First Gourmet Academy
Our Faculty
Thomas Paul

Thomas finished his apprenticeship in 1981 as a cook and moved from his home town to Frankfurt. There he started as commis de cuisine at the Hotel Intercontinental. A year later he had to join the German Army where he was elected to cook for the troops, stationed in Canada. After he left the Army he studied and became a certified instructor. After achieving that Thomas moved to Berlin where he continued his culinary carrier as Chef de Party at the Forsthaus Paulsborn in Grunewald. From here he worked his way up as private chef and was in charge of events for high ranking officials like Presidents and other celebrities at this time. After operating his own restaurant for two years, he decided to migrate to the U.S.A. Thomas started as a Sous Chef at Treasure Island, Las Vegas and worked his way through hotels like Bellagio, Mandalay Bay and the Mansion at the MGM Grand. Thomas was after a few years called to Miami Beach to open a Hotel named The Shore Club and was working there with top chef Nobu Matsuhisha. After spending many years in America he got approached to work for a company in Afghanistan. Thomas was working as a dining facility manager serving 10 000 soldiers a day and managing 140 employees. Currently, he is a full-time Chef Instructor at our Academy teaching anyone who would want to enter the field of culinary arts.

Chef Mats Loo
Mats Loo

Having begun his career at the tender age of 14 in his native Sweden, Chef Mats entered another stage in his life when he founded First Gourmet Academy with his partners. As an instructor, he is recognized for his strong grasp of culinary fundamentals and global standards, a result of honing his skills in several Michelin star restaurants around the world such as the Villa Källhagen in Stockholm, Westra Piren in Gothenburg, Sweden and Le Meridien in Piccadilly, London. At the Restaurant Akademin in Sweden, he worked with academic head to offer further educational courses for restaurant professionals. He then mastered the nuances of mass production, purchasing, food chemistry, and international flavours working as an Executive Chef in several cruise ships for 10 years, including the M.S. Endeavour and The M.S. Polaris. He shares his knowledge and passion with future culinary artists through his First Gourmet Academy classes.
Marie Bonus

Marie Bonus has been a baker and an artist by heart since her grade school years. Growing up, she has excelled and pursued her passion for both crafts by first finishing off in college with a degree in Fine Arts and later took on the challenge of getting her diploma in Pastry Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Her combined passion for both arts has opened a lot of opportunities for her to enhance her expertise under her work experiences at renown restaurants and patisserie shops such as Financier Patisserie, David Burke at Bloomingdales and the world class restaurant Nobu, all located in New York City.
Chef Emy Ramos
Ziggy Zegunial

Asian Cuisines as well as healthy food and nutrition are something that Ziggy knows a lot about.

Ziggy has been in the profession for almost 15 years working for Philippine Airlines as one example. His work at Philippine Airlines Inflight Catering developed his skills in preparing special food, based on different diets, wellness and balanced meals as well as individual preferences. He has also done a lot of consulting jobs working for Asia Pacific and the Far East Hotel Consultancy company. His culinary Career also took him to South Korea as well as Vancouver, Canada to work for a well known Korean International restaurant chain which specializes on the standards of fast food business and franchising. Ziggy is at the moment handling our Asian cuisine courses as well as courses that are focused on healthy food.
Romy Mercado
Romy Mercado

Growing up in the industry and investing time in the family bakery business for 27 years, Romy Mercado understands that today’s food business goes beyond kitchen knowledge and skills. Future culinary entrepreneurs also need to know how to manage people, control costs, make financial projections, market restaurant concepts, and more. From the time that his family opened their first shop in Quezon City to its growth into more than 100 stores locally and in the US, Romy has experienced critical situations in different aspects of the business, particularly management and marketing decisions. Raising the bar of excellence on the education and culinary side, First Gourmet Academy students are fortunate to witness firsthand the fountain of knowledge stemming from his experience.
Dennis Nakpil
Dennis Nakpil

As a start-up entrepreneur who started a successful food operation specializing in Filipino comfort food and evolving into a family style fast food outlet serving a steady stream of loyal patrons at SM Mall of Asia, Dennis Nakpil understands that with the complexity and broad scope of today’s foodservice industry needs competent workers, managers and owners who can will lead the way in the future. Dennis himself has been a leading entrepreneur with extensive experience in the business of food, co-venturing into Filipino casual dining with a novel relaxed dining concept that spawned 18 stores all over the metropolis, Tagaytay and Baguio. It is this very spirit of entrepreneurship and professionalism that Dennis imparts to First Gourmet Academy students.
Daisy Marquez and Manfred Luig
Daisy Marquez and Manfred Luig

Manfred Luig & Daisy Marquez are an amusing couple whose differing personalities are fused by their mutual fascination and passion for wine.  With the combination of their backgrounds, he with his European roots that tightly embrace wine culture, and she, reared in the ways and tastes of Asia, they bring a balanced perspective to wine appreciation and enjoyment. Their wine classes educate without imposing, provoking thought, challenging mindsets, but always with the aim of leading others to discover their own wine passions. Manfred and Daisy's wine classes are a guided journey of discovering, knowing, experiencing, and delight. Currently, the couple runs a wine business which affords them the opportunity to travel to wine regions in search of surprise finds, and to exchange notes with men and women who dedicate their lives to the art and science of winemaking.
Jim Araneta

Jim Araneta is one guy who knows his beer. His passion for this choice beverage led him to establish one of the leading beer distribution companies in the country. His love of this ever popular drink started during shared moments with his grandfather over a six-pack. He has researched and studied extensively on this drink and works with chefs and restaurateurs in the country for beer and food pairings. He imports beers mostly from the US and Europe, and continues to explore and discover different beer products in his travels abroad.
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First Gourmet Academy
Capitol Green Street, Capitol Hills Drive
Old Balara, Quezon City, Philippines
+632 951 1687
+632 951 9655
+63 908 259 2639
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National Restaurant Association