OTTAWA – A Filipino chef has been putting his first passion into good use in and out of the kitchen.
Chef Armando Baisas is above all an artist, carving anything he can get his hands on since he was young.
Born and raised in Paete, Laguna, the carving capital of the Philippines, he started carving wood. Later, he became a chef.
His extraordinary craft caught the attention of the Hilton International Hotel's crew where he worked before he immigrated to Canada.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo awarded Baisas with the Pamana ng Pilipino Award in 2006 due to his unique talents and many achievements in the art of ice and food carving.
He has earned international acclaim from the tourism and hotel and restaurant industry in different parts of the world.
He has worked for the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary institute as an instructor and chef for 12 years.
Baisas has noticed an increase in aspiring Filipino chefs and advises them to work hard.
“You have to use your wild imagination, your inspiration should be taken from---it's ok to copy, but not to copy everything--but instead make a change. That's the way you can start learning and then go until you have your own style,” he said.
In Canada, Baisas is also known for his ice carving skills after winning competition year after year.
This year, Governor General David Johnston personally invited Baisas to recreate the emblem of the queen of Canada's Diamond Jubilee as an ice sculpture outside his home.
Because ice carving is strenuous, Baisas no longer competes but continues to judge competitions and teaches others art and techniques. Balitang Canada