Caring for people and cooking for people run in harmony for Chef Isabel T. Ronquillo. A passionate character who deeply cares about both people and what she presents to them on the table to eat and enjoy.
Starting her career as an emergency nurse in Manila in the Phillippines, Isabel changed tack on her vocation when she arrived to her new home of New Zealand in 2011. Here she study cookery in Auckland and by 2012 she was working at the 5-star Sofitel Auckland hotel under the guidance of kiwi Chef Scott Brown of famed eatery, Fishsmith.
Chef Isabel devoted four years to Sofitel where she learned, developed and refined her craft before moving with her family to Rotorua. In this charming central North Island city, Isabel found success at Skyline and then at Treetops Lodge and Estate. Here she was able to indulge her passion for foraging, using indigenous ingredients, butchery and sowing her own seasonal vegetable garden.
“Food is a gateway to a deep human connection. It invokes memories and creates new ones. It gathers people together and connects them. This is what drives me and keeps me passionate” Isabel muses enthusiastically, “I know this is cliché but for me it’s all about the aroha.”
Isabel is excited for her new adventure heading up the Barrel & Co kitchen at Pullman Rotorua as their new Executive Chef. Chef Isabel looks forward to welcoming guests and introducing them to her heartfelt cuisine that showcases the best of NZ’s fine produce.