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10 questions with a culinary connoisseur…Therese Soriano

Junior Therese Soriano is a cheerful student attending the DCTC Riverview High School culinary class. She is a devoted student you can count on, even the teachers trust her enough to make a recipe in the kitchen without supervision. Many students can depend on her for instructions, help with a recipe, or cooking advice. Therese shares her culinary expertise and experience to make you a better chef in the kitchen. 

What inspired you to pursue culinary class?

One thing that inspired me to pursue culinary class was my family. It started when my grandma (who I call “nanay”) taught me little by little how to cook small dishes such as scrambled eggs and hotdogs since I’m very picky when eating food. My love for culinary grew as the time passed by during the pandemic. I know I was really bored and trying to look for a hobby that could ease my boredom, and that’s when I realized my mom used to be a baker and she would decorate cakes. I used her supplies for baking and I tried to search up different recipes in TikTok and do them. my family would compliment the dishes and pastries that I made for them. That is when I realized, “Wow baking is not that hard”. I continued to discover new recipes and I also continued making my family happy. They’ve inspired me a lot to continue my passion to become a successful pastry chef.

Can you describe a memory that influenced how you cook recipes? 

I remember I constantly saw my grandma and my mom in the kitchen. my curiosity led me to ask them to teach me how to cook, but they wouldn’t let me because they didn’t want their dishes to get ruined. I always watch them cook and as I grow older, they allow me to help in the kitchen. Two years ago, my mom decided we were moving here to America, which also meant we were leaving my grandma too. Before I left, I asked her to teach me every Filipino recipe she could teach me and that led me to bring the knowledge of cooking here with me.


How do you get creative with new or old recipes?

Cooking is all about being creative with different kinds of dishes. While cooking, I would observe its appearance, texture, and flavor, especially the smell. My brother taught me that “if your dish smells good, that means it tastes good.” confidence and trust in myself also help me to be creative with recipes. cooking is also putting love and effort into the recipes you are making.

How do you handle criticism or any feedback? Do you actually use it?

Handling criticism and feedback is one of the main things chefs have to deal with in order to grow and learn more. I used to dislike criticism but then I realized that it helps me to improve and become professional in the world of culinary. Most of the criticism I’ve received came from my mom, my brother, and my sister who are the first persons to try every dish I make. they would honestly give their opinions since they are sensitive especially when it comes to flavoring. One thing that I really liked is how my mom criticized the way I cooked the chicken, she would say, “It’s still raw in the middle. I can still taste a little bit of blood”. Her feedback helped me improve on creating patience in cooking the chicken longer. After her feedback, I let myself improve and now she compliments me saying “Good job for cooking the chicken well.”

What is one cooking skill you are looking to improve? 

One cooking skill that I am looking to improve is creating buttercream. It is important to have the perfect temperature and correct butter and it also needs patience and perseverance. In culinary, I learned that such as the right mindset, and learning that it is okay to fail are needed in the kitchen. I learned that there is room for improvement everywhere and failure is a sign that you’re given another chance to improve yourself. One of the reasons why I love culinary is because it helps us realize that “never stop learning because life never stops teaching.”

As the future approaches, what ideas and goals do you have in mind for your culinary career?

As the future approaches and I’ll be a senior next year, I’ll be taking the DCTC Culinary two next year. I’ve been also wanting to apply for my dream culinary school which is the Culinary Institute of America in New York. In the future, my goal is to have my own cafe.

In what ways do you stay in touch with the current food trends and do you recreate them? 

Tiktok is actually my go-to place when I’m trying to look for a recipe because there are tons of current food trends and also one-minute recipe videos, which is really nice instead of watching long 10-minute videos on YouTube. I usually recreate most of the current food trends because it engages me to learn more different ways of cooking and helps me to diversely learn different foods from different places.

What is the best ingredient to work with and why? What dish does the ingredient best taste in?

As a person who lived in southeast Asia, the best ingredient to work with is rice. Rice has been a staple food in Asia and rice is served for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and to desserts. I can’t tell what dish rice tastes best in because it goes well with everything. Rice can be eaten as it is, it can be used for sushi, or for sweet desserts like mango sticky rice and chocolate rice pudding in the Philippines.

Can you tell a funny story about an accident you made in the kitchen?

I can’t remember any funny accidents I’ve made in the kitchen, but all I know is every time I’m in the kitchen together with the people I love working with makes me feel happier. because being in the kitchen makes me feel that I belong here since I’m doing what I love to do. and this makes my passion grow and motivates me to do well in the future.

Describe your dream restaurant if you own one. What would you serve?

Growing up I really wanted to have my own coffee shop someday. Watching my mom decorate cakes, cupcakes, make bread inspired me that I can also do it. I wanted a coffee shop where people can find it very special.


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