From classroom to culinary success: Stories of CCA Manila graduates

The country’s top culinary school, the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA Manila), is renowned for producing top-tier culinary professionals who are now making waves in the culinary scene both locally and internationally.

In modern times, a culinary arts graduate can choose from a diverse range of career opportunities beyond working in a kitchen. They venture into food entrepreneurship, starting their own food-related businesses such as catering services, food trucks, or specialty food products. There’s also a huge opportunity in agriculture and food production. Culinary arts graduates can find roles in nutrition and dietetics, helping to develop the healthcare and wellness industries.

“CCA Manila continues to be proud of its graduates’ diverse and successful career paths—they are garnering awards, leading kitchens of top hotels and cruise ships, and elevating Filipino cuisine to greater heights. Our graduates are tangible proof of the effectiveness of CCA Manila’s comprehensive training and hands-on approach,” said Dr. Veritas Luna, Chancellor.

Aspiring culinary artists can embark on their exciting journey with CCA Manila’s upcoming intakes this August and October 2024. They can follow in the footsteps of these four outstanding CCA Manila alumni. Read their career journeys below and see for yourself what opportunities open up to you upon finishing a culinary arts program.

Restaurant Owner: Chef Thirdy Dolatre

Thirdy Dolatre is Head Chef and Owner of Hapag, one of Manila’s most sought-after restaurants located in Rockwell. Dolatre’s journey began as a line cook, then he further pursued training as a stagiaire at some of San Francisco’s Michelin-starred restaurants. His story is a testament to the global opportunities waiting for CCA Manila graduates.

“CCA Manila provided me with essential knowledge, transforming us from culinary students into professional chefs. We were given the confidence and expertise needed upon graduation. It equipped me with the fundamental skills, allowing me to enter any food establishment with confidence,” Dolatre says.

“Knowledge is truly power. As students at CCA, you already have the advantage of fundamental knowledge to jumpstart your career. In the culinary world, you must also work diligently with integrity, passion, intentionality, authenticity, and purpose. These qualities are what make an excellent professional chef.”

Recipe Developer and Consultant: Chef Sonny Mariano

Chef Sonny Mariano, another alumnus of CCA Manila, is known as an in-demand recipe developer and culinary consultant. Known for his innovative approach to flavors, Mariano has been instrumental in creating some of the most exciting culinary experiences, including the recently launched Magnum Mango Yoghurt Parfait.

Educator and Instructor: Chef Enrico Caparas

Chef Enrico Caparas, also a graduate of CCA Manila, has dedicated his career to education and training. As a Baking and Pastry Instructor and Pastry Coach for the Culinary Team of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) based in Canada, Caparas has developed five new courses and contributed significantly to the field of culinary education. His professional experience spans leading kitchens in hotels in Asia and Canada, specializing in various pastry products and culinary techniques.

Executive Chef: Chef John Martho Buenaventura

Chef John Martho Buenaventura, another shining star from CCA Manila, has ascended to the prestigious position of Executive Chef at Emirates Flight Catering for VIP Flights, Private Jets, and Presidential Planes. His role involves overseeing the creation of exquisite in-flight meals, catering to a global clientele with high culinary expectations. Buenaventura’s journey exemplifies the heights of success that CCA Manila graduates can achieve in the international culinary scene.

For achieving this height of success, he credits his training at CCA Manila. “Taking a culinary course has transformed my cooking skills and opened up exciting new career opportunities. I’ve learned essential techniques, from basic knife skills to advanced culinary methods, which have greatly enhanced my confidence in the kitchen. The course has also encouraged my creativity, allowing me to experiment with different cuisines and food presentations.”

For anyone passionate about cooking, whether for personal growth or career advancement, Buenaventura highly recommends taking a culinary course. “It’s a fulfilling and enjoyable journey that equips you with the skills and knowledge to succeed in the culinary world.”

Start Your Culinary Journey

Aside from the success stories of the alumni, CCA Manila graduates have ventured into various other exciting career paths as personal chefs, food stylists, food vloggers, R&D specialists, and educators.

“Aspiring chefs and culinary enthusiasts have the perfect opportunity to start their culinary journey with CCA Manila’s upcoming intakes this August and October. With a curriculum designed to blend practical kitchen training with comprehensive food service management, students will be well-prepared to join the ranks of these successful graduates,” said Dr. Luna.

Diploma in Culinary Arts & Technology Management

CCA Manila’s flagship course, the Diploma in Culinary Arts & Technology Management (DCATM), provides students with a robust foundation to become culinary chefs. The program combines practical kitchen training with comprehensive food service management education, fostering entrepreneurial and management skills essential for running institutional or commercial kitchens.

For inquiries, visit their website at Email Or visit the @ccamanila on Facebook and Instagram.


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