Chef Ernesto Limcaco grew up with a great role model in the restaurant industry. “My mom was a dynamite cook,” he says. “She owned two restaurants, one in the Philippines and one in San Francisco.”

But the most valuable lesson he learned from her was not about cooking. “Successful restaurateurs understand as much about receipts as they do about recipes,” he says. “For me, business skills are the most important thing. Cooking is the easy and fun part of running a restaurant, and you can always hire a chef.”

After running his own restaurant for seven years, he now shares his experience in the food industry as Y. Hata’s corporate executive chef, advising other chefs and restaurateurs on how to save money and utilize some of the world’s most innovative food products.

“At Y. Hata, our days are spent training chefs and restaurant owners in the use of new products and showing them the incredible range of time-saving products that are available,” he says. “Imagine every restaurant and sandwich shop with their own freshly baked bread. That’s possible today.”

Working with the city’s top chefs and restaurants is Chef Limcaco’s passion, and helping with menu development and staff training is rewarding for him. From working with the military – “they have the highest standards of food service” – to bringing up a new generation of restaurateurs, his love of food and commitment to his work are evident.

“Food is incredibly important to us all socially,” he says. “When we’re born, it’s the first thing we need. When you ask someone to marry you, it’s usually over a romantic meal. When you die, people get together and eat and celebrate to remember you. Food is such a part of any culture.”

But when it comes to narrowing down his favorite type of food, he says fine dining always will be his first love.

“French food is certainly high on my lists of favorites,” he says.

Don’t Be Tardy For The Party

With the holiday season upon us, we couldn’t think of a better person than Chef Limcaco to ask for advice on hosting the perfect party. Here are his top five party tips:

1. Get Your Guests Home Safely.

It’s a No. 1 priority during the holidays. Either offer a car service or have designated drivers. Or hire a bartender with instructions not to “over-serve” your guests.

2. Take Advantage Of The Amazing Range Of Ready-Made Products Available.

Sous vide, steamable and precooked items – things that you can put in the oven and bring out ready to serve – are extremely convenient.

3. Have A Cheese Board.

It’s easy to assemble, and it’s something that guests can go to before drinks, during the party and before they go home.

4. Don’t stress out.

The main aim of a great party is to have a good time.

5. Use Disposable Stemware.

There are many high-quality lines on the market today, and they excellently mimic glassware and silverware.