CHEF IN COMMAND: Chef Christine and Chef Benjamin Gonzales of John and Yoko
Chef Christine Nicole Nicolas
A very familiar name in the list of today’s new breed of restaurateurs, she graduated from the Center of Culinary Arts in Manila, and continued her studies at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, U.S.A. Her first work was with her family business, the renowned Red Crab Seafood and Steaks. At present, she is the corporate chef and part-owner of SumoSam Group of Restaurants (SumoSam Steaks Seafood and Sushi, John and Yoko Cosmopolitan Japanese, Marciano’s Pizza Pasta and Steaks, Mr. Kurosawa Euro-Japanese). She is capable of managing multiple restaurants, and at the same time, she manages all the food cost, labor cost, and profitability of the company. She is in command of the research and development, menu innovation and food styling. It is the best of her interest to travel around the world, to attend food tours and to continue bench marking outside the country.
Chef Benjamin Gonzales
The executive chef of the SumoSam Group of Restaurants (SumoSam, John and Yoko, Marciano’s, Mr. Kurosawa), he has gone a very long way in the restaurant business. From his humble beginnings working as a kitchen helper at Ray Mariz Catering Services from 1978 to 1982, he further acquired more exposure in the industry by joining the famous Furusato Japanese Restaurant as a server and eventually as a cook, from 1985 up to 1993. In those years, he became the head chef taking charge over the branches at Roxas Boulevard and Glorietta. Concurrently, he managed to take the same position as head chef at the Zen Restaurant. In 2005, he became part of the SumoSam family, continuing to explore and extend the boundaries of Japanese cuisine, passing on the knowledge and expertise to subsequent generation of aspiring chefs.