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The road was rough for Chef JP Anglo until the wheels of fate turned, allowing him a payoff both fun and fulfilling

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To mix work and pleasure, it’s what many people want in life but few have that privilege.

Chef JP Anglo

Well, not unless you are Chef JP Anglo, who has a job that allows him to have fun, learn, and, yes, earn at the same time.

JP hosts CNN Philippines’ “Hungry With Chef JP,” a documentary series that combines three of the most-loved leisure activities of every Filipino: Cooking, eating and the beach.

“I would be lying if I say I’m not enjoying myself,” JP said, smiling. “I couldn’t ask for more. Sa akin kasi, life is all about surfing and cooking and to get to do both (means) I’m in a happy place.”

He earned his stripes in Australia for years “as in kayod talaga, no time for leisure, no time for love.”

Making matters worse is seeing the beach daily but nothing more.

“’Yung place of work ko kasi fronts a beach. So, ang hirap. Everyday I’d look out the window and dream of being able to hit the surf. Eh, wala hirap talaga so, sabi ko na lang, ‘Someday…’”

He didn’t know that day would come sooner than he expected.

“When I got here, I was offered a spot on ABS-CBN’s ‘Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition’ hosted by Judy Ann Santos,” he said. “Although I was happy to land the break, I have zero experience pagdating sa TV so, talagang ang hirap ng adjustment like, the first month of the show, hindi ako makapagsalita, wala akong masabi.”

It didn’t help that he wasn’t at all confident being lumped together with celebrity chefs Fernando Aracama and Rolando Laudico.

“Grabe ’yung immersion ko du’n, hindi ako makasabay, I mean I had no confidence at all, whatsoever, ang mga resto ko kasi nasa Bacolod and coming in, I felt like people are judging me na ‘Sino siya?’”

Time proved to be the best teacher and JP eventually got the hang of it.

“I could’ve just given up pero kasi dahil na rin sa experience ko abroad, inisip ko push-push lang, laban.”

Working on “Hungry With Chef JP” is a boon for the young restaurateur.

“It’s up my alley kasi, mas relaxed, laid back,” he said.

More is better

For the second season of “Hungry With Chef JP,” he promises to visit more surfing spots and try on more diverse recipes.

“Mahirap lang kasi, even if in you’re in the best surf spot in the country, mahirap bantayan ang alon. So, hirap kuhanan, pero, of course, we try our best all the time.”

“Ang maganda rito there’s more learning sa season two, like, ako, I learned how to make suman at ang hirap pala nu’n,” he said.

Among other places they visited in the show is Real, Quezon.

“We don’t just go out there, surfing, eating, we get to know the locals, we get to know their stories,” JP said. “It’s really fun because you get to learn a lot.”

So how does it feel landing one of the best jobs on the planet?

“Alam mo minsan I still feel guilty, like parang feeling ko pa-surf surf lang ako,” he said. “Pero I nudge myself and recall the hard times and I just say, ‘reward ko ’to.’”

Catch “Hungry With Chef JP” every Saturday, 7:30 p.m. on CNN Philippines Free TV Channel 9 or livestream on cnnphilippines.com/video. (With report from Jojo P. Panaligan)

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