef said ” that’s what i wanna hear, I am training you as a chef de partie…i need that kind of attitude in my team!

After a year of proving myself, failures, disappointments, and lots and lots of hammering from my executive chef — I am now  Chef de Partie of Richmonde Hotel Iloilo,the first 4 star hotel in my hometown!

I will forever be thankfull to AHA! Thank you!

Chef Rey Parreno
Chef de Partie, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo

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DISCIPLINE AND CHARACTER, CHEF JASMIN JANET LIM,  SHANGRI-LA HOTEL Qaryat Al Beri Abu Dhabi, UAE

“Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.”

-Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

 

Cuts, burns, lifting heavy pots and reaching for high shelves. Heated arguments with colleagues, standing for long hours in the kitchen and customers complaining, these are all parts of the daily grind of this cutthroat industry. Sounds intimidating? Luckily, there would be mentors and teachers who would be very much willing to help us build the physical and mental stamina to endure all of those.

 

Funny, at the beginning of my studies in AHA, I would describe myself as the “slow duck”: quiet, scared of getting cut and burned and frightened by my chefs. But despite all of these, I had the ambition the one day; I would walk out of this school the proud chef that I aspire to be.  And AHA did not fail me in achieving just that and even giving me more, my mentors helped me breakout of that shell. They armored me with the right knowledge and technical abilities from food sanitation, to food costing to actual cooking and to everything in between.

 

But just like what Bourdain said, skills are necessary but are not enough. AHA taught us discipline, that if for example we show up late and unprepared for class, there are consequences, which is the same for the real world. They also taught us that hard work and determination is key to triumph, by letting us experience first-hand how to run a restaurant or to organize a big event. A once quiet student is now capable of leading her team to a successful service. We even had an internship here and in the USA! As I would call it, learning by experience or by practice.

 

Looking back, I am very much thankful to AHA for what I have accomplished. The slow duck has turned into a beautiful swan. I did not expect that I would achieve this much in a short amount of time with an added bonus of graduating with the prestigious “Culinary Distinction Award” and becoming a “Certified Culinarian” by the American Culinary Federation.  But it doesn’t end here, because of this; more career opportunities have opened for me for both in the Philippines and in abroad. And for that, thank you AHA and happy cooking!

 

Chef Jasmine Janet Lim

Shangri-la Hotel Qaryat Al Beri Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Chef Bandar Basang’s..

I am Bandar H. Basang. 19 years of age.I am a graduate  of Associate in International Culinary Arts at the American Hospitality Academy Philippines on December 6,2014.The Associate in International Culinary Arts program is a ladderized program which gave me the opportunity to continue towards Bachelor’s Degree in International Culinary  Management which i have completed in April 28,2016.I studied Culinary Arts because of my love and passion for cooking.I am thankful I enrolled at AHA Phils  because it has provided me with quality education,training and so much opportunity on hands- on competencies in culinary arts. AHA is also accredited by the American Culinary Federation  which automatically certifies AHA graduates like me as U.S. certified culinarians.I am grateful to be able to learn and get experience from international chef instructors,visiting masterchefs and lecturers from prestigious universities here in Manila.

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Highest Academic Distinction awarded to Chef Romualyn Ramirez.

AHA taught me how to be independent inside the kitchen. Being an AHA student is not easy because the training is intense. AHA opened my eyes on how beautiful a kitchen is. I’m thankful to AHA because they taught me how to become a good culinarian!  My advice to future culinarians: Try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun.

– Chef Romualyn Ramirez

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Chef John Mark Villamar. He is now the Chef at Elcamino Restaurant (Sydney, Australia)

Aha is my 1st choice among all the culinary schools . Pinag isipan kong mabuti kasi masyadong mahal para samin yung tuition at wala akong skills sa kusina bago pako pumasok ng aha.

Pumasok sa isip ko na kaya ako pumasok sa aha para matuto sa kusina kasi wala naman pinanganak ng magaling na agad so nag push ako sa pagiging kusinero sinubukan ko sa sarili ko kung hangang san ang makakaya ko.

Nung nag start kami sa aha  month of june batch 2011 isa kami sa pinaka malaking batch non mahirap pala maging kusinero pero ang nasa isip ko lang lagi non positive para maka tapos ako hindi ako matalino aminin na natin na  ako yung mahina sa klase  pag dating sa pag aaral pero iniisip ko hindi naman ito yung start ng buhay ko kasi nan dito ko nag aaral para matuto nan dyan na yung pagiging mahirap sa klase bagsak pasado basta ang mahalaga nalaban ka sa araw araw para maka survive ka.kasi pag dinaan mo sa pag suko ibig sabihin hindi mo kayang tumagal sa pinapasok mong mundo.

Sinabi ko rin non sa mga schoolmate ko nung hs na bumisita sa aha non hinarap ko sila at sinabi kong

“aanhin niyo yung malaking school kung wala naman kayong natututunan”

Isa lang to sa nasabi ko sa kanila non

Nag papasalamat ako sa aha family,head chef instructor sa mga professor ko specially classmates friends na nan dun yung teamwork kasi nan dun yung pagiging strict nila at pasensya nila sakin kasi kung wala yun hindi ko to mararating.

Mahirap mag aral sa aha sobrang strict pero yung pagiging strict pala na yun may dahilan kasi pag labas mo at pumasok kana sa real world mas mahirap pa kaya thankful ako kasi naranasan ko yung ganon.

Bilang studyante non na nangangarap lang na dapat hindi lang puro salita ang ibibigay mo sa klase dapat pag ka labas mo papatunayan mo sa sarili mo kung anong nasimulan mo at isipin mo na lang na hindi basihan ang magaling mag salita ng english para sabihin mong magaling ka sa mundong pinasok mo.

Thankyou and god bless!:)
June Batch 2011
John mark villamar

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