The Herculean task of feeding hundreds of hungry grown men inside the PBA bubble

Published October 14, 2020, 12:17 PM

by Jeremiah Sevilla

Jean-Louis Leon, the executive chef of Quest Hotel, and some of the food packs he prepare for the PBA delegation. (Photo from Jeremiah Sevilla)

CLARK FREEPORT–Jean-Louis Leon, the executive chef of Quest Hotel, doesn’t mind working extra hours to serve thousands of food packs for the PBA bubble delegation. 

The French chef de cuisine, who works from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., said he and his 17 kitchen staff members are glad they are able to keep their jobs during these uncertain times caused by the pandemic. 

“I think everybody is pleased that we have a job. It has been a struggle for everyone,” said the 53-year-old chef, whose wife Mia serves as the general manager of Quest’s Cebu branch. 

Leon, who has 33 years of experience in the industry, bared they are serving 1200 packed meals each day for the league delegation along with 50 to 100 sets of morning and afternoon snacks. 

Additionally, they are prepping 450 meals for the 150 staff who are also housed in the four-star hotel inside the Mimosa Plus Leisure Estate. 

Every day, they use 100 kilos of meat, 40 kilos of vegetables, 50 to 60 kilos of fruits and 100 kilos of brown rice mixed with 10 to 15 kilos of white rice, as they aim to provide the nutrients the athletes need while also complying with the budget. 

Leon admitted that the most challenging part is having everything packed, as buffet service is prohibited to avoid mass gathering. 

“That’s where you waste a lot of time. We don’t have the manpower. That’s the adjustment on the service part,” he said. 

“The process of work is slightly different. But we adapt.” 

So far, the well-travelled chef has been receiving positive feedback. 

“When I go around I talk to the athletes. So far, there’s really good feedback,” said Leon, who added that they are open for suggestions and requests.