Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today is my BIRTHDAY!

Hello 30!

Today, I'm celebrating another birthday! Yeah! I love fresh starts and all the promise that comes with the first day of a new birthday year. Starting to have wrinkles? I can buy cream to smooth them out or go to Belo perhaps, but I wouldn't change my age or give back one minute of my life. Good days and bad, its been a tasty time so far! I like having birthdays because they humble me. They remind me to be grateful for my life, my family, my friends, my work, my artist chef thing and for my ever dearest boyfriend. Birthdays challenge me, too. Every year I get a little bit smarter about at least a few things, but the list of what I want to do and learn grows longer. Two years ago I wrote the same blog I'm writing now in a different journal. What I said then was "hello 28!" and wrote there that I wanted to enroll in a cooking class, go to Australia and have my intimate dinner business. All of them came true already. And today I have new wishes to write down but I'd rather keep them to my self and pray they will soon come true. Who knows next year or two years from now I'll write a blog again and tell you guys that my wishes came true. This is also my chance to thank all the people who visited my blog and to those who visit this site regularly. I am really overwhelmed by the statistic data showing all my visitors. Surprisingly, they come from all parts of the globe.

Thank You and Ciao!

---Joan

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Love Del Rosario

Love is in the air during Valentine’s month. The couple that graced the lovers' seats in The Artist Chef intimate dinner were newly weds Love Del Rosario and her husband. Nicole ArdeƱa, boyfriend of Love's sister, arranged everything for the couple as her post-wedding gift.






The Gerbera flowers that Reggie gave me became the couple's centerpiece.



Boy Alnajes

A lot couples still try to find unique ways to celebrate Valentine's Day. Sweet guy Boy Alnajes and the lovely Jakki Blanco are among those people. Another addition to the roster of couples who have experienced the special Valentine's dinner at The Artist Chef's table.






I'm wearing my Sicily apron for the first time. From my dear friend Pedi who is now based in Europe. Shuffling from one country to another.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

US Girls - Cheska Garcia

This was last March when Reggie and I watched THE RAMP fashion show in Glorietta . Raya Mananquil is one of the known models who ramped during that night. The event was hosted by none other than Cheska Garcia. This picture was taken by Reggie at the backstage of the event.

Raya Mananquil in gray.


After the fashion show there were some pica-picas inside THE RAMP boutique located at the former Tower Records area.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hunter Valley

My Sydney Painting Series #1

This is series one of the four series paintings I did when I was in Sydney last November. I painted this using gold poster paint on red vellum. I used a white square frame which I bought from my favorite store IKEA. The four series paintings is now under the custody of my Australia-based cousin Gary Lejarde and his wife Yonni.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Katrina Samaniego

When I first met my officemate Katrina, she was a chubby girl. A lot of people in the office told me she had an FHM-worthy figure before she got married. But because she was a workaholic whose only outlet was to eat and eat and eat, she gained some pounds.

But one day, she decided to get back into shape. After a few months of dieting, exercise and self-discipline, she's now skinnier than I am. She is no longer the chubby girl with a belly I can pinch. I'm proud of my dear friend Ena! (As most of her friends call her).

Up to now I still find myself smiling when I'm reminded of the day Ena became my friend. It was in 2006, during the last day of our office trip to HK, when I saw her in the lobby of the hotel and asked her if she waned to go to Ikea with me. She excitedly said yes. She was even proud of the fact that she's very familiar with the MTR so she'll be the one to guide me daw. Some funny things happened on our way there but that's just between me and her. I'm glad that up to now we are still good friends.


With Ena is her very charming husband Ariel.

I really got to know Ariel during their daughter's birthday. It was Alyssa's 2nd birthday when I went to Ena's house in Loyala Grand Villas to cook lunch food for their immediate family.


Trivia: Ariel used to have a Kodak developing outlet as his business. But due to the advent of digital technology, he sold the business. He is now an importer of unique photo albums for weddings. Different photographers order from Ariel's not-so-commercialized albums, and that's his edge compared to other photo album suppliers.

Since pictures are very much part of their lives, the couple didn't say NO when I brought out the camera. It was a success! I think both of them really enjoyed it.



This was the couple's pre-valentine's dinner. Ena reserved this last November for their anniversary but I was fully booked. December came and Ena tried to reserve for her birthday but I was again fully booked at that time. So when February came, I gave Ena the first Sunday slot.

Thanks Ena and Ariel! 'til next time :-)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Loriemin Apo

Young banker Loriemin Apo in her early 20's is engaged to be married with her boyfriend who is in his mid-30's. There's a big age gap but it didn't become a barrier for two people who are very much in love. They met more than a year ago in RCBC when Loriemin was still a trainee under the supervision of her fiancee. From then on, their relationship has gone a long way. I enjoyed talking with the couple and I found out that Loriemin's fiancee is the former officemate of my co-worker's husband. I encountered many instances like this before so I believe that in this world we are all connected.

My Italian set meal is the most popular set meal lately.




Good luck to both of you on your wedding next year!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bar-Be School Sydney (AUS post 6)

Back to School 2007! This time I forgot about the easel, paint brush, t-square, ruling pen, french curves and all my art gadgets back in 1999. It was time to bring out the apron, gloves, ladle, knives, grilling pan, skewers, bowl and all the cooking utensils. Time to learn something new and sharpen my cooking expertise. Let me share with you a memorable experience at the Bar-Be School in Australia.


I never enrolled in any culinary school but I've been cooking for more than 15 years in my life. What made me decide to enroll in a cooking school? And opt for a foreign cooking school? My reasons were very simple. I had a month-long vacation in Australia and I thought it would be great to embrace not just the culture but also the Australian cuisine. And the way to go about it is to enroll in a cooking school. I almost set aside enrolling in Bar-be School because the tuition fee was very expensive. But then again, more than the experience and gaining of knowledge, I was sure I'd meet new people and perhaps gain some new friends.


The school's venue is in UNION Hotel, north of Sydney. It's very far from where I stayed, which is in Goulburn St., Liverpool situated south of Sydney. The venue changes from time to time because it's a barbecue class and it needs open air for the grilling part.


Let me introduce you to Chef Jason (right side) who is the Executive Chef in our school. With him is his tall assistant. I hope the guy will forgive me because I forgot his name already. :p


These were my classmates. Most of them are male Aussies and British. There were few females and among them was The Artist Chef--the only Asian in the class.


What also made me choose Bar-be school among other schools I searched on the net is the hands-on class. What does that mean? Well that means that students are interacting together. The teacher will teach what to do and the students will be the one to do it by themselves. Unlike other schools where the teacher will teach and cook at the same time. Students will just watch and they have their pens and papers to take down notes. I don't like schools like that so I opted for the Bar-be School.

Well those were my Aussie and Brit classmates. Mostly with big bellies. They wanted to serve something new on their dining table.


This photo was taken by my classmate. He saw me taking pictures around the class so he approached me and asked if I want my photo taken. I gladly say YES! Actually he even offered me a ride to the CBD. I refused because my very supportive boyfriend was waiting for my class to finish. :-)


This is the good thing about the cooking class...I ate what I cooked.

Since I was the only Asian in the class, I got all the attention from our teacher. He wondered why I enrolled in Bar-be school. I told him it's part of my vacation and I want to learn some Australian cooking and apply it to my little business called Artist Chef. My teacher said "So you're stealing ideas from us..." Then everyone in the class had a laugh.