Having been fascinated with cake decorations, edible art pieces, and handmade flowers at a young age, 42-year old Filipino-Australian pastry chef Timothy Ancheta Tan lives his dream of being a skilled pastry chef in Australia. With over two decades of experience, Tan also captures the hearts of less fortunate Filipino young children and orphans.
As a high school student achiever, Tan arrived in Sydney in mid-2007 as a student of the International School of Hospitality Management Adelaide campus. He had his internship program at the Grand Sheraton (formerly Sheraton On The Park, Hyde Park). Soon after, Tan was offered a Demi Chef de Partie position in its patisserie and stayed there for almost three and half years.
He later moved to Sydney’s CBD, The Australian Club, in 2011 as an assistant pastry chef, where he continually works up to this time. Former Prime Ministers John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull are among the members of this private and preeminent club, which was established in 1838.
Tan’s exemplary inherent artistic skills earned him the highest distinction when he competed in the On The Spot Wedding Cake competition in the 1988 and 1999 Chefs on Parade organised by the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines. He represented his Alma Mater, the Philippine Women’s University which was declared the over-all champion for student division in both years.
He soon worked at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel which he represented in the 2002 Chefs on Parade Classical Platter Dessert Professional Division and likewise earned him the Gold Medal Award.
Tan later joined the Cunard Shipping Line Company on board the most prestigious ocean liner RMS Queen Mary 2 Pioneer in 2003 to 2006. He became a part of the academe of his Alma Mater upon its introduction of the Hospitality Management course majoring in culinary. He often imparts his professional skills at various universities and school demonstrations when on holidays.
“My charity work started when I moved here in Australia. I put aside a small amount of my salary every week and save them. When I’m about to go on a holiday back to the Philippines, I ask my friends who have a car to buy some groceries and rice with my savings. I will then donate the items to orphanages around Manila. After three years of doing this, I made gift bags with food, toys, blankets, and toiletries. With the help of my friends back home, we roam around the streets of Manila and look for kids sleeping on the streets and hand them gift bags. The smiles on kids’ faces are very genuine and priceless.
I always felt sorry for children who live on the streets because that is not the right place for them to be. They should be taken care of, nurtured, and taught in the school to be future leaders. But since their parents don’t care, they don’t have much choice but to live on the streets.”
Beyond the kitchen corners, Tan enjoys designing and fashion. His interests in arts take their roots from his early childhood engagements on television commercials, voice acting, and stage theatre.
Message to kabababayans
“It is important to have a solid foundation of learning in any skills because this will serve as your gear in the actual workplace. Learning does not stop from school since patisserie is like a fashion. It evolves so you need to always be at the forefront of every new technique and creation happening around the globe. That it’s why you need to constantly update your skills and knowledge to cope with new trends in the industry.
During this global pandemic, everyone needs to be innovative in dealing with the situation. We all need to thrive in order to survive. We all need to look at positivity. Also, we, Filipinos have distinct resilient characters especially those who used to live in the Philippines under a not-so-privileged lifestyle because we know how to innovate and adapt to what we have.
Instead of dwelling on the sad part, let just pray together that this shall pass and even during hard times, we still need to learn how to count our blessings and try to impart them with less fortunate people. It’s better to give than to receive and as you are blessed, be a blessing to others.”
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