Taclobanon chef brings home Philippine Culinary Cup
No pandemic can stop a Taclobanon chef from bringing home the cup of honor and pride. In the recently held Philippine Culinary Cup at the Mega Trade Hall in SM, Chef Maud Arianne Jimenez- Sidhu bested eight other competitors in the Plated Dessert category making her a Gold Awardee and the chance to represent the country in an international arena.
“Chef Yan,” a Taclobanon from Brgy. 80, Marasbaras, who co-owns with her husband an Indian-French restaurant in Tacloban called La Maison Punjab (LMP) finished elementary at Sto. Niño SPED Center – Tacloban and from there earned higher education as a scholar at Philippine Science Highschool-Iloilo, and later acquired a degree in BS Food Technology at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Her first job at a research and development laboratory that manufactured food and tested for companies like Kenny Rogers, Mc Donalds, etc. led her to appreciate culinary after working with a pastry chef who made breads. Thru a full scholarship, she enrolled at the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) in Manila, attended French Pastry Program in Yssingeaux, France later, and the rest is history.After working her way up by taking master classes from French Pastry Chefs while working at CÉ LA VI in Singapore as an OFW, the self-made chef came home to Tacloban to live her ultimate dream which is to put up a restaurant and grace her passion by sharing with her fellow Taclobanons the food culture she learned from her 10 years stint outside the country. Aside from food, she also shares her culinary skills, especially with the LMP staff. In fact, she brought with her to the cooking contest Chef Joseph Marapao who was coached by her husband Chef Sandeep, and brought home a silver award for his “Spiced Lamb Riblets” under US Lamb Category.
“The culinary scene here in Tacloban is good, don’t get me wrong. The reason I came home is to share to my fellow Taclobanons what I have learned outside the country. When we decided to come home in 2018, it was really to introduce new flavors and new cuisine; not necessarily to improve, but to introduce new food experience,” says Chef Yan who shared her excitement about her plans for LMP now that the city’s economy is slowly catching up after experiencing drastic effects from the pandemic.
Since LMP opened last 2019, just few months before Tacloban started feeling the economic effects of the pandemic, Chef Yan and Chef Sandeep, did everything in their capacity to save the new restaurant not only to feed themselves, their daughter, but their employees’ families as well.
On their second year this coming December 1, Chef Yan plans to serve “Fraisier Façon Bûche,” the dish which captured the hearts of the chef-judges during the Philippine Culinary Cup. She also shared how she maintains to keep LMP a family and ‘groupie’ destination in Tacloban and Region 8 by creating more healthy and natural spicy-rich indian-french menus, apart from adding more tables and chairs outside for a better eating experience at ‘La Maison Punjab’ or ‘The House of Punjab.’