One of the stalwarts of the Plentyfull kitchen, Razel brings her sunny disposition and adds plenty of joy to her environment. Her passion for culinary definitely shines through and everything she puts out from the kitchen is made with love. That’s why every bite at Plentyfull is so good and heartwarming!
1. Who is Razel?
I am a Chef. I am originally from the Philippines and have been cooking in Singapore for the last 13 years. I would like to say that I am a happy person and, every day, I strive to bring my cheerfulness into the kitchen and into each food that I make.
2. How and why did you get into culinary?
I believe that my exposure to cooking began as a small child as I was always hanging around in the kitchen with the brilliant home cooks of my family. Back then, I knew that I wanted to become a “kusinera”, which in my language means a person who creates cuisines. The tastes and histories of the specialities of my grandmothers, aunts, and uncles have inspired me to learn to faithfully recreate them and, later on with classical training, elevate them.
3. Who is your mentor and why?
Aside from the influences of the kusineros in my family, I have been mentored by quite a few distinguished chefs in this industry. One of them is definitely Chef Victor Loy, whom I’ve worked with for almost 4 years at Plentyfull.
Not only has he taught me a lot about running a business and taking good care of the staff, more importantly, he has supported my knowledge of cooking by challenging me to understand my ingredients, how not to be afraid to make mistakes in conceptualizing recipes, and to have confidence in my ideas especially with the food that I create.
4. What about culinary life bring you joy?
I love that food, even the simplest dishes, can bring families, friends, or any group of persons together. Food creates connections through shared experiences, memories, and a sense of community that endures beyond the dining table. So when I see people coming into the restaurant, I automatically think: “how can I make their experience a good one?”. If I can create or evoke a happy memory, even with a simple appetizer, or a warm cup of soup, or a decadent dessert, it fulfills me.
5. What is your dream?
Every Chef dreams of establishing his or her own restaurant, and someday leave a legacy or a mark on the culinary world. That is my goal, too.
6. What does restoration mean to you?
By definition, restoration is a process of renewing, revitalizing, or reconstructing something back to its original form or towards a more improved condition.
With respect to food, for me, it is a philosophy of taking a simple dish and raising its quality through plenty of love, effort, and creativity, not only improving the condition of the dish overall, but would also hopefully restore the soul and well-being of those who will consume it.
7. Tell us 5 things we don’t know about you.
I was supposed to go into Medical School, but instead went to Culinary School.
I am a gamer. (Online games)
I played basketball in my senior year.
I don’t like mayonnaise.
My dream destination is Santorini, Greece.
8. If you weren’t in culinary, you would be…?
9. What is the biggest challenge and most rewarding part of your job?
Always being on your toes, literally and figuratively, is my biggest challenge. As you can imagine, literally, the physicality of being on your feet in the kitchen, all day long, is difficult and definitely tiring for any person. Having a good pair of shoes is the key!
And figuratively, you always have to be on top of all of the tasks. This requires a lot of experience and skills in multitasking and organization. Completing mis en place, maintaining order in the kitchen, keeping the staff in line, and expediting properly, are the everyday challenges to any kitchen. Staying focused and being positive is the key!
The rewarding part of being a chef is when, after all the hard work and effort we put in, whether it is for a big event or a basic ala carte order, and then I see that everything is executed beautifully and the guests are happy and restored, the passion continues and I fall in love with cooking all over again.