If he gets fired from public service, this Cabinet member says he has a fallback: as a barista in your favorite coffee shop.
Saying he wanted to “walk the talk,” Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Joel Villanueva has taken the food and beverage course at the agency he heads, learning the intricacies of serving wine and making his favorite espresso.
“Honestly, I wanted to walk the talk. At the same time, I really want to give dignity to graduates of Tesda—that being a certified tech-voc (technical-vocational training) graduate should not be considered as being just a tech-voc graduate,” Villanueva told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Villanueva, an economics graduate at the University of Santo Tomas who finished a certificate course on Business Administration and Management at Harvard University, took weekly classes with two other trainees for the last three months to finish the food service course.
He was officially certified Thursday afternoon after passing a two-hour practical test.
“I’m really into coffee and wine. I love coffee. Now, I know how to make cappuccino, latte, frappuccino and other frappes,” Villanueva said in a phone interview.
“At least if I get fired tomorrow, I can find a job or have my own coffee shop, restaurant or café,” he said in jest.
The food service course was a challenge, said Villanueva, as it demanded a combination of mental agility and skills to keep up with what the job requires.
“Even in opening the wine, the cork should not pop. It should be opened slowly and the label must always be facing the client at all times,” said Villanueva.
“And you have to memorize the parts of the espresso machine. I also learned how to make art in the foam (coffee froth),” said the official.
During his training, Villanueva was also able to create his own signature coffee, which colleagues dubbed as “DG’s Coffee (Director General’s Coffee).”
Villanueva’s concoction is a sweet mix of mocha, vanilla ice cream, bits of Snickers (chocolate bar), Kahlua (coffee liqueur) and whipped cream.
“I learned that it’s not easy being a Tesda especialista (Tesda graduate) and that they deserve to be respected. I know that there is a stigma that you are just a tech-voc graduate. But that shouldn’t be the case,” Villanueva said.
The official said he hopes to one day serve his signature coffee to fellow Cabinet members and perhaps even to the President.