by RONALYN BANAKEN
In his speech, Chef Lau pounded on the need to ‘create a legacy that will stand the test of time.’
You have seen him on MasterChef and Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition. You probably catch him on Asian Food Channel. And you might have come across his portrait on a food magazine.
For one, he is a celebrity so it is sort of normal for you to see him on TV or in some glossy magazine or in an advertisement sporting his signature shoulder-length hair. But there is more to this man than meets the eye.
Chef Rolando Laudico – more famously known as Chef Lau – addressed over 800 graduates of the University of Baguio (UB) at the UB Gym on Dec. 23 and his presence spelled profound inspiration.
Chef Lau – who graduated as a dean’s lister from the Culinary Institute of America in New York – first touched on the meaning of “creating a legacy,” playing up the immense significance of leaving something that will “last long” and “stand the test of time.”
“Your diploma is a form of legacy. It is something that will be with you for the rest of your life. No one can take that away from you,” he said, bringing up the classic wisdom on the importance of education.
He then hammered on confronting your biggest fears, recounting when he himself was in doubt.
(His culinary track record spans across continents. After holding jobs in local restaurants in Manila, he set out for New York. There, he took jobs, also in restaurants. He then traveled to Chambéry, France and was employed as an apprentice for L’ Essentiel. He later went to Sydney, Australia, where he found success working for restaurants like Lochar’s and Hugo’s. But his stay in Sydney was brief. So he came home.)
“I actually doubted myself. Most of you would go through the same thing. [But] just look at your diploma because it’s a symbol of your self-confidence,” he said, striking a profound note when he pounded on the timeless idea of believing in yourself.
He reminded the newest batch of UB alumni that “if you ever find yourselves in doubt, know that you can achieve anything as long as you put your mind and soul to it.”
When he came home from Sydney, together with his wife Chef Jackie – a pastry chef – Chef Lau launched the Chef Laudico Group. The Group conceived Chef Laudico Bistro Filipino, Chef Lau’s Pugon Roasters, and Chef Laudico Guevarra’s – all Filipino-themed restaurants that highlight traditional and modern Pinoy cuisine. Now, the restaurants are part of the force that is pushing the boundaries of Filipino recipe, elevating the Filipino taste to a new level and introducing the Pinoy food to the world.
In conclusion, Chef Lau – who currently appears in The Amazing Food Challenge (now on its second season) on Asian Food Channel – gave his “salute” to the graduates, telling them to “make us proud.”
The essence of being a true celebrity is not all about cameras flashing around you or your face being printed in fancy pages. It’s being able to plant a seed of profound inspiration, a lasting imprint in the hearts of those you had the chance to inspire. And Chef Lau didn’t disappoint.
More than 800 graduates were conferred during the baccalaureate exercises.