The palate at play

Pa­tri­cia Noel finds bal­ance liv­ing the culi­nary life

Sun.Star Cebu Weekend - - Front Page - By Deneb Batucan

FULL of con­fi­dence and wit, Pa­tri­cia Noel graces a room with so much energy and light. And when she talks about one of her ul­ti­mate pas­sions, her pretty eyes light up as she talks about a myr­iad of top­ics. Pa­tri­cia, ap­par­ently, loves food very much.

Pa­tri­cia is part of the Casa Verde Group, a chain of fam­ily-owned restau­rants that started in Cebu and now has restau­rants in Manila as well. Casa Verde started in 2002 as a small can­teen in Ramos that even­tu­ally grew into a full-scale restau­rant. With its suc­cess, sev­eral other restau­rants came to fruition. Pa­tri­cia fo­cuses on the mar­ket­ing and brand­ing of the com­pany’s emerg­ing brands such as The Suite Room, Room for Dessert and The Porch, which is based in Manila.

With a fam­ily busi­ness cen­tered on food, it’s a given that the fam­ily has al­ways been into cook­ing and eat­ing. “I grew up around a fam­ily that loves food. When I was younger, I would al­ways look for­ward to bu­ti­faras (pep­pered sausages) and bud­bud, both of which were lov­ingly made at home us­ing old fam­ily recipes. When my dad and his sib­lings were grow­ing up, en­say­mada and freshly baked bread would be part of their break­fast. All these were home­made,” she shared.

Of honors and honor

Greatly in­flu­enced by her fam­ily, Pa­tri­cia has a pas­sion and in­cli­na­tion for food. Even when she took up busi­ness man­age­ment in Ate­neo de Manila, where she grad­u­ated cum laude, culi­nary school was what her heart was long­ing for. But it was only when Casa Verde and The Porch opened in Manila in 2013 that the need for culi­nary stud­ies was im­me­di­ate.

“I wanted to be in­volved in the fam­ily busi­ness and knew that my Ate­neo de­gree might not be enough,” she said. That was when she en­rolled at a culi­nary school — Cen­ter for Asian Culi­nary Stud­ies (CACS).

And like the achiever that she is, Pa­tri­cia fin­ished culi­nary school with fly­ing col­ors. “I was made my class’s Ex­ec­u­tive Chef for our Legacy Buf­fet. This was a lunch event where the whole class works to­gether as a team to feed 100 peo­ple in a buf­fet. It

was four days of pre-work be­fore the buf­fet it­self,” she said. Pa­tri­cia grad­u­ated from CACS with a gold medal in cui­sine and pas­try, an honor which hasn’t been given to a stu­dent in a very long time.

Go­ing into the fam­ily busi­ness is a way of pre­serv­ing a fam­ily legacy for Pa­tri­cia. “I am hon­ored to have been given the op­por­tu­nity to con­tinue my fam­ily’s culi­nary legacy. If any­thing, the love and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for good food is my small way of hon­or­ing those who came be­fore me,” she said. “Be­ing part of the busi­ness al­lows me the op­por­tu­nity to honor my fam­ily’s culi­nary past and for this I will al­ways be grate­ful.”

Bal­ance and growth

Aside from her pas­sion for food, Pa­tri­cia is also into music as she is a clas­si­cally trained vi­o­lin­ist. She en­joys Robert Lud­lum books and other es­pi­onage nov­els. And to bal­ance out her love for eat­ing good food, she ex­er­cises daily. “I don’t feel good if I don’t get my morn­ing high-in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing in,” she quipped.

But even when she’s sur­rounded by food all day, Pa­tri­cia still loves ex­per­i­ment­ing in the kitchen. It’s one of the things she loves to do. “I love ex­per­i­ment­ing, es­pe­cially bak­ing and us­ing not-so- com­mon in­gre­di­ents like home­made co­conut and al­mond flour,” she shared.

Pa­tri­cia hopes to see the busi­ness grow even more, es­pe­cially in Manila. “Now is ac­tu­ally a great time for re­gional brands such as ours in Manila be­cause peo­ple are be­com­ing more and more ap­pre­cia­tive of lo­cal brands and prod­ucts. You ac­tu­ally see peo­ple lin­ing up at the restau­rants in Manila to get a taste of the food that we of­fer,” she said.

Now is ac­tu­ally a great time for re­gional brands such as ours in Manila be­cause peo­ple are be­com­ing more and more ap­pre­cia­tive of lo­cal brands and prod­ucts.”

MORN­ING ROU­TINE. To keep bal­ance, Pa­tri­cia also gets her daily dose of high-in­ten­sity train­ing.

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