People say that the key to someone’s heart is through their bellies, but dare I say that meals also take another route and that is through our minds. What better way to enhance the learning experience than through quality food, right?
Owing to the watchful eye and enchanting expertise of Chef Kai Padilla, Montessori De Sagrada Familia has embraced the art of culinary excellence, welcoming new upgrades to the way of cooking and serving meals at the cafeteria.
Chef Kai dons multiple hats as a culinary consultant, a profession he’s been wholeheartedly dedicated to since 2019, collaborating with well-established brands like Alaska Milk. Beyond his gastronomic creations, he assumes roles as diverse as a researcher, cooking coach, recipe maestro, food stylist, and setup virtuoso—making him an all-encompassing guiding force in anything related to food.
He is also the father of two Sagradan students, Sixth-grader Christian Gabriele Padilla of Section Spergel and Christian Raphael Padilla of Grade 4-Triton. As a dad, he wants his children to be nourished by good food whenever they are in school. That is why when he was approached by MDSF to help with the improvement of its canteen services, the chef enthusiastically responded “Game ‘yan!”
In perfect harmony with the school’s vision and this academic year’s theme of ‘Happy, Healthy, and Extraordinary,’ the introduction of a chef consultant and his innovations becomes a fitting addition.
As per insights from Chef Kai, the pandemic has transformed the culinary preferences and dining tendencies of learners, shifting them towards deliveries and takeouts, with convenience emerging as the new standard. In response to this trend, the adept consultant spearheaded a wave of fresh and ingenious modifications, both in terms of thematic orientation and this year’s gastronomic repertoire. Even the timeless classics underwent a much-awaited change.
On that account, the school’s cafeteria has transitioned into a haven for a myriad of taste profiles, harmoniously integrating an exquisite array of flavors from diverse corners of the globe, encompassing the likes of Korea, Japan, the Middle East, the Western world, and naturally, our very own Philippines.
Illustrating the extraordinary spectrum of weekly choices, the canteen has already served the Sagradans’ palate with a delectable lineup at the onset of the academic year.
These culinary delights include cold and fresh Fruit Shakes, the fiery embrace of Bicol Express, the tasty Shawarma Rice, the embrace of Country-Style Fried Chicken, the charm of Belgian Waffles, the indulgence of Kebabs, the savor of Beef Gyudon, the crisp delight of Pork Tonkatsu, the elegance of Fish Fillet, the dance of Beef Bulgogi, the sweet-savory poetry of Chicken Teriyaki, the crunch of Nachos, the nostalgia of Corndogs, and the ever-relished favorite, Pork Samgyup.
“The trend of infusing modern choices into food isn’t solely a product of the pandemic; it’s also a reflection of the ever-evolving generation,” the virtuoso chef expressed.
For many, food is synonymous with joy, however, it is of utmost importance to strike a balance between the euphoria that comes from dishes and the mission of promoting the health and well-being of Sagradans.
Hence, Chef Kai ensures that alongside indulgent delights, nutrient-packed side dishes are included in every plate. This features an array of vegetables like carrots and corn and fruits like watermelon and banana.
Beyond physical health, Chef Kai also understands the emotional impact of food. His meals contribute not only to the students’ vitality but also to the teachers’ and parents’ welfare. By crafting meals that uplift moods and assure health, he also eases the minds of parents who no longer need to worry about meal preparations.
This positive influence extends not only to students but also to teachers and staff. As a testament to his culinary finesse, even I find myself frequenting the cafeteria, drawn by the sheer happiness, healthiness, and extraordinary flavors his creations exude. A personal choice of mine is the burger steak paired with a medley of corn and carrots. Sagradan, what’s your favorite?
-The Sagradan Jr.