Chef Abundio S. Baet

Picture
Chef Abundio S. Baet is the sixth of the eleven children born to Felipe V. Baet and Marcelina s. Baet of Paete, Laguna, Philippines. He grew up in a family of farmers (i.e. rice grower, fruit, and vegetable), fishermen, and woodcrafts artists (i.e. woodcarver and carpenter). His family owned a small woodcarving business in the early of 1970’s. Young Abundio grew up in his family business of woodcarving that they sold locally and for exports.  At the early age of seven (7yrs. old) his talent of the arts started to develop, he helped his brothers assisting them with their woodcarving; smoothing up the wood carving pieces called “linis” that his brother started roughly carving called “banhay.” With his large family and little income everyone was expected to work hard. Everyone also must go to school to finish their studies. In the Philippines education is biggest achievement that everyone dreams to accomplish. Well, since Abundio was the middle child from the eleven siblings, he had to wait ‘til his older brother finish school. That chance seems rigidly impossible to happen. His   brother is not really serious of to take he’s studies into his hand, despite of the dream of his parents. That when he completed his studies and get a good job after getting his  certificate of completion, He will be the one to help the younger siblings financially to go to school. Well, that responsibility is a big task for him to bare and for that reason, instead of finishing his studies, he untimely got married and disappointing his parent but most of his entire younger brother specially young Abundio.   

On 1979, his parent took a chance to put Abundio to school, for one more chance to get education and knowledge that can help him do better in the future. He took home honors from schools every year that shows his serious desired and achievements at school. But on 1980, his father was diagnosed of liver decease that put his studies on hold once again. He took over the whole load of work for the whole family, he took care of the rice farm in the day time, and night time, and he would goes fishing, using the old hook trap, called “Karyoka” catching mud fish and cat fish to help financially for daily need at the house. He set a shrimp trap called “Talabog” and fish nest called “Bon-bon” a bunch of water lily together creating  an islands into the lake they call it bonbon because of the shape is like the bon-bon that cheerleaders used, its serve temporary sanctuary for fishes, since sweet water lake has no coral reef, its nature muddy and lot of seaweeds. He also acquired homestead land that Government program distributing to all needy farmers that not owned land of their own.  

On 1982, he went back to school to fulfill his dream to take home a diploma and get a descent job and pay enough to feed a family. Well, he even works harder than before, just to stay on the rail of his dreams. But financially driven school is hard to stay on foot, so he decide to take a little turn, he is having financial difficulties to pay his monthly tuition, so he went ahead and searched for another avenue to finish his High School with no much time. Luckily the Philippine education system introduced Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) which is similar to GED in the US educational system High School Equivalency examination.  He took a chance to take that exam to pass the High School requirement and jump to the College level. Due from luck of financial, he decide to take trades school courses, he took Auto Diesel Mechanic, and Industrial Electricity and graduates with honor in both courses.  From the falling economy of the Philippines at that time, hundreds of graduates stuck with no job. Even you had diploma on your hand without experience you still ended up taking the lowest job you can ever find just to survive.  
 
Abundio with diploma in hand, Auto Diesel Mechanic and Industrial Electricity, had tried to find a job from his hometown up to City of Manila. Due to the falling President Ferdinand Marcos regime, lack of employment and falling economy no where job to be found. He then returned to Laguna and helps his parents with woodcarving business and farming. Then one day, a former classmate suggested that he take apprenticeship training as Kitchen artistry. He later encouraged him to work with him part time in the Hotel in  Manila, thus beginning Abundio’s career in the food and hotel industry. After building his culinary expertise, Abundio decided to take the opportunity to work overseas. For the first time, in July 14, 1986, he flew to Miami to work for the world’s larges cruise lines, as Garde Manger (Pantry man) and Ice Carver. Six month later he became the Head Buffet Man (Chef Garde Manger). This position made him responsible for the cold food operations and production including food decorations and ice carvings. In 1989, Abundio then decided it was time to work on land to be with his wife and prepare for their future family. After trying to find work in the original line of study, he found out that he has no enough experience as auto diesel mechanics and electrician. So he turned back to his culinary expertise and went to work as the Assistant Garde Manger Chef at one of the prestigious four star hotels in Miami. While he still, employed at this hotel he was given the great honor invited by the newly elected Florida Governor Lawton Chiles to make a replica of the Florida Capitol Dome to use in the float and later in the ballroom of the celebration 1991 Inauguration in Tallahassee. Abundio was requested to make it out of the Styrofoam to be displayed at this special event.  

Since then Abundio has worked at major hotels in South Florida as Chef Garde Manger, Banquet Chef, Pastry Chef, Kitchen Manager and Food decorator/Ice carver. His talent and skills in hot and cold food preparation, with talent in ice carving and artistic food decorations have sent him many places other than Tallahassee. He was sent by local hotels and catering to open hotels and restaurant companies to New York, Colorado, Chicago, and other places to help in the grand opening of sister hotels and other major functions. His talent has been seen in Television, magazines and news papers and he has also given many live demonstrations as well. He also won numerous times in competitions of Ice Carving and vegetable and fruit carving.  Many years now Abundio has been working with the Tops Chef in South Florida to catered special events, such famous celebrity. He have never failed to please all their guest to his magnificent decorative plates and flavorful foods, the party is long over but the experienced is remarkably  remembered. This makes him in demand for all such events not only in South Florida, also in other States in the nation. 

Not to mention Abundio is accomplished Filipino Martial Artist. He published the first book ever published in Filipino Art of Wrestling “Harimaw Buno”. He is well known worldwide especially in the US, Germany, Venezuela and Philippines. Currently, Abundio has earned the nickname of “The Iceman” at various hotels, country clubs, and catering companies that he regularly works with. His younger brother, Enrique, Ferdinand and eldest brother Daniel Baet are master carver of their own rights.  Enrique is known to accompany Abundio at times to assist with bigger jobs. (Enrique is a former woodcarver as well is also employed in a Garde Manger position. Abundio is now Available for “Artistic Ice Sculpture” he specialized in artistic food centerpieces including, ice carvings, tallow & Styrofoam sculptures, cheese, vegetable, & fruit carvings. He is also available for live demonstrations, for more info about “Artistic Ice Sculptures” or to speak with Abundio “The Iceman” regarding any of the above mentioned, he can be reached or e-mail gatpuno@aol.com, Pembroke Pines Florida.