In their loving home in Orani, Bataan, it was Chef Heny Sison’s mother who first taught her how to work the kitchen. But more importantly, it was through her experience at home where she realized that food, indeed, tasted better when made with love. She began whipping up delectable dishes and desserts at a young age, making friends immediately fall in love with her signature blueberry cheesecake and her luscious chocolate cake.
In college, Heny attended the University of the Philippines, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science and Political Science. She worked in a bank and then a government agency for some time, but decided afterwards that she wanted to shift gears and pursue her love for baking instead. She took culinary courses under Tess Isaac, Sylvia Reynoso-Gala, and Avelina Carbungco-Florendo, and by 1985, had found herself conducting classes as well. She eventually flew to Woodridge, Illinois, to complete courses at the Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionary under Sandra Folsom, Marie Grainger and Wesley Wilton himself.
“Always find time to learn more about your craft. Be persistent about striving for excellence, and continue to broaden your culinary horizons.”—Heny Sison
Heny came back to Manila afterwards with a renewed inspiration. Here, her eye for cake decorating was recognized by a clientele of high-profile celebrities and the elite, who fell in love with her elegant style and flair to make their dream wedding cakes come to life. She eventually hosted, “A Taste of Life”, one of the longest-running cooking shows on televesion at that time, on air for more than seven years, reinstating her status as one of the country’s most respected culinary authorities. In 2006, she earned the distinction of “Certified Culinarian” from the American Culinary Federation, and has achieved the elite status of “Pro Chef Level 1” from the Culinary Institute of America.
Aside from maintaining the recognition of being one of the country’s premier cake designers, Heny keeps busy with a number of projects: She recently authored Naimas! The Food Heritage of Ilocos Sur (2015), a specialty book on indigenous culture and cuisines of a key region in the Philippines. Heny is also sought out as one of the industry’s top food stylists, doing work for numerous TV and print commercials. She continues to pen a column entitled “A Taste of Life” at the national broadsheet, The Philippine Star. She is also an endorser for San Miguel Pure Foods products, Petron Gasul LPG, and Avoset Pour N’ Whip non-dairy cream. In addition, you can find her at her bakeshop, the Heny Sison Desserterie, located at the Victorino’s Restaurant in Quezon City, of which she also co-owns.
What keeps Heny Sison busy is the constant thirst to be inspired—personal growth is what compels her to expand her knowledge. She enjoys traveling to many places, scouring for new things to adapt in her kitchen. “It is in my travels where I get much inspiration. It is good to embrace cultures and cuisines that are different than yours.” And in all of her journeys, the best part of it all is being able to give back, by passing on the knowledge with people just as passionate.