Ask most people how they spent their school holidays as a child and the common response would be watching cartoons or kicking a ball around with friends.
For Sunny de Ocampo, however, it was cooking school.
“Instead of a seven-year-old going to summer camp or basketball camp, my mum would send me to cooking school,” he said.
From an early age, it was quite apparent a career as a chef as Sunny’s destiny the charismatic 40-year old was literally raised in a kitchen.
Born in the Philippines to a family of restaurateurs introduced to a commercial kitchen by his mother at a very young age.
When Sunny was I5, the family moved to Perth Western Australia were he’s dream of becoming a chef would be realized.
“I always dreamt of seeing the Western chefs in checkered pants, white jackets and tall hats as Hollywood,” he said.
So passionate about his craft and eager to be taken as an apprentice, Sunny would “wag” school and work at various restaurants to gain experience.
“That is how I got my apprenticeship in Parmelia Hilton Perth – perseverance and hard work”
After completing his apprenticeship in Hilton, Sunny marched on to 44 King Street, where he worked under David Coomer & Russell Blaikie. Armed with Australian Certificate and cookery knowledge Sunny would go on travel adventures and knock on various kitchens in around the globe visiting neighboring countries for more taste, flavours and textures to experience.
Another string to his bow.” I wanted to learn about working on the floor service and I did waitering for a year and learnt all about wine so it was good to learn about both sides of the restaurant,” he said.
With the opening of The Globe, Sunny was tempted to move back to what has become his “second home” appointed as head chef at Parmelia Hilton “Globe Wine Bar and Restaurant where he was taken under the wing of that famous crusader of “world food” Master Chef Cheong Liew. “He was a mentor to me and I always said to myself that I wanted to be like him one day,” he said.
Sunny’s cooking philosophy mimics that of his idol Liew, with a respect for classical French technique combined with various cultural influences, including Asian and Mediterranean, and a dislike of monotony.
With the allure for more culinary adventures, Sunny has cooked and consulted many kitchens in Spain, China, Japan, USA, and South East Asia to add to his culture of cuisines.
“Being Asian, I use this to my advantage as I grew up with the flavours and I know which flavours to Incorporate when approaching so-called fusion dishes,” he said.
“I love to take a classic dish and add a modern touch… It’s the year 2015, after all, and we need to set trends In the cooking world.”
With 26 years of professional experience now Sunny passionately promotes his ‘eatgoodlife’ philosophy, an encapsulation of healthy eating in a fun environment, sharing his knowledge through cooking shows and classes, demonstrations, and exclusive catering services, He also consults, his services sought locally and overseas.
His teaching inspires and his enthusiasm is infectious.
Are you hungry? Excellent…
Just what Sunny wants to hear!