Enderun Colleges holds Success Series
Enderun Colleges hosted “Enderun Alumni: The Road to Success” at the Enderun Library on July 29, 2016.
The Success Series was graced by five successful alumni of the Colleges, namely Kaye Torres, owner and executive chef of The Palate Restaurant; Micah Lee, owner and pastry chef of Bliss by Micah; Raphael Cruz, owner of Blacksheep, a restaurant, and Tunnl, a bar; Rainier Barbers, co-owner and executive chef of several restaurants, including Tipsy Pig, Moonshine, and The Reserve; and Francis Dolojan, owner of MicroGroup Lending Corporation.
Ms. Grace Figovc, Director of Career Services, hosted and interviewed the five alumni, highlighting their respective successes as young entrepreneurs.
Ms. Figovc kicked-off the event by asking each of the guests what inspired them to start their own businesses. Dolojan said that he sought freedom from the “7:00-5:00” world of the financial industry. It took a blunt ultimatum to finally push Dolojan into starting his own company, “I took a vacation in the States, and when I came back my boss told me that I had to triple my quota, or else I’m out of the company. So I just told my boss then that I’ll just get all my clients and start my own [company] which I actually did.”
For Lee, it was her struggle against her family’s traditional Chinese values that inspired her to build her own business from scratch. She shared that despite her family’s rigidity, it was actually her grandparents who taught her how to move around the kitchen. Coming from experience, she gave a gentle word of caution to the students, “You have to have willpower, and you have to believe in yourself. Without that, you’ll be doomed from the start.”
While self-motivation is enough for some people, it would not hurt to have people to look up to in any endeavor one takes. A discussion on their greatest inspirations in their journeys was a key part of the interviews. Torres talked about how Chef See motivated her. “He’s kind of like our foundation—where we all started… Anywhere you go, chefs will shout at you whenever you do something wrong. Chef See taught us that you just have to work hard and do what you know.”
Barbers shared the same sentiment as he shared how Chef See helped him realize what he really wanted to do. “Like what they said, Chef See nga ano? Because he really saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. He sent me to Paris during a time that I thought I didn’t deserve it.” However, Barbers also looks to his dad for inspiration in doing what he does for a living, “When my dad passed away, I was only 18 [years old]. I didn’t really have anything going on for me during the time,” he said candidly. He thoughtfully shared how he keeps his dad in memory whenever he is creating a new concept, “He will remain an inspiration to me.”
Meanwhile, the guests were also asked about the challenges they faced in their respective businesses. Cruz, whose business transferred from Bonifacio Global City to Makati, shared the difficulties that Tunnl faced when competitors started opening around his business’s area. “We were one of the first Penthouse places with the cuisines and the drinks. After our first year, Gramercy opened—we were still okay. Then, Palace opened, and then ‘yun na.” Cruz also emphasized the seasonal problems that restaurants face annually, “From the months of March to May, while all of you are at LaBoracay, we’re out here dying,” he jokingly said.
Before the series ended, the students were given a chance to interact with the alumni.
Success Series is hosted and organized by Office of Career Services. It aims to bring successful executives and top entrepreneurs closer to students to share tips in their respective fields.