Explore Chef Florabel Yatco’s culinary empire, featuring renowned restaurants like Florabel, Crisostomo, Corazon, and more, all born from her unwavering passion and dedication.
This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s November 2023 Issue.
Becoming a chef is a journey of hard work, dedication, and an unwavering passion for the culinary arts.
It’s far more complex than mastering a few recipes; it’s a path that demands unyielding commitment and a profound understanding of the art of cooking.
“What does a chef do?” is a question that delves much deeper than its surface; chefs are professionals responsible for crafting delectable dishes and ensuring the seamless operation of a bustling kitchen.
One remarkable chef who embodies this dedication is Florabel Yatco. In 1995, Chef Florabel embarked on her culinary journey, and in 2005, she took a courageous leap by opening her own restaurant.
Today, the Florabel Group of Restaurants boasts an impressive array of renowned establishments in the Philippines, including Florabel, Crisostomo, Corazon, El Corazon, Cafeteria, Market on 5th Avenue, Mr. Frank’s Hotdogs & Nachos Co., and Sisa’s Secret.
Cooking With Heart
When asked about her inspiration for becoming a chef, Chef Florabel shared, “My family and I share a deep love for good food, and it has always been a source of connection for us. This passion for culinary delights fueled my desire to become a chef.
I honed my skills under the mentorship of Glenda Barretto of Via Mare and gained valuable experience at establishments like Fashion Cafe and Top Of The Citi, working with esteemed chefs like Billie King and Jessie Sincioco.
However, I felt it was time to embark on my own culinary adventure, combining all I had learned from my mentors and my travels. This led me to catering, which eventually paved the way for my own restaurant, Florabel. Today, my company embraces diverse culinary concepts, from continental and Filipino cuisine to homecooked meals and snacks.”
Every chef has their favorite dish, and for Chef Florabel, it’s the Filipino classic, Sinigang. She explained, “After all the different types of food I’m exposed to at work, there’s nothing like the comfort that Filipino food brings. It reminds me of family and home, which really makes me feel good after a long day.”
With a lineup of Filipino restaurants under her belt, Chef Florabel believes that Filipino cuisine should stay true to its roots. She emphasized, “Filipino food is perfect as it is. It’s important not to alter its essence and spirit.
More and more people are appreciating its unique flavors, components, and rich cultural heritage. If any changes are to be made, perhaps it’s in the presentation, but the essence of Filipino cuisine should remain untouched.”
Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia October 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.
Banner photo by Kieran Punay of KLIQ, INC.