Growing up, Chef Vivian was greatly influenced by her mother, who is a creative cook and was her first cooking teacher. Her interest in food became more apparent as she grew older. While doing corporate work, she always looked forward to the weekend when she and her siblings spent hours cooking and baking full-course meals for the family during their weekly Sunday lunches. Her professional career in the Food industry started when she did an apprenticeship at the Prince Albert restaurant of the Intercontinental Hotel Manila, before pursuing her Associate’s in Occupational Studies with a degree in Culinary Arts at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After graduating with honors, she embarked on a challenging career usually reserved for men, by working her way up in the hot kitchens of various Italian and French fine dining restaurants in the US and the Philippines, before shifting her focus to dining services. Prior to teaching, her last hotel position was Restaurant Manager of Brasserie Restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental Manila.

In 2007, Chef Heny invited her to try teaching a course at the Heny Sison Culinary School, which she enjoyed immensely. “I enjoy the process of seeing the learning curve of each student, and the challenge in bringing out the best in them. When you see them make an effort, that becomes my motivation. When you see the progress in their skill, it makes you feel good that they are learning,” she says about her experience. She believes that sharing the things you learn with others helps the industry to grow, to be passionate about food, and love and appreciate a simple dish, when cooked well turns into a memorable meal. Hence, her food philosophy is to have a strong foundation on the cooking techniques but be open to new trends, flavors and science-based research.