For Chef Eugene Arador, the 100 folds of his toque do not represent the number of egg dishes he can prepare but the multiple roles he plays: a chef, a food consultant, an educator, entrepreneur, husband, father, and a happy community member of SMDC Trees Residences.
A former pastry chef in Macau, he never imagined his path in the food industry would propel him to a position where he could change lives.
A Filipino Chef in A Foreign Kitchen
His job in Macau as a Pastry Chef was serendipitous as he was only there to do research. One thing led to another and before he knew it, he found himself getting a job offer as a Pastry Chef. “While working in pastry, I was so curious – nakialam ako sa cold kitchen,” he chuckles. Macau was uncharted territory that opened a new world. “Dito ko naramdaman na madami pa pala akong dapat matutunan.” An inner hunger to learn urged him to explore everything around him and from there, he was in charge of managing an entire brigade of international chefs.
Working in a foreign kitchen presented its challenges. Through it all, he maintained his strong work ethics. “Noong una, hangin lang ako,” he wistfully recalls. There were days when he would work extended hours. His superiors would say, “Go home, it’s late – but I’d tell them, ‘I need to finish my work.’ Hindi ako uuwi nang hindi tapos ang trabaho ko.”
He would often ask himself, “Am I satisfied with my work?” Though he was careful not to tarnish the Filipino’s image, he also knew that it wasn’t just about impressing the bosses. “I was doing my best dahil mas masarap magtrabaho kung maganda ang kalidad ng trabaho mo.”
Of Sacrifices and Lifelong Learning
From being a newbie, he slowly felt recognition for his performance. When teaching called on him again, he decided to quit his job and return home, with his bosses making a counter-offer for him to stay. “But teaching was my calling. I had to go because I felt I could help others more by doing so.”
He returned to the Philippines aware that his salary would be far less than what he was receiving abroad, perhaps his biggest sacrifice, but not without life lessons in tow, “Learning is a continuous process, so you need to adapt. If you don’t, you might wake up na wala ka nang trabaho dahil napag-iwanan ka na.”
Pleats of Achievement
A doting father to a 12-year old and a mentor to countless students, most of whom are underprivileged, Chef Eugene eagerly shares life’s lessons, guided by the question,”Sino ang papalit sa mga gaya ko sa susunod na henerasyon?”
He would like to inspire and raise his daughter to be humble and to find her true passion, the same values he teaches his students. “I always tell them the value of a great attitude because all the other hard skills, you can easily learn from Youtube.” He is committed to making his classroom a training ground for them. His courses are not mere lectures, but tools for them to explore and reach greater heights. “I always tell my students, learning is your weapon in the industry. If you don’t have it, walang mangyayari.”
The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
His mornings at SMDC Trees Residences are spent jogging before he goes to work during the daytime and spending quality time with his wife and daughter. Everything else in his community is a life filled with colorful experiences. “Being at Trees Residences is like living as one family in one big house. We have friendly neighbors who greet each other during birthdays. We have weekend markets and groceries so food is available anytime, 24/7 security, modern amenities, and accessible transportation to get to places. Everything is here – it’s so convenient!” he raves. “Living in such a good environment is priceless.”
This nurturing community spirit and a worry-free life at Trees Residences let Chef Eugene pursue things that matter to him. “Ang mabago ko ang buhay ng isang estudyante at ng kanyang pamilya – that is my goal.” Standing out among the many pleats on his toque are the success stories of his students. “Ang marinig ko sa estudyante ko na,”Sir, manager na ako sa isang restaurant. Or Sir, employed na ako abroad – this, for me, is true happiness.”
One can say that SMDC Trees Residences is the hand that rocks the cradle so that this selfless chef can change the world, one toque at a time.
For more information about SMDC Trees Residences, visit https://smdc.com/properties/trees-residences/