"When I pour my passion into a dish, I’m inspired by the farmers and producers we have in B.C. who put just as much hard work and hours into growing the wonderful ingredients we can all enjoy."
TJ has a passion for both West Coast and Asian cuisine. His culinary curiosity began with his roots in the Philippines and has taken him as far away as kitchens in Taiwan and Chile. Organic, local and sustainable ingredients are the highlight of his dishes.
After training under French chefs at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, TJ honed his skills at The Arbutus Club and worked his way up in the hotel industry, most recently as executive chef at Delta Hotels Vancouver Downtown Suites by Marriott. He was an integral member of the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel’s opening team before the 2010 Winter Olympics. TJ has executed hotel functions of up to 600 people and as well as elaborate galas for the Japanese, Filipino and French Consulate.
He now owns and operates Ono Vancouver, a kitchen consulting company that helps small to medium scale business food programs. Clients range from breweries and local chain restaurants to startups and charities providing community meals in the Downtown Eastside and the downtown core.
Ono's community involvement
As COVID-19 began to impact restaurants and not-for-profit organizations, Ono turned restaurant and restaurant supplier food stock into meals for laid off hospitality workers. Then, through the City of Vancouver’s COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre, Ono now supplies 1,200 meals a week to: Health Initiatives for Men, Aboriginal Front Door, YWCA Crabtree Corner, Directions Youth Services, Kilala Lelum and Tamura House.
Another community endeavour is LunchLAB, an in-school program that shows kids how to grow and prepare food. When in-class instruction stopped, the partners — Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society, Growing Chefs!, Vancouver School Board, and Ono Vancouver — quickly pivoted to provide more than 5,500 meals a week to hundreds of families that relied on school meals and were struggling to put food on the table due to COVID-19.