Chef Monique Santua
If you walk into a Filipino household, one of the first questions you will be asked is, “Did you eat?” Any answer you give to this question will be irrelevant because there is no determination as strong as that of a Filipino woman trying to feed you. You will end up eating 2 meals and taking a doggie bag to-go. Food, in my culture, is how people show love and I’ve found it’s one of the best ways to bring people together regardless of race, ethnicity, or language.
Born in the Philippines and having moved to the Houston area at a very young age, I was and still am obsessed with food. Even when I was a child, my favorite game was making play food out of leaves and twigs I found outside. I started learning how to cook at age 6 from my mother and uncle. Really, my whole family learned from my grandmother, who had spent her youth learning how to prepare authentic filipino food in professional kitchens. Over the years, I've worked in several restaurants, from the front of house to the back of house, and ultimately decided the restaurant world is not for me. At that point, I found a personal chef and mentor who helped me garner the confidence to start my own personal chef business. That's when I decided to launch Gastromonique in 2017.
My world has since been a kaleidoscope of culinary exploits including: growing Gastromonique to service hundreds of Austin families, spearheading the Austin Fermentation Festival, serving on the board of Les Dames D'Escoffier, an international philanthropic organization supporting women in the culinary, hospitality, and beverage industries, and showcasing the freshest finds at Texas Farmers Markets at Lakeline and Mueller as a Market Chef and Marketing Coordinator. The relationships I've formed with the farmers and ranchers at our local markets has has had a profound influence on how I see food and source ingredients. My dream is to help make delicious global inspired meals sourced from the highest quality local ingredients more accessible to the every day family.