Rolando De Guzman - Executive Chef at The Resort Restaurant
I’ve travelled to many places in the world, but nothing compares to the beauty of what Saskatchewan has to offer. From the places to the people, something keeps me coming back and wanting to explore it more. My travels around Saskatchewan have me wondering, who are the people behind the hidden gems of Saskatchewan?
When I was young my family and I went on a camping adventure to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park on the Saskatchewan side. Now as an adult I decided to travel back and rekindle the memory of camping there as a youth. Part of my journey now is to get to know the people who make Cypress Hills great that you might not know about.
Part of the Cypress Hills experience is dining out and tasting some of the unique restaurant menu options in the area. I found myself at The Resort at Cypress Hills and enjoyed a Bison Burger at Ivan’s Restaurant. After, I got to meet up with Rolando De Guzman, Executive Chef and heard his story.
“I love working here. My passion for cooking keeps me excited each day and challenges me to create great dishes,” he says, when asked about his experience of cooking at The Resort at Cypress Hills.
“I am originally from the Philippines. Friends of mine that work and live in Saskatchewan encouraged me to come here. I did some research and applied online for a position at The Resort at Cypress Hills. I’m not getting any younger, just trying to live my life to the fullest and to me that means getting to work in Saskatchewan.”
From that entry-level position, over his seven years working at The Resort, Roland has transitioned into the Executive Chef of the restaurant.
“Cypress Hills is unique to me. It’s a different culture with different food ethics. I found I was challenged to cook outside of my element.”
Rolando reflected on growing up in the Philippines, he didn’t have a chance to work with the types of meats or ingredients that are local to Saskatchewan.
“I try to mix my personal background of cooking western style food. You have to be creative in this industry. When people come from all over to Cypress, they find this is their favourite place to dine because of my creative food choices. When they are done and I see the smiles on their faces, I know they are leaving happy. Means the world to me.”
Working as the Executive Chef Rolando has the freedom to play with the menu each week. They have signature dishes which are comfort foods, and they have a special menu of everyday features which are more unique as he personally creates them for the restaurant.
“I personally spend time experimenting with creating unique dishes. I found my passion for this when I was working in Dubai alongside Chef Gordon Ramsay for fine dining. Having worked with many celebrity chefs in my time has prepared me for this opportunity to showcase my talents within Saskatchewan.”
His personal goal is that families can come in for food that is top quality, great quantity and good value for money.
When I asked him what inspires his passion in this career he reflected on how his brother was a great influence in his life.
"My brother was a chef in hotels and I learned a lot from him. He encouraged me to push myself to go abroad to meet new people and learn new cooking skills. My brother was a big help pushing me in life.”
“My favourite part of being a chef is feeling like I’m not at work but just playing with my passion everyday. Without passion you have nothing. I want to make the customer happy and make them smile. I feel like I do just that.”
Motivated by his words, I asked what advice he has for others looking to start a career just like him, “Work hard and put some passion into pursuing your dreams.”
There are many opportunities to work at Cypress Hills Provincial Park in any field. From a seasonal position to more long term options you will find them here at the website below: