A tribute to my two moms

Rachel Alejandro

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A tribute to my two moms
'We wouldn't be who we are today as people if not for our two mothers'

Once upon a time, in front of their lola’s dresser mirror, two little girls held hair brushes in their hands like mics and pretended to be hosting a TV show. They would lose track of time and happily sing and dance all afternoon.

The annoying older sister often bullied her much smaller, soft-spoken sibling out of the frame because she wanted to be the star. Little did the ate know that one day they would in reality have their own TV show — but it’s the younger sister who would be the main attraction while she would be a mere sidekick.

As you can guess, I’m referring to myself and my sister Chef Barni Alejandro-Rennebeck. Tonight, our very own cooking show “The Sexy Chef” is premiering on Colours on Cignal Digital TV. And yes, I am her assistant in the kitchen.

Barni poured her heart and soul into creating the recipes. A writer helped us organize our thoughts into a working script but our director, Juan Naval, who is incidentally an old schoolmate, gave us the freedom to come up with our own lines and tell our unique story.

During the shoot, we began to see the show evolve into so much more than just healthy cooking. Although it wasn’t our original intention, the show also became about our personal experiences with food and — of course — the two women in our lives who gave us the passion for it: our Lola Nena and our chef mom Myrna. In many of the episodes, we found ourselves talking about Lola and Mom as we introduced each recipe. After all, some of our best childhood memories are of them and their labor of love in the kitchen.

Rachel and Lola Nena

If you mention to my Lola that your kid knows how to do this or that and is advanced for his age, she will be very quick to boast that I was singing in tune and enunciating very clearly already before I was 2 years old. I remember that in my great grandmother’s house, she would put me on top of the dining table, making it my stage with a spoon as my mic. Neighbors would watch me perform from the street through the open window as our family gathered around.

The very first song my Lola taught me was Pilita Corrales’ “Kapantay Ay Langit”. She would curl my hair just like her idol Shirley Temple so I was always in rollers around the house. It was no wonder that by the time I was 8, I could sing and tap dance just like the child superstar.

Between Barni and me, I’m the one who’s a spitting image of our mom. But she was the one who inherited my mom’s strong, feisty personality, and also the talent as a chef. I cook well, too, at least according to my husband, but there’s no discipline to it. I just like to throw things together in a pot and play around with the ingredients. Being a true chef requires dedication to excellence and attention to detail. Not only that — one must never stagnate. Both Barni and our mom are always taking cooking classes here and abroad. The passion for learning is what I admire about them.

Despite the fact that I’m awkward with new people, the moment I step on a stage, I transform into a completely different person. I become “Rachel, the Performer” — confident and unstoppable. Lola taught me that.

Barni and I wouldn’t be who we are today as people if not for our two mothers. Today, I just wanna give credit is due. Happy Mother’s Day, Lola and Mom. We dedicate our new show to you! – Rappler.com

Rachel Alejandro is a singer-actress and co-owner of health food delivery service The Sexy Chef. Catch her in concert at Salon De Ning at The Peninsula Manila on May 17, 9 pm. She will be at Glorietta Mall Makati today at 4 pm and at Marquee Mall in Pampanga on May 16 for The Sexy Chef Cooking Show/Cookbook Tour. Visit www.thesexychef.ph for more details.

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