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Ducasse gets Safa

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Safa Nessmarie Rodas PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ENDERUN COLLEGES

A successful Filipina chef who hails from Maasin City, Southern Leyte, Safa Nessmarie Rodas enjoyed most of her time in the kitchen learning.

Safa, an Enderun Colleges alumna, has been appointed as the head chef of Voyages by Alain Ducasse which is a recipient of the prominent Michelin Plate award for restaurants located at Morpheus Hotel in Macau’s City of Dreams.

When she was in school, training was rigorous and challenging but she explains that the moments where she and her classmates were put to test was a significant factor that pushed them to reach their full potential. “I also greatly appreciated the time I spent learning from our chef mentors in school, their way of teaching and imparting knowledge is very effective. We got to learn things the hard way, and I wouldn’t have it other than that,” she says.

The opportunities for Safa have been rolling continuously. After she graduated, she took her internship at Benoit New York which is a contemporary French bistro by Alain Ducasse. Eventually, she received an offer from the company where she started her professional culinary journey. Safa worked her way through the ranks. She started as a Line Cook, then later on became a Junior Sous Chef and finished her career in Benoit New York as an Executive Sous Chef. She spent almost six years in the bustling city which successfully helped her earn the Head Chef title today.

Surprisingly, Safa’s culinary adventure is not something like a decision she has to make. According to her, “[It’s] more like a path paved for me since I started my culinary journey. I never stopped learning or had a long break since I finished college, basically, I stayed in the kitchen for the past seven years. Things just happened to take its course really fast. I am where I am right now because I’ve put on a lot of hard work and listened to the guidance of my chefs.”

Safa acknowledges her alma mater, Enderun Colleges, which helped her nurture the values of strength and resilience especially that she’s presently working in the international scene. “Chef See Cheong Yan would never sugar-coat anything, especially when talking about the reality of the world beyond the classroom. Our eyes were always opened to the fact that it is going to be difficult and only the brave ones will make it. I am a young Filipina woman, leading a very dynamic and intercultural kitchen team in Macau — already a challenge in itself — but as long as I believe in what I can do, and look back to all the lessons I learned, I know I will get through anything,” she shares.

Being a successful career woman she is today, Safa takes her inspiration from her mentors who have always been there to guide her and push her to become better each day. She has seen them work hard and dedicate themselves to the craft, thus, she is inspired to do the same. Also, Safa gets strength from her family members who have been supportive of her since the beginning of her journey.

Interestingly, Safa encourages the students of today to trust in one’s self and never have self-doubt in order to reach their full potential. “It is going to be hard out there, but never lose sight of your goal especially when the going gets tough. You must also learn to choose who you surround yourself with. Be with people who push you to become better, who inspire and influence you to aim higher.”

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