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About Chef

Hi, My name is Rob Pengson

Since 2003, I have devoted my professional life to serving customers with excellent cuisine & hospitality. In addition and closer to my heart, changing lives through world-class education.

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Origin Story

Life Changes When We Change.

Rob Pengson's journey began with a challenging upbringing, where he was involved with gangs and frequently encountered trouble. Despite facing difficulties, he pursued education and attended multiple colleges before finding his passion for culinary arts at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 1999. This discovery marked a significant turning point for him. He transformed from a rebellious partygoer into a focused and disciplined chef.

 

At the young age of 21, he achieved a remarkable milestone by interning at a prestigious 2 Michelin star restaurant in San Francisco, where he earned recognition and approval from his head chefs while working at the garde manger station on his own for a time.

He later returned to Manila to find foreign Filipino chef's had very little opportunities. He worked in his uncles cafe, sold food in college campuses, catered in homes and even sold food out of his car. Most of his early ventures failed miserably and it was after 2 miserable years when he finally found his flow.

Chef Life

Never Give Up. Ever!

Chef Rob's culinary journey began in Manila at a time when ingredients like arugula were just starting to make an appearance. The availability of produce was limited, and foie gras was considered a groundbreaking luxury. Despite the challenges, he found inspiration and guidance from exceptional mentors such as Philip Golding, Fernando Aracama, Carlo Miguel, Ian Padilla, Jay Gamboa, Buddy Trinidad, JC de Terry, and David Pardo de Ayala. Their influence encouraged him to pursue his passion for cooking with discipline rather than just fleeting inspiration.

During his culinary journey, Chef Rob crossed paths with his ex-spouse, Chef Sunshine Puey, and was drawn to the degustation lifestyle and approach to cooking. Together, they co-founded The Goose Station restaurant in 1999, which quickly became a prominent player in the restaurant scene for six successful years. However, when his personal life took a different direction, Chef Rob faced the difficult decision to close multiple restaurants simultaneously. Despite the pain and devastation, his love for culinary arts remained unwavering.

The Out Of Place Academic

It's Never Too Late

Chef Rob's path diverged from traditional education as he found himself kicked out of college multiple times, which he humorously acknowledges. However, this setback didn't deter his love for learning and entrepreneurship. He discovered a passion for teaching while instructing at the Center for Culinary Arts Manila and pursued further education by taking an entrepreneurship course at the Asian Institute of Management.

At just 24 years old, Chef Rob founded his first school, the Academy of International Culinary Arts (AICA), followed by the Global Culinary and Hospitality Academy (Global) at 27. He infused world-class standards into Filipino culinary education, resulting in the graduation of over 16,000 alumni from these institutions as of 2024.

Despite not having a college degree, Chef Rob aspires to obtain an MBA or law degree to fulfill his dream of teaching in higher education. To compensate for his lack of formal education, he has undertaken multiple executive and management classes from esteemed institutions like Wharton, Harvard Business School, and Kellogg University.

Today, Chef Rob is dedicated to education, aiming to guide others through their journeys with insights gleaned from his own challenges, failures, and struggles. He hopes to pave a smoother path for aspiring individuals, fostering a more peaceful journey toward success.

Future Focused

Launching Filipino Talent World Wide

Two decades later, Chef Rob has embraced the role of a father to two boys entering adulthood. He seamlessly integrates his fatherly duties with his career and business endeavors. His overarching goal now is to expand the reach of his latest ventures, Aleanza Culinary Institute and Integra Business School, across the nation. By doing so, he aims to provide millions of Filipinos with access to cutting-edge, world-class education and career-to-business service and solutions so that thousands more can flourish beyond he has produced for himself.

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