Mitzi Ilagan | Negosentro.com
Being a chef doesn’t necessarily mean being in the business for years already and having distinguished restaurants in your locale. Being a chef could also mean braving into a startup and heading your way towards your dreams. Chef Earl Salazar, a fresh graduate of De La Salle-Lipa and winner of some national/international culinary competitions, has proven that even without much experience, you could push through with your passion, even when it’s beyond your plans.
In a spot tucked away in the old streets of Taal, Batangas is a newly-opened café, La Casa Victrola. In case you are wondering, the term “Victrola” was used because the co-owner, Sir Rogie Reyes, said that it is the only café in Taal where a Victrola is safely kept through the years. A Victrola is a vintage talking machine with a turntable and internal horn used in the 1900s. Surprising it may seem, Chef Earl has turned a couple of his plans into reality already, even at a young age. He wanted a little thrill, so he accepted the challenge of putting up his own business as a chefpreneur, rather than follow orders from a boss that he would apply in. It was only last September 3, 2016 that La Casa Victrola Café has opened, but through the idea of Prof. Rogie Reyes, he has been getting into the flow all too smoothly. But as a startup, complications may arise, but still, the café’s going strong with students from nearby schools as their main group of daily customers and some local and foreign tourist. The mainstay staff are only three people, but they all could manage everything inside the café.
As it is located in the heritage town of Taal, Chef Earl and Prof. Rogie have thought about creating a unique menu without leaving the delicacies of the town behind. They took in Tonkatsu, Chao Fan, Carbonara, Churros, and Crème Brule (among others) with Chef Earl’s personal touch. The cafe also serves tapsilog (marinated jerky meat, rice and sunny side-up egg), in which Tapang Taal bought from the public market is used. It seems that the café offers diverse kinds of food in notably affordable rates, but in a way, it’s more favorable than having pasta alone or Frappuccinos.
At the age of 21, Chef Earl is starting to create a name for La Casa Victrola Café as today’s trend makes more hole-in-the-walls and coffee shops pop out of nowhere, everywhere. Along with Sir Rogie Reyes’ expertise, La Casa Victrola Café really could go a long way. Nobody said that the start is the easiest, but in time, the journey of this café could be something Taal, and the rest of the industry, could be proud of.
Photos are from Villajuan Studio.