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Cyrus Caclini & Dexter Nguyen, Sous-Chef and Cook at Kata Robata

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Culinary Institute LeNôtre Alumni are incredibly successful.

Photo of Cyrus at work.

Cyrus Caclini is from the Philippines. He graduated twice from our school, and during the time he was taking classes at CIL,  he trained in many restaurants in Houston, such as Noé Grill located in the Omni Houston Hotel, Soma Sushi, or River Oaks Country Club. Today, Cyrus is Sous-Chef at the famous Kata Robata restaurant.

Dexter at work.

A few months ago, our current student Dexter Nguyen from Saigon, Vietnam, followed Cyrus’ path and began working at Kata Robata’s kitchen. Dexter will graduate from Culinary Institute LeNôtre on Friday, December 18th, and we his career continues to flourish as it has.

WATCH CYRUS & DEXTER REPORTAGE BELOW

Name Cyrus Caclini
Hometown Philippines
Current City Houston
Course of study Culinary Arts
Year of Graduation 2005 diploma & 2009 associate

“I like to think of myself as a problem solver, which comes in handy at the ever-busy Kata Robata. Here I have learned so much more than just cooking, I have been educated on the business side of business as well, from food costing to ordering and beyond. These are skills that will serve me for my entire career.”

Cooking octopus on the range.

“After graduating from Culinary Institute LeNôtre, I began working as line cook at Noé Grill restaurant in the Omni Houston Hotel. I was one of the cooks that prepared the meticulous tasting menus at the noted Fusion restaurant. Here I worked with Executive Chef Robert Gadsby and Chef de Cuisine Mike Potowski, whom were always my biggest influences, teaching me many skills and how to work efficiently even without the head Chef there. Chef Mike taught me kitchen confidence, how to work with a team but also how to be an individual in the kitchen.

After three years, I wanted to challenge myself to learn a new cuisine and decided Japanese food was my next culinary hurdle. I followed Chef Gadsby to Soma Sushi, working there while studying at LeNôtre.

Plated chicken skewer dish.

In August 2009, I found another opportunity and moved to River Oaks Country Club. I worked as both line cook and banquet cook. At the Country Club, I worked all of the stations, including A La Carte, Buffet and Banquets. Working all the stations was an invaluable learning experience, I learned a great deal about banquets and to trust my instincts in the kitchen.

In May 2012, I was excited to have the opportunity to join the Kata Robata team and work with award-winning Chef Hori. I was hired as Sous-Chef and given the task of overseeing the hot side of the kitchen under Chef Hori’s supervision.

Seasoning a rice dish.

At Kata, I helped developed some of the dishes, such as lobster bisque ramen, duck dumpling ramen, pork ribs, halo halo (a Filipino dessert), miso-marinated lamb, to name a few. I feel proud to be helping to further the “Kata Style”, which is refined but not too fancy; simple yet elegant and always evolving and seasonally appropriate. Chef Hori allows me to be very hands-on and to develop the hot side of the menu. He or I come up with ideas for dishes, develop them and taste them, and together we refine and perfect the dishes for the menu. I appreciate the freedom he gives me and the confidence that he has in my skills.

Dexter and Cyrus cooking together in the food truck.

I like to think of myself as a problem solver, which comes in handy at the ever-busy Kata Robata. Here I have learned so much more than just cooking, I have been educated on the business side of business as well, from food costing to ordering and beyond. These are skills that will serve me for my entire career.”