Before Achieving Fame, This Celebrity Chef Was A College Dropout – Thrice!

You may know Chef JP Anglo as one of the judges in MasterChef Philippines, a reality competitive cooking show aired on ABS-CBN. He’s been on the spotlight since then, rubbing elbows with celebrities in the local showbiz industry.

Unknown to many, JP has had his share of ups and down himself before achieving fame. In fact, he admits that he has been kicked out of college thrice during his days as a student.

Photo credit: Seabiscuit Films
Photo credit: Seabiscuit Films

So yes, this celebrity chef once attended three different colleges with different majors. Obviously, his parents weren’t happy about it. “The third time I got kicked out, my mom gave me an ultimatum,” he recalled. “Get my act together or I’m going back to the farm,”

That was the time when he decided to pursue his passion of cooking.

The Bacolod-native enrolled in the Center for Culinary Arts, a school in Quezon City, Metro Manila and that became the start of a colorful lifelong career.

“I’ve always believed in learning all the basics,” JP said. “I’ve worked for free in many restaurants just to get the experience, and all my head chefs in my restaurants in Manila were my dishwashers in my restaurants in Bacolod. It humbles you, and gives you perspective on what your job really is.”

He focused on his craft and he eventually managed to work in Australia. After his stint there, he returned to Bacolod and established his own business – a Chinese-themed restaurant.

Photo credit: Spot
Photo credit: Spot

JP admits that his time as a TV judge helped him gain some popularity. Despite that, he says things did not automatically become easy for him.

He declared “I was just thrust into television. Most of the time, I had to pinch myself to check if I’m not dreaming. I kept asking myself what was I doing here. But no one really believed in me, because no one has tried my cooking yet.”

With the help of Tracie, his sister, JP now runs three branches of his Sarsa restaurant in Metro Manila. Again, things didn’t exactly go smooth for him.

“I was rejected many times; even the business plan for my Taguig branch wasn’t accepted during my initial try,” he tells. “But you have to put your head down and your chin up. I love food, and I love cooking. It’s the one thing I know I can do really well.”

As we can learn from JP’s story, persistence truly pays – especially if you are genuinely passionate about what you’re doing.