Bantay Kalikasan

Taste for Success

CP Coulter & Winnie Rayos-Dimanlig
May 7, 2015

ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. and 
Raintree Restaurants
Bring Culinary and Lifestyle Training to the Community

In a continued effort to improve the quality of life and aid communities, ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. (ALKFI) – Bantay Kalikasan teamed up with Raintree Restaurants, in order to give select beneficiaries from eco-tourism communities a chance to participate in a true life skills makeover. Participants from various Bantay Kalikasan-supported communities in Western Samar, Leyte, Sarangani, Guimaras, Romblon, Oriental Mindoro, Palawan, and Sorsogon were immersed in five days of culinary arts and lifestyle training from the staff of Raintree, giving them everything they would need not just to start or improve their own food business, but also to truly take their lives forward onto better opportunities.

The ever supportive President of Raintree, Ms. Annabelle Wisniewski, along with its staff and ranks of executives who personally participated in the training, specially created a five day training session which covers all the bases: from branding and menus to creating a true restaurant atmosphere, as well as makeovers which allowed the participants to present their best foot forward with every business day. ALKFI took care of lodging, transportation and some training needs, while Raintree provided the learning, resource speakers, along with the use of the kitchen equipment and venues. Thus supplied, the nine participants from the different provinces, whose ages ranged from 26-64, were adequately prepared to face the coming days.

Raintree staff and personnel along with expert chefs and restaurateurs, began this five-day session with a discussion on image and branding. As this is the foundation of any good restaurant or food business, trainer Randy Salvador emphasized the importance of knowing what kind of restaurant the participants aimed to have. They explained how it can be made unique through their own personal style, and planning a great menu that not only echoes the brand but ensuring that ingredients used in their respective menus are endemic in their respective areas. Basic service standards were also discussed, talking about safety and quality standards, and focusing on areas that make a restaurant a truly class act. The participants were given professional support in coming up with the designs and layouts of their menus, cementing the brand they personally wished to achieve.
Included in the five-day event was an immersion activity with Raintree’s Food Parks. Guided by Jonell Daylo, day 2 of the event found the participants taking part in food parks at the PBCom Tower, LKG Tower, and Enterprise buildings. This allowed them to get a truly hands-on experience in running a food business, the need for great organization skills, as well as what it takes to keep a busy kitchen running. Separated into three groups, the participants were each coached by an assigned chef who would talk them through the important points of running a kitchen in the Food Park. Raintree’s Ms. Jen Buenaventura taught them how to make a recipe sheet, a highly important skill which allows a restaurant’s staff to replicate the restaurants’ signature dishes uniformly. Also taken up was the computation of food costs, from ingredients to final pricing. This is a valuable skill direly needed to make sure that the restaurant can sustain itself.

The next day took this type of training to professional levels as the participants were once again set to three groups, and were immersed in the world of running a real restaurant setting. Run by Master Chef Kalel Chan, with the aid of top chefs, the participants got to experience a restaurateur’s life in Museum Café (with Chef Alvigne), Simple Lang (with Chef Fred), and Stella (with Chef Karen). Each restaurant showed the participants how it was run, displayed the value of branding and an overall image, and important concerns that a chef must know when it comes to running a restaurant. One vital issue impressed upon the participants was food safety. Ms. Meriell De Guzman of the Sealed Air branch of Diversey was present to give the participants an important lecture in basic food safety, and how to make sure food is fresh and safe for consumption.

The following day, as they near the completion of their training, the participants got to once again work with the top chefs as they chose their signature dishes that they will serve on their practical test. This was a true test of how the budding chefs and restaurateurs will apply everything they have learned so far and how they would like to best present their brand. In presenting a brand and an image along with a dish, presentation of one’s self is also key and this is what Mr. Alfred Adolfo II emphasized. Professional appearance and behavior is a crucial factor in the success of a restaurant.

For this reason, cosmetics brand Mary Kay’s Sales Manager Ms. Marissa Magtoto arrived to give the participants a valuable course in how to present themselves in their best look. Their poise and image-enhancement makeovers allowed each participant to learn what makes them look good in their eyes and in the eyes of their future patrons.

The last day of the training, as a grand finale, the participants took on their practical test. With the use of everything they had learned in the week, they would act as both Kitchen and Service team, and run a restaurant simulation. They would not only cook the food, but they also presented the food in the best manner as taught. While the kitchen team cook and fixed dish presentation, the service crew would welcome guests, seat them, and serve the food ordered. To emphasize this event, present as guests were Raintree executives Randy Salvador (Director-Resort Operations), Cyril Addison (Director - Restaurant Operations), JP Agajanian (Senior Operations Manager), and Carmela Sison (Corporate Marketing Manager). Along with them were special guests from ALKFI Winnie Dimanlig (Head of Environmental Marketing, ALKFI), and Eunice Tanquintic (Tourism Officer, ALKFI-BK-GI).

After being debriefed and given helpful comments and fine tuning tips by the expert chefs led by Chef Kalel and the other assigned chefs, the participants completed their training with an awarding ceremony, sealing their path towards a better, potential-filled future.

There has never been a more tangible proof of commitment to support and a sincere desire to help fledgling communities than the kind of support that the Raintree group has so generously provided our participants. Raintree indeed has provided an invaluable contribution to the lives of these people through a complete, thorough, skills and image enhancing training which would definitely improve their quality of life.
By giving these participants a true taste of success in the culinary field and priceless guidance by experts from Raintree, there is no doubt that the future of the culinary field in our eco-tourism communities is looking sumptuous indeed.


A salute to Raintree and to a brighter future for our communities!