Former Mariana Resort & Spa chef Rico Delos Reyes continues his passion for whipping up good food after opening D’ Chef’s Kitchen at Kada Dia in Susupe.
“We opened our food stall because we wanted to give our customers another place to get good food at affordable prices,” said Delos Reyes in an interview with Saipan Tribune.
A graduate of the Northern Marianas Trades Institute, Delos Reyes last Sept. 6 opened D’ Chef’s Kitchen, which is a snack bar that specializes in shawarmas, burgers, chicken burritos, fried chicken wings, siomai, shanghai, fish balls, tacos, onion rings, kikiam, and pasta dishes.
“I’ve been in the food industry for two decades already. I worked in the Middle East then came to Saipan and worked for Mariana Resort until it closed in 2018. I took up a culinary course at NMTI to develop my skills and get more knowledge of the culinary industry,” said Delos Reyes, who is a native of Antipolo, Philippines.
As for the bestsellers, Delos Reyes said their shawarma appears to be the most popular. “Our shawarma is different from other shawarmas on island because we marinate our meat with 13 different kinds of herbs, cook it slowly in a slow-turning spit or shawarma machine, then top it with our signature sauce.”
Hasmin Tana, D’ Chef’s Kitchen communication officer, said Delos Reyes chose Kada Dia because of the location. She also said the idea of opening a snack bar at an “everyday market” is appealing because the setup is guaranteed to generate a lot of foot traffic, considering it’s also next to the U.S. Post Office.
“Aside from us, there’s also 11 more stalls selling different stuff, [ranging] from food [and] drinks, to accessories, etc.,” she said.
Other bestsellers are its Chef’s Burger and Aloha Burger, according to Tana. “D Chef’s Kitchen is different because we use our own sauce for our specials. We also have a variety of affordable snacks they can order for takeout.”
D’ Chef’s Kitchen is really Delos Reyes’ passion project. “It’s really Chef’s Rico’s idea. The kitchen is his comfort zone. He has more than a decade of experience working in a hotel kitchen setting. He wanted to share his passion and love for food to our friends and customers and having a place to do that is his dream come true…hence the name of our store,” said Tana.
Rather than deter them from opening D’ Chef’s Kitchen, COVID-19 actually spurred them to open the snack bar as soon as possible, Tana said, since they know that affordable and quality food is what the public yearns for in a time of crisis.
“Our snack bar is just open for more than a month and since we started during the pandemic, we are working based on the ‘new norm.’ I can’t really say how COVID-19 has affected us. …in a way, this pandemic actually inspired us to open the store,” said Tana.
As far as following the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force’s guidelines, D’ Chef’s Kitchen fastidiously adheres to the 3 W’s—wear, wash, and wait. “We always wear masks and we remind our customers to put on their mask while ordering. …We always wash our hands and we make sure to sanitize our waiting area. We also provide sanitizer and alcohol to our customers. …We also have signs to remind our customer about social distancing while ordering and waiting for their orders,” Tana said.
D’ Chef’s Kitchen is open from Monday to Saturday, 10am to 7pm. For more information, call 588-CHEF or 588-2433 or reach them through their Facebook page: D’ Chef’s Kitchen.