Building the Best Version of Yourself Through Confidence and Courage with Chef Xenna Rivera of KuXenna

by Tram Panaligan

Xenna Marie Rivera, more commonly known as Chef Xenna, is a woman who molded herself to the entrepreneur she is today through the power of confidence and courage. Currently, she is the co-owner and Head Chef of KuXenna, a home-based and online food enterprise that specialises in Japanese cuisine. Her business was founded in the final months of 2018 when a stroke of genius hit her whilst nursing for her newborn son, Brandon. She took risks and it paid off when she received an overwhelming support for her business and has constantly driven her until this day. As her business takes off to new heights, she hopes that one day she will be able to reach the dream of building her very own restaurant. These wouldn't have come to fruition without the help of her mentors at SISFU who inspired her and allowed her to go out of her comfort zone and muster the courage and confidence to take risks.

She graduated from the country’s premier transnational university in 2013 with a Higher National Diploma in Hospitality Management, Major in Culinary Arts under the international partner Pearson Edexcel College in London.

During her time in the university, she shared both the things she loved and the challenges she faced as a student—both of which has built up and transformed her to the person she is today. As a culinary student, she showed grit and passion to excel in her craft. Albeit the tiring nights of meeting deadlines, finishing all her assessments, the tears from the pressure in the kitchen. She believes that all the accomplishments and accolades she has achieved in the university were all worth it. She won a Bronze Medal in the Philippine Culinary Cup (Young Chefs Division) and a Silver Medal in the Manila Food and Beverage Expo (Market Basket Category).

SISFU has indeed helped and contributed to her success today because she has met excellent people and mentors who have created a large impact on her future. She learned through the means of practical and hands-on training, working under pressure, and mastering the culinary arts. Prior to the birth of her business, she also built a career in the culinary field at a 5-star hotel as a kitchen supervisor and earning the title of Commis 3, while also being a loving wife and mother to her beloved husband and business partner, Harold and their first born son, Brandon.

Much like the origin of her name: Xena the Warrior Princess—which was an action fantasy TV series that was popular in the mid-90’s—she exemplified plenty of confidence and courage whilst she was still in the university, when she was building her career and family, and when she started up her own business. Truly, she is an inspiration to us all. For much like the character, Chef Xenna is a hero to many people.

As we wrapped-up the interview, she ended with a few quips and tips to all the future graduates of SISFU and those who plan to pursue higher education there, especially to those planning to take up the culinary programme.

  • “Graduating under the culinary arts programme does not automatically make you a chef, you have to earn the title.””
  • “You have to teach others the knowledge, don’t be selfish. If you’re not approachable people will not look up to you.”
  • “Even if you have a lot of medals and certificates, in the real world no one will count those. They will observe you. Your actions and techniques are more important. If they believe in your skills, you will earn the title of chef.”
  • “There is always room to learn, so never stop learning.”
  • “Culinary arts is very diverse. You can make your own techniques, learn online or from the books, or even learn from traditions. There is a lot to learn in this field.”

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