This 19-Year-Old Chef Will Amaze You With Her Cooking Prowess And Impassioned Advocacies
The sweet and poised Louise Mabulo may be young, but she has already had years of culinary experience befitting a seasoned professional chef. We met her at her Culinary Lounge and farm nestled in the small town of San Fernando, just a short drive from Naga City in Camarines Sur. There, she keeps herself busy conducting pastry and cooking classes, tending to her family farm, and working on her various advocacies.
Chef Louise and her homemade Churros con Tsokolate using local cacao
A teen chef
Louise got her start cooking when she was just five years old, helping her parents cook their meals back when they were still living in the UK. Despite having no formal training, she is the youngest person in the Philippines to earn a NCII Cookery Certificate from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). At just fifteen, she graduated from a course on Social Entrepreneurship at the Watson Institute in the United States.
Chef Louise experiments with marinated malasugi or swordfish smoked in apple wood
Her proud parents, Fermin (who happens to be the mayor of San Fernando) and Michelle, have always encouraged and supported her culinary passion. Her dad, a man of few words, and her mom who was all smiles during our visit, expressed their joy and gratefulness for what their only daughter has accomplished and will surely accomplish in the future.
Because Louise was homeschooled, she would interact more with her Mom’s colleagues and Dad’s fellow politicians, moreso than with children her own age. Perhaps that’s why she seems so confident despite her young age, and why she focused on becoming a chef while still in her teens.
With her floral romper and bright sneakers, this family-oriented young chef was all smiles as she welcomed us to her quaint and cheerful Culinary Lounge, with its kitchen and stove counter made from rocks she scrounged from restaurants in Naga City and also outside the country. She showed us her advanced kitchen skills and techniques as she made freshly juiced green papaya, salted duck egg topped with a choice of original and spicy homemade tomato gazpacho, smoked swordfish, churros con tsokolate, and sinuman using ingredients fresh from her farm.
Chef Louise explores her Bicolano heritage through local dishes such as sinuman, made of sticky rice steamed in coconut milk in bamboo, topped with fresh bananas, crushed pili nuts, and drizzled with her homemade local chocolate sauce
A farmer at heart
Chef Louise gave us a tour of her now fully-formed farm, complete with naturally raised pigs, chickens, carabaos, goats, turkey, and even her own horse which she named Scarlett. The turkey was originally a gift to her family during their fiesta. But they refused to slaughter it, and ended up raising more of them. Chef Louise also shares a cute story of how she and her family would name their pigs Adobo, Crispy Pata, and Lechon so they wouldn’t feel too bad when it was time to butcher them for bacon.
Chef Louise with her pregnant horse, Scarlett
Chef Louise and her Dad are very hands on when it comes to their farm animals, even gathering fresh eggs from the hens in their backyard. She loves to be heavily involved in farming, from pruning, trimming all the trees, and taking care of all their farm animals.
As we toured her farm, we felt her passion for sustainable agriculture, fair trade, reforestation, and farming as a means of livelihood. This cacao lover recognizes that farming is very important as the source of our food and the very foundation of our economy. She enjoys talking to the local farmers who she believes are very much underappreciated.
At the age of 18, Louise represented the Philippines at the United Nations 2017 Winter Youth Assembly where she was awarded a Lifetime Fellowship for her efforts in promoting agriculture and sustainability among the youth in her town in Camarines Sur.
The pigs in Chef Louise’s farm eat only all-natural feeds
Up to this day, her credentials still impress and there is no stopping this young master chef. Aside from being an award-winning chef, public speaker, brand ambassador, entrepreneur, agricultural advocate, and graduating student at the University of the Philippines Open University, Chef Louise is still eager to learn so much more about the culinary arts and agriculture.
At a very young age, Chef Louise can inspire others, especially young Filipinos, to follow their passions and convictions, whether in the kitchen or beyond. She is a perfect reminder that anyone can strive to achieve, no matter how big or small one’s goals. We’ll continue to watch out for Chef Louise Mabulo as she makes big strides from her small farm in Camarines Sur.
The Culinary Lounge is located at Zone 5, Barangay Pamukid, San Fernando, Camarines Sur. To know more about Chef Louise’s upcoming activities, visit her official Facebook page.
Photos by Deiniel Cuvin