‘A chef is more than just the cooking’


Being an executive chef is more than just having the skills to cook delicious food.

This is the philosophy of Aqua Resort Club’s new executive chef Ed Olarte.

“You need to think of what you’re going to present, not only in terms of quality and taste, but you also need to balance your expenditure,” Olarte said.

Ed Olarte is Aqua Resort Club’s new executive chef. Olarte is introducing new items and reinventing ARC’s menu to hook more customers to their table. (Frauleine S. Villanueva)

Ed Olarte is Aqua Resort Club’s new executive chef. Olarte is introducing new items and reinventing ARC’s menu to hook more customers to their table. (Frauleine S. Villanueva)

Just three months after starting at Aqua Resort, Olarte said he already implemented changes in their menu, how they present food, as well as how they run things in their kitchen.

With more than 40 years in the industry under his belt, most of it on Saipan, Olarte already knows what he’s doing working in the kitchen.

Prior to ARC, Olarte worked for Hyatt Regency Saipan from 1986 to 2012. He also worked for a time in Guam and at Coral Ocean Point Resort Club.

In Olarte’s book, the wise way of using food and ingredients is needed.

“You need to present the food good and make use of the ingredients in a smart way,” he said.

One example of this is what Chef Ed did to one of their items for their Seafood Night.

“What I noticed, especially during our Seafood Night, which is really popular, food cost is high. I noticed how they present, for example the smoked salmon, a lot of the food gets wasted,” Olarte said.

“What I did, I presented it in a different way. We used the Mexican fajitas to wrap slices of smoked salmon and cream cheese,” he added.

Another of Chef Ed’s beliefs is that you have to know what the people want—and to do that, you have to really talk to them.

“When there are a lot of customers, I go out and talk to our customers. That’s part of my job, to know what their feedback is regarding our food,” Olarte said.

“What they say, I relay them to my cooks,” he added.

Olarte also believes that the presentation is what really hooks customers to the food first before the taste, so he tells his cooks to present food in the most appetizing way possible.

“I tell them, the customer’s first impression is what you want to get first. Once they enter the room, you have to wow them with how the food is presented and build their appetite,” Olarte said, “Second, you have to get them by the taste of the food.”

To try out Olarte and his cooks’ specialties, dine at ARC Costa Terrace Restaurant where they have special dinner buffets every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Their famous Seafood Night is on Tuesdays and Fridays while Steak Night is on Saturdays. They also have lunch buffets with different themes everyday and special brunch on Sundays.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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