Federico is the executive chef for Austin’s Bar & Grill, a very popular Calgary restaurant in Calgary. He is a member of the National Membership Chair of the Canadian Culinary Federation, a Chef Social Chair of the Calgary Academy of Chef and Cooks, and the Founding Chair of the Philippine Culinary Federation of Canada. He was awarded 2015 Chef of the Year by the Calgary Academy of Chefs and Cooks.
Success did not come easy for Federico. He came from a very humble beginning. “I grew up in a small barrio in Lucena City,” said Federico. “Our house was in the poorest of the poor. The house was very small for a family of six. It was made of bamboo and nipa hut. Our family barely lived on my dad’s income from the fishery.”
Like other poor kids in the Philippines, his childhood experience wasn’t easy. “I was a scavenger once, a street vendor, selling balut day and night, a day-worker in a rice field in exchange for a small amount of rice, and worked many kinds of low-paying jobs. Even during my adolescent time, after acquiring a driver’s license, I worked as a tricycle driver, jeepney driver, taxi driver, a driver for a family, and a company driver.”
The turning point in his life came in the year 2000 after a 2-week cooking seminar. Afterward, he was sent to a job training at a hotel in Manila. “I was assigned work in the main kitchen from 8 am to 2 pm, but instead of going home, I volunteered to help at the hotel coffee shop. I did this from 2 pm to 9 pm for two months, every day.” His dedication paid off. The executive chef noticed Federico and have him a job as a cook.
In 2002, Federico moved to Kuwait and worked there for five years. “My communication skills improved because I used English every day since no one talked Tagalog.” This experience helped him transition to Canada when he migrated in 2008 and worked as a cook.
“I always worked with determination and passion,” said Federico. “My employer noticed my potential and gave me a position to run the kitchen as the executive chef. I treat the restaurant I work for like it is my own. Because I know I need to do it for my employer, for me, and most importantly for my staff.”
Not only is Federico a great chef, but he also loves to serve his community. “When you serve your community, God will not forget you when you’re in trouble.”