GErALDO BAlAgtAs
Culinary Institute of Charleston,
Trident Technical College

Geraldo has been cooking for as long as he can remember. “Filipinos, like many cultures, base every part of life around food; preparing it, eating it together.” This is his perspective in regards to his career: everything revolves around food. However, his curiosity of the sciences, and natural mathematical skills led him to take up Nuclear Engineering as a major in college.  And although he did graduate with a Bachelors of Science with a business minor, he supported himself while in school by working at restaurants.  For several years, he was torn between a career that pays well, but doesn't love, and one that invokes his passion and raises his adrenaline. After working in the engineering field for a few years, lost and unhappy, Geraldo jumped at an opportunity to get back in the food service business.  His brother had recently lost a partner in his sushi restaurant, and got the opportunity to run the place with him. He spent the next five years making sushi and managing the restaurant, and when his brother decided to sell the restaurant, they both decided to open a new restaurant, but with a new concept of breaking down cultural barriers while focusing on a globally common ingredient: Noodles.  And so, Noodle Nerd was born... The recipes were good, but it was unfamiliar territory for both of them, and eventually, the restaurant failed.  But he knew this was not the end, Geraldo had just scratched the surface of the culinary world.  This is when he enrolled in culinary school at the Culinary Institute of Charleston where he is currently a senior. Now, he is working as a chef in a residential care facility run by Filipinos that houses disabled people, learning recipes and techniques from grandmothers from the old country. “They grow many vegetables right on the grounds, and there is a sense of a new beginnings there,” Rallee shared.  He also does work for a meal prep business, as an apprentice to one of the chef teachers, targeting clients who are athletes or want to eat healthier for their lifestyle. One day he hopes to operate his own food business again, bringing the new levels of training learned since the last attempt of this feat. Geraldo feels that being a chef is the only career that can satisfy his soul, it’s a job where he can be an excellent example for his son, and it is the only kind of work where he gets to be a student forever.

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