Innovation, reinvention: How we built ‘The Sexy Chef’

Rachel Alejandro

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Performer and entrepreneur Rachel Alejandro on the process of lovingly creating her and her family's endeavor, The Sexy Chef

NEW MILESTONES. Rachel and Barni on the set of ‘The Sexy Chef,’ a new cooking show on the Colours channel

Have you ever had a “light bulb” idea? At least once in our lives we’ve all experienced a blinding flash of creativity, a stroke of genius, also known as a “Eureka!” moment. 

Ten years ago, I felt like I was hit by lightning when I watched the controversial documentary Super Size Me by American independent filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. As some of you may recall, the film exposed the harmful effects of eating unhealthy food as the director experimented on his own body for 30 days, eating nothing but meals from one of the world’s biggest fast food chains. The result? He gained almost 25 pounds and was diagnosed with fatty liver disease after just 1 month!

I then thought to myself — what if I created a food business that did just the opposite? What if my sister Barni (who was just studying to be a chef at the time) and I could make nutritious meals as accessible as fast food for people in Metro Manila?

EMPOWERED WOMEN. Talent manager Girlie Rodis, Cristalle Belo, Ann Arias, The Sexy Chef marketing manager, Rachel and Women's Health Magazine's Lara Parpan

Wouldn’t folks choose to eat what’s good for them if it was as easy as just getting them delivered daily? Beyond that, we could potentially transform the lives of overweight individuals by giving them a fighting chance at getting back to health. 

That simple idea gave birth to our health food delivery service The Sexy Chef. We started out as a mom-and-pop operation with just Barni cooking in our grandmother’s kitchen and our aunt delivering the meals using my car. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since then and boy, what a journey it has been.

Last March 20, we held an event dubbed “In The Pink” for our 10th year anniversary as well as the birthday of my manager and dear friend, Girlie Rodis – a double celebration of good health and countless blessings.

As what always happens at these things, the whole time Barni and I were on our feet giving interviews to the press, attending to celebrity friends and making sure everyone was taken care of. But at one point, our eyes met and unspoken words were exchanged between us: We are so very, very grateful for everything. 

FAB. With the resident food coach of The Biggest Loser Philippines, Nadine Tengco- co-creator of The Sexy Chef's diet plans

The crowd cheered as we announced that on our 10th year, we have been gifted with not only a best-selling book – The Sexy Chef Cookbook, but also with hosting a brand new cooking show premiering on Easter Sunday on the Colours Channel of Cignal Digital TV.

It’s ironic that in 2004, I had just gotten my US residency and was in the process of migrating to New York to start a career in theater there. Back then I was burnt out, feeling the need to reinvent myself and grow as a performer.

ARTISTS. Rachel with OPM icon Celeste Legazpi singing a duet at the 10th year anniversary party

The plan was that after I gave Barni the capital and helped her get the business off the ground, I would move to the US for good. I left for a while and came back. As John Lennon would say, life is what happens to you while you’re making plans. The Sexy Chef gave me a new reason to be excited again.

Today, I still think of myself as a singer first and foremost, but I’m surprised that my business has made me evolve into something much more and quite different from what I expected. 

At a recent meeting, a colleague pointed out something that never occurred to me before: The Sexy Chef is led by females – my mom, Barni, me, and an entire management team made up of strong women. Of course, we wouldn’t be where we are without our cooks and delivery staff who are almost all male. I don’t know if that means anything, but it was just interesting to note that fact. 

Proud to be part of a new generation of empowered Pinays, we struggle every day to be better. We’ve come a long way since our humble beginnings in our grandmother’s kitchen. But you know what? I feel like we’re just getting started. –

Rachel Alejandro is a singer, actress and entrepreneur. She recently co-authored The Sexy Chef Cookbook with her sister chef Barni Alejandro-Rennebeck, now available at National Bookstore outlets and at Follow her on Facebook and Twitter  @SexyChefRachelA 

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