“What I’m most proud of is not having quit yet.  I know now that I can handle the stress and pressure of working in the kitchen.  I know I can make my own dishes, and I can create Filipino-inspired menus and serve it in this type of restaurant.”

Camille Cadiz emigrated to Hawaii in 2009.  After 20 years of petitioning by her grandmother, Camille, along with her parents and siblings left the Philippines in hopes of a better life in Honolulu. 

“My inspiration comes from watching my dad cook.  He was a farmer, and he would cook for our family using what we grew.  I remember helping him in the kitchen butcher chickens and ducks.”

As she completed her degree in Culinary Arts from Leeward Community College, Camille started as an extern at Alan Wong’s Honolulu.  She started as a prep cook with a single goal in mind – to improve her knife skills.

“I had heard about the standards at this restaurant.  Having good knife skills shows perfection and discipline to have a sharp knife all the time.  It was about improving myself,” she says.

After graduation, Camille stayed on and became a full-time cook, eventually moving from prep to the night line. 

“I wanted to know what I was capable of,” Camille explained.  “I wanted to know more about myself.  I didn’t think that I could work in a restaurant because I’m a girl, and I’m physically smaller than everyone else.”

In her nearly three years with Alan Wong’s Honolulu, Camille has advanced to become an Assistant Sous Chef, and she has been a part of four Next Generation Dinners.  Most recently, Camille’s solo Next Generation Dinner showcased her ability to produce her own five-course prix fixe menu inspired by her Filipino heritage.  Her parents enjoyed her menu featured at Alan Wong’s flagship restaurant.

“If I could give any advice to a culinary student, I would tell them not to stop believing in themselves.  Go for it.  It’s good to be scared because it can give you motivation to accomplish your dreams, and it’s okay to make a mistake as long as you learn from it.”