Meet the Chefs: Charina Cano

Meet the Chefs: Charina Cano

Ms. Charina Cano, otherwise known as “Ms. Cha” or “Chef Cha” is the Sr. Food Researcher and Demonstrator at the Maya Kitchen. Aside from being an expert Chef, and primary instructor of the Maya Kitchen’s Basic Culinary classes, Ms. Cha is also the leading personality in cooking demos for TV shows, print media, roadshows, and other events which require her mastery of cooking.

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Ms. Cha’s earliest memory of falling in love with the culinary arts was when she was around 10 years old. She picked up a box of MAYA Butterscotch Brownies from the grocery, and decided to try her luck in baking a batch of Brownies. It was an instant hit! Her family loved it, and showered her with praises. More importantly, she felt really good about being able to make something delicious using an ordinary toaster, a bowl and mixing spoon, and of course theinstructions / recipe at the back of the MAYA box.

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Although her introduction to kitchen work started with baking, it was cooking which eventually fuelled her passion and desire to build a career in the food industry.

Ms. Cha’s mom was into food delivery and catering, which gave Ms. Cha hands-on experience and exposure to the different aspects of running a food-related business. She helped with the groceries and “pamamalengke,” where she learned about cost vs. selling price, haggling, and the importance of having a “suki” that knows what you want, and can give you the best price for it.

Image title With her “suking” baker at the Maya Kitchen, Chef Elvie

Once the “pamamalengke” was done,  Ms. Cha would still help in the kitchen, chopping vegetables, marinating meatand preparing the “ulam” for the day. Her job was far from over since they still had to sell the food, and deliver it to theirhungry and loyal customers.

In the year 2007, Chef Cha decided that she wanted to be a part of the Maya Kitchen staff. However, the only position available was as an Administrative Assistant. Chef Cha grabbed the opportunity right away, and true enough, was able to work her way to the kitchen, where her heart belonged.

Image title Chef Cha with the Maya Kitchen staff during last month’s Cooking for Couple’s dinner

This break happened when, as Admin Assistant, she was asked to host a food demonstration in the public area of a popular mall in Makati, in front of a very large audience. This was admittedly, one of the most nerve-wracking moments of her career, but she was able to pull it off with flying colors!  And as they say, the rest is history.

Chef Cha’s advice to other passionate culinary and baking artists out there:

  1. Always use quality ingredients. Do not sacrifice taste for price.
  2. Don’t limit yourselves to just cooking or baking. To be successful in the food industry, you need to know several other aspects of running a kitchen and a restaurant. You should be prepared to do everything yourself, from management, to accounting, to sales, to marketing, and even delivery, if needed.

Interested in learning from Chef Charina Cano? Visit and register for the nextBasic Culinary course. For more information, call 892-5011 loc. 108 / Mobile Num: 0947-835-2290 and 892-1185. You may also send an email to [email protected] or message us on Facebook at

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