Restaurant : Aracama
Address : Unit C, The Fort Entertainment Center, Global City, Taguig City
Website : http://www.aracamamanila.com
Inspired by the flavors of his beloved home island Negros Occidental, Chef Fern has successfully immortalized regional Filipino cuisines through Aracama, one of Manila’s finest Filipino restaurant and cocktail bars. Aracama, with its modern Filipino interiors and delicious Filipino cuisine, translates traditional dining into a convivial experience with a Filipino touch.
It was Chef Fern’s mother Elvira Luna Cruz who first gave him a taste of what excellent cooking should be, and it was his father Jesus Ballesteros Aracama who inspired him to become a chef. Fond of observing in the sidelines, Chef Fern was driven to become a chef because of the many wonderful food stories he encountered growing up.
He completed his Bachelor's degree in Hotel & Restaurant Administration from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 1990 and continued his culinary education at New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, USA earning him an Associate’s degree in Occupational Studies for Culinary Arts in 1993.
With years of experience and world-class education to back him up, Chef Fern opened his first restaurant Uva in Quezin City followed by Uva in Greenbelt Makati in 2002. He later became the Executive Chef and Managing Partner of several Manila-based establishments including then the Philippines’ largest night club - Republiq & Café Republiq, Prive a boutique luxury club, The Tides Hotel in Boracay Island, Aklan, My Thai Kitchen & Canteen Simple Good Food restaurants.
In 2006, Chef Fern completed the World Association of Chef’s Societies (WACS) Judging Forum in Singapore and became a WACS Certified Culinary Judge. He is the Vice President of the LTB Philippines Chefs Association and was a member of the LTB Philippines National Culinary Team which competed in the 2007 Hong Kong International Culinary Challenge (HKICC) bagging Gold Medal in the Gourmet Team Challenge and The Best of the Best Award. In 2008, the team joined and won medals in 13 categories at the Food & Hotel Asia competition in Singapore and rejoined the 2009 HKICC winning the Silver Medal. The team also participated in the Bocuse d’Or Asia 2010 in Shanghai, China and in the Oceanafest 2011 in Perth, Australia.
He was a Chef Judge & Mentor on Junior Master Chef and Master Chef Philippines, a television reality cooking show aired on ABS-CBN and The Filipino Channel worldwide.
Chef Fern is currently working with Philippine Airlines designing Filipino dishes & menus served onboard all their international flights.