As children we were asked countless times what we wanted to be as adults. The answers ranged from certain and vague – like a doctor, teacher, engineer or architect – to more specific like a fashion designer, rocket scientist or deep-sea diver.
Now people want to get famous on the internet. Just imagine millions of TikTok users offering minute-long makeup tutorials, cooking classes, or dance steps for everyone.
While TV personality and celebrity chef Jose Sarasola could have gone the easy way back then, he enrolled at BS-HRIM (Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management) and graduated from De La Salle College in Saint Benilde. His culinary major gave him the know-how and the courage to open his own restaurant on Avenue 75 in BF Homes, Parañaque, over a decade ago.
The eatery is known for its bar chow, which includes sisig, crispy pata, various pizzas, chicharron and burgers. At the start of last year’s pandemic and subsequent lockdowns that forced him to cease operations, Chef Jose carefully considered his options.
“I said to myself, ‘It’s been 10 years, it’s been a good run and the pandemic shutdown is nothing to be ashamed of,’ but then I had a change of heart,” he said.
He realized that 75 Avenue had lasted so long because it had done something right, something that customers valued and liked to come back for.
“That’s because of the food service we offer. I believe the food always has to be consistent and the staff always treats customers well and with respect. “
Many of his employees have been with him since day one and are therefore considered family.
In order to improve the sales of the resto-bar and entice customers to take-away during these lean months, Chef Jose developed promotions and discounts that he posted on social media. His efforts have not been in vain. Avenue 75 celebrated its 11th anniversary five months ago in February.
Despite his apparent affinity for anything to do with culinary matters, Chef Jose said that when he was young, he didn’t have that much to do with food and learning certain dishes.
“I can’t say I was always interested, but I made my first pancake dish with my mom when I was very young, around eight years old … maybe it was a portent for the future.
“In addition to college, I watched a lot of cooking shows on TV and the internet to find out about new trends in the culinary world. The first thing I really cooked and was really proud of was my rosemary chicken, ”he added.
Today he enjoys cooking Spanish, Thai and Italian dishes. He’s also a huge fan of Japanese food.
If he had the chance to be on his own cooking show, what would it be like?
“Actually, I would like something to cook at outside, for example in front of a beach, in the forest, on a mountain or next to a river or lake. I would enjoy that and I would use the local products of the area to prepare my dish. “
Chef Jose recently celebrated his first birthday as a GMA artist and is excited to see what the network has in store for him. Right now he’s busy shooting Eat Well’s second season, Live Well. Stay Well, a cooking show on the GMA Network that he moderates together with Iya Villania-Arellano.
“I just want to get on with what I do now – as a celebrity chef, endorser, actor, business owner. I balance everything and it works, so I’ll just keep doing what I do and appreciate all the blessings that come my way, ”he said.