Cooking with Style series: Tradition with John Carandang

John Carandang prepares a salad in the Culinary Dept. kitchen at the Ocean Campus on Apr. 2 2012, in San Francisco. VINCENT PALMIER / THE GUARDSMAN

The Guardsman

Lucas Almeida


Surrounded by food since he was a little kid, John Carandang has surely inherited his family’s traditions.

His parents, who own a Filipino Restaurant in San Bruno, had wanted him to go into the medical field. Carandang refused to listen to his parents and instead enrolled in the culinary arts program at City College.

The culinary arts program at City College offers him an excellent set of specialty training that includes baking, knife skills, international fine cuisine and much more.


Being professionally trained for what the field has in store for him, Carandang is glad he’s almost done with the program, although he says that “the learning never stops even after school.”


He is now gaining firsthand experience at Benu, a fine dining restaurant located in the heart of the South of Market district. It has a two-star rating according to Michelin ratings. Michelin is an entity which reviews restaurants all over the world, with three stars being the highest rating, says Caradang.


“I do look up to my chef now, Corey Lee,” said Carandang about his experience at Benu. “He’s won a James Beard Award and that is a pretty big thing to us. It’s like the Oscars of food.”

Looking ahead, Carandang says he definitely wants to open a restaurant one day, but for now he wants to travel in an effort to gain more cultural perspectives.

“The world is so big that it sucks to be stuck at one place and just get your perspective of things just as that,” Carandang said. “You can go travel outside the country and you see something in a totally different way, so I guess traveling and absorbing all that culture is key to get where I want to be.”

Before leaving the program Carandang hopes to make the most out of what City College has to offer in his professional career.

“What motivates me is to be better than the people who came before me,” Carandang said. “Just that drive to learn more and do more, work harder. Every day we learn different things and that’s what makes me work hard, just that hunger for knowledge.”

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