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Tatay Hector: Most Valuable Cook

a feature story, behind his success

By Camille DellosaPublished 27 days ago 3 min read
Tatay Hector: Most Valuable Cook
Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash

Some people might say that cooking Filipino dishes is as easy as counting 123, but for Hector Reyes known as ‘Tatay Hec’, long-standing cook and father figure of Harris Memorial College, cooling our national cuisines tales more than a mixture of herbs and spices—it is a recipe of hardships, grabbing opportunities, and kitchen opportunities.

Tatay Hector is one of the best school staff at Harris Memorial College who makes every Harrisian smile and a joyful tummy with his flavorful and warm dishes.

Early years

Before being the ‘Taytay Hec’ of HMC as we know him, he was humbly Hector Reyes first. He is originally from Pandaca, Manila. He studied at Manuel A. Roxas High School and later took a vocational course in Culinary at Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology. He went to a lot of jobs in Manila and along the journey, he met different personalities.

Tatay Hec had a lot of friendly, obviously because of his personality. Together with one of his friends, they established a shop, which is Tatay Hec’s first, in the year 2000. He was known as the Hector, the great cook, because of his Pancit Con Lechon meal.

Unfortunately, because of financial conflicts, their shop closed. Tatay Hec stated that even if you deal with those people nicely, it is the money that matters most for them in the end.

Moving forward in his career, he met a new friend who lives near the town plaza. Together they raised a small restaurant that will later be famously known as ‘budburan’ These glory years span from 2006 to 2009. They served the kitchen for several years until they became a catering service which was named ‘Shiela and Hector’s Catering’. But then again, financial conflict came to their business, which forced Tatay Hec to move out from it. Then, an opportunity came for him to open his own business inside HMC, which he instantly grabbed without any second thought.

Life as a School Canteen Caterer

When Taytay Hec learned that the elementary and high school canteen of HMC was still vacant, he immediately created a business proposal. It was HMC’s accreditation at that time, which was the reason why his food was accepted to be served to the students of HMC. He started in June 2009.

People say that Tatay Hec’s best dish is his classic adobo, but he doesn’t rank any of his dishes as the highest but rather considers them all as “the best.”

Moreover, Tatay Hec admitted that he likes a business environment with competition. He said that this pushes him to be more crafty and more determined as a businessman in the food industry. Competition makes someone more aggressive, he claimed. He also said that he would like to open a stall in a famous mall’s food park someday as he likes the competition there.

In addition, being meticulous and delicate with his dishes, he knows how to properly serve his people, unlike other big restaurants that will seemingly lie to you as a new consumer.

“Maraming kainan na ganyan lang ang pakay, yung pera. Tapos ‘di nilalagyan ng pagmamahal o aruga yung mga tinda nila, wala,” Taytay Hec shared his difference to big restaurant in the industry.

Lastly, Tatay Hec strongly believes in the notion that never deceive your customers just for monetary gains. He had an experience in a famous lechon restaurant where he paid for the food, he ate but did not receive fair service. For him, if you are in the food industry, you cannot fool your taste buds with what is delicious and what is not.

These philosophies are what make up the head cook that HMC knows today as Tatay Hec. There is no perfect recipe for being successful. Just like any dish, success is a step-by-step procedure—a process of sautéing your plans, seasoning them with your mission and vision, and finally, garnishing them with your passion. It’s not just the food that makes Tatay Hector remarkable, but rather it’s also his warm personality that made him.


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Camille Dellosa

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Camille DellosaWritten by Camille Dellosa

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