Thomasian chef Andrew Paderes (Photo grabbed from Foodtalkwithchefandrewpaderes Facebook page)

What is a recipe? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word as the formula or procedure for doing or attaining something. What is the recipe for success? There’s no such thing, according to a Thomasian chef who has been making a name for himself in the Middle East’s culinary scene.

Hotel and restaurant management alumnus Andrew Paderes is a three-time inductee into the 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf of Illustrado Magazine, a premiere Filipino lifestyle magazine published in Dubai, Arab Emirates that aims to uplift and promote Filipinos and the Filipino culture around the world. 

An executive chef, Paderes was the first Filipino to be recognized alongside celebrity chefs from all over the globe at the annual Taste of Dubai festival, one of the country’s most renowned culinary events. 

He is currently an executive chef at Catch 22—a multi-cuisine foodie hotspot with branches in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

For him, the road to success has no shortcuts and no guarantees.

“There’s no such recipe to [success] that has to be followed, because it has to come from yourself,” he said in an interview with the Varsitarian. 

“[For] me, I always believe that I need to trust and respect other people because I am not alone in the industry, so I have to treat them with respect and trust them.” 

Continuing to serve as a role model not only for Filipinos but also for aspirants from other countries, Padres prides in the fact that he has not only built a successful career for himself but also helped shape the careers of many.

“I think I was able to impact a lot of people, especially Filipinos,” the 46-year-old said. “I was able to train talents, Filipinos and non-Filipinos, from the lowest positions and elevate their crafts, their talent and [have them] build a career for themselves,” he said. 

Working abroad

Working in a foreign country is a tough task. Paderes said he had to learn how to believe in himself more to fulfil his true potential.

“Being a Filipino abroad, I have to assert myself [and] believe I am skilled. [My mindset was] ‘I believe I can compete with them,’” Paderes said.

“I always believe that giving your best is just normal, and always expected. What I have always done is topping my best, giving my extra and thinking out of the box,” he said. 

Paderes further honed his culinary skills at Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Maze in Qatar and at Nobu London restaurant in the United Kingdom.

“[Those] people who have aspirations and dreams as well, kailangan mag-exert ng extra effort para mag-step up. My mantra was always to elevate and step up because there’s no other way but to go up and forward.” 

Thomasian roots

Before becoming a full-time chef abroad, Paderes was an instructor at the UST College of Tourism and Hospitality Management for five years.

During his time in the University, Paderes established the Reader’s Café—the coffee shop located inside the Miguel de Benavides Library. 

In total, he had spent 15 years in the University.

Paderes believed that manifesting Thomasian values was among the things that helped him excel in his field.

“Being a Thomasian professional, I’ve remained grounded and… humble. [Those are] some of the best traits of a Thomasian,” Paderes said. 

Should one stumble from failure to failure along the way, Paderes said enthusiasm must not be lost.

“No matter how hard you fail, if you have a positive outlook, you see the positive side of it, you’d be able to rise from it faster and easily, and of course God has to be there. You have to believe Him,” he added.

He obtained his bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management at UST in 1995 and taught subjects on catering, baking, beverage management, culinary arts and events management at the College of Hospitality and Management from 2000 until 2005. Jade Veronique V. Yap


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