Sunshine Puey went to culinary school at Tante Marie’s in San Francisco in 2001 and Ecole Ritz Escoffier in Paris in 2005. She has been working since with over fifteen years’ experience in the culinary industry abroad and here in Manila.
She was co-founder of the premier degustation restaurant, The Goose Station, and she is the chef and founder of Gourmandise Patisserie.
In order to spend more time with her young children, she decided to redefine her business by selling made-to-order handmade-from-scratch gourmet desserts, party table setups, and different kinds of all-occasion dishes from her home. She also sells kitchen crafts like Unpaper towels (eco-friendly reusable alternative to regular paper towels), aprons, and grocery bags through her online home-based artisan shop, Gourmandise By Sunshine.
Here is Butterflyinthespring’s chat with Chef Sunshine:
How did your interest in food come about?
I grew up in a home that served amazing food by my mom and in a family that loved to dine out all the time. This exposed me to great meals early on in life.
Were there specific persons who inspired you?
My mom was and continues to be an inspiration to me. She is completely self-taught and has a voracious appetite for creating dishes and trying new things. This inspires me in the work I do as well.
Was a career in the culinary industry your first preference?
I never thought it was possible and didn’t consider it at the time. I thought I would be a teacher or counselor. But within my first month in culinary school I felt that I had found my place and what I wanted to do.
What were the greatest challenges you faced in operating a restaurant?
I think the biggest challenge was handling the business side of the restaurant. I went to culinary school and my background is in education. I never took any business or marketing classes and I believe this would have been an invaluable help in running the restaurant or any food business for that matter.
From among the awards/ citations you have received, which ones are most special to you? Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets (MBKRS) Award for The Goose Station and Best Emerging Chefs. Miele Guide ranked The Goose Station in the Top 5 Restaurants in the Philippines. Her Queso de Bola Sansrival and Chocolate Brownies voted in Philippine Daily Inquirer Best Desserts 2016.
What considerations would be important for women before going into business?I think it’s important to know what your priorities are and to outline beforehand how much time you’re willing to give. Assign specific areas of responsibilities and stick to that. When we opened The Goose Station, I was involved in it 100%. But once I started having kids, I basically took a back seat and only gave my input on menu development as I wanted to be home for my kids as much as possible.
How can women equip/prepare themselves for business? As a working mom, you really need to prepare yourself for the time spent apart from your children. That’s my biggest challenge and I suffer from mommy guilt all the time. But I always explain to them how I need to work to support the family.
What mistakes to avoid? Trying to do everything on your own and not taking time out for yourself. Ask for help and assistance when needed.
Most important lessons you’ve learned? Don’t be afraid to change your path when your current one doesn’t work out. When you take care of yourself, then you can be a better mom to your kids.
What do you look for in staff? The most important for me is a good attitude and values. Everything else, you can teach.
What inspires you to do what you do? My kids.
What are your success secrets? It sounds cliche but it really is about keeping faith and trusting in His plan.
Would you consider opening a restaurant in the future when your kids are older?
Possibly, if the stars aligned and I felt that I had the right space, concept, and time.
Instagram: @gourmandisebysunshine or @sunshinepuey