Meet the Chefs: Elvie Ibale

Meet the Chefs: Elvie Ibale

Elvira M. Ibale otherwise known as “Ms. Elvie” is no stranger to those who have passed through the doors of The Maya Kitchen. Ms. Elvie is a regular fixture in Basic Baking along with Ms. Rory Subida, and handles courses specific to baking such as: Basic Cakes, Beginner’s Cake Decorating, Fondant Making, Bread Making, etc…

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Her love for the culinary arts started way back in college, where she discovered the joy of seeing the smile on her family and friends, whenever she would prepare dishes and desserts for them. This love for cooking and baking led her to a journey which started from being a Kitchen Custodian and Kitchen Helper in 1999 to becoming Lead Instructor of Baking, Culinary, and Lifestyle classes at The Maya Kitchen.

An extraordinary cook in her own right, Ms. Elvie, however, found baking as her point of interest, and it soon became her passion. She recalls the first time she was asked to bake something professionally, and deliver to a client — Dusit Hotel. They were just simple brownies, but at that moment, she knew she had found her purpose — to go forth and bake!

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One of the bi-monthly Basic Baking classes at the Maya Kitchen.

From that year on, doors were opened for her to enhance her skills inside the kitchen, and eventually she started teaching and handling her own cooking and baking classes. “I prefer to teach baking rather than cooking, but I can teach cooking too,” she interjects. Her favorite cakes are Caramel Crunch Cake and Gateau Sansrival, which she considers her signature recipe.

She honed her basic know-how, and technical knowledge from hands-on experience, and from all the chefs she has worked with throughout the years. “Noong bago ako, sunod-sunod ang seminar ng cooking and baking. Kasi sa isang araw, puro cooking and baking ang klase. Sino ba ang hindi mahahasa dun?” says Ms. Elvie. (When I first started, we had cooking and baking seminars, all day, everyday. Who wouldn’t sharpen their skills with that?)

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Ms. Elvie is all business during classes.

She particularly credits three Maya Kitchen Chef Instructors as major influences — Maria Eliza Herradora (baking) and Imee Borres & Catalina Latina (cooking).

Being her first job in the field of culinary, Ms. Elvie has nothing but high regard for the Maya Kitchen. When asked about her experience there, she proudly says, “Worth dying for, kakaibang adventure!” (It is worth dying for, a different kind of adventure!)

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After classes is another story.

It really is an adventure since apart from teaching, she also has other duties such as supervising interns and kitchen staff, administrative work, and of course, cooking and baking when special requests arrive. This means that she has to be ready for anything. “On the spot i-elaborate na lang kung ano ang kailangan, tapos gawin.” (You find out what you need to do at that moment, and you just do it.)

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The lovely ladies of the Maya Kitchen.

Ms. Elvie considers having “long patience” as the greatest lesson the Maya Kitchen has imparted to her. This is especially true when training OJTs or other new teachers and cooks. “I am a little bit strict because I want them to learn. It is always my aim to teach them proper ways. But I am a lot loose after class. I bond with them and share my life to them,” she confesses.

Having spent so much time in Maya Kitchen, Ms. Elvie has had many memorable experiences, both from students and colleagues. “Sometimes we cry, make mistakes, but we learn from them.”

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Ms. Elvie with her partner in gastronomy, Ms.Charina Cano.

What she loves most about her work: Everything. “Kapag ‘di mo naman naibigan, ewan ko lang. Di ko ma-describe… na kahit hindi mo feel, parang ginagawa mo pa rin.” (If you don’t fall in love with the work here, then I don’t know what else to say. I can’t describe it… even when you’re not in the mood, you keep pushing forward.)

Other passions that Ms. Elvie keeps herself busy with are crochet making, collecting old pictures, and making photo albums. Her parting words to us, “Be happy with yourself. My inspiration is my mother, and the people here at Maya Kitchen.”

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