Thursday, September 3, 2009


We all knew (or some of you do not ) that Buddy Trinidad is the Vocalist of the seminal punk band Betrayed but did you know that he is one heck of a mean pastry chef? If you happen to be eating pastry at Starbucks you'll likely had tasted some of his decadent creations. Now ladies and gents kindly read on.

"The fine arts are five in number, namely: painting, sculpture, poetry, music, and architecture, the principal branch of the latter being pastry.” - Marie-Antoine Careme

The Pinoy who cooks for Hollywood stars
By Leah C. Salterio
The Philippine Star 09/18/2004

Madonna, Sylvester Stallone and Rod Stewart craved for his crème bruleé. TV host Arsenio Hall thanked him for his "rockin’ apple tart." Demi Moore graciously affixed her signature to one of his dessert menus. And singers Mick Jagger and Peter Gabriel of Genesis were also bowled over by his sweet concoctions.

Pastry chef Salvador "Buddy" Trinidad, who became famous among Hollywood big shots for his best-selling desserts, is a Filipino. Having worked in popular restaurants in the West Coast like Michael’s, Morton’s and Tryst, Buddy had served an array of Hollywood clientele who were all pleased with his saccharine offerings.

He has cooked for Nicole Kidman, "who came to Morton’s starving after an Oscar night and asked for crab cakes." He’s been greeted with high-fives by first-rate actors Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Father and son Kirk and Michael Douglas sat down for his food preparations and he has witnessed Halle Berry ate at Morton’s open kitchen.

"Morton’s hosts Vanity Fair parties, where actors who are not invited to the Oscars gather at the restaurant to watch the awards night," Buddy shares. "It’s a sit-down, by-invitation-only affair. It is also there where they usually hold the main party after the Oscars, which extends till the wee hours. Morton’s is famous for its parties and its Hollywood customers, because the restaurant values privacy and the stars are not hounded by paparazzi."

Buddy has also cooked for former US Vice President Al Gore, the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin–"who came to Morton’s with unbelievable security, complete with police dogs"–and actor John Travolta. "I’ve never seen anyone nicer than him," Buddy says of the Hollywood hotshot.

However, it was at Michael’s where Buddy’s love affair for Hollywood started. The dining place stands as one of Los Angeles’ best restaurants to date and has been consistently rated by food critics as one of the Top 50 restaurants in the United States. Michael’s was also the training ground for some of America’s great chefs.

Buddy initially worked at Michael’s in 1985 while attending the Los Angeles Trade Tech. He had to forego the traditional culinary institute route and got a diploma in professional baking through a trade school.

"The Center for Culinary Arts is in San Francisco and that was far from where my mom was staying, so I was forced to find a school in LA," Buddy grants. "I took two years of professional baking and while in school, I also took on two jobs. My first real job was at Michael’s, where we made gratins and soufflés from scratch. At night, I had a bread baking job, where I made breads, pies, cookies and quiches. I worked for a minimum of 16 hours, plus four hours in school, so that left me with only four hours of sleep daily."

Michael’s laid the foundation for the knowledge and discipline that Buddy would need to build his successful career. In the posh restaurant, he got to meet Sophia Loren, Gregory Peck, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. When Buddy was promoted as assistant pastry chef at Michael’s, he gave up his bread-baking job. In 1989, after working his way up the ranks, Buddy was sent by owner Michael McCarthy to open restaurants in Manhattan and Washington, DC.

In 1990, Buddy returned to Los Angeles and this time, worked as pastry chef at Tryst, owned by Georges Marciano, the big man behind Guess Clothing. It was at Tryst where Buddy met action star Jean-Claude Van Damme, TV host Arsenio Hall and model Anna Nicole Smith, prior to her Playboy Centerfold salvo.

In 1993, Hard Rock Café founder Peter Morton hired Buddy to head the pastry team at Morton’s in West Hollywood. Subsequently, Buddy was also commissioned by Morton to be part of the opening team for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Having built a solid reputation in the Hollywood food industry, Buddy was lured by James Beard awardee Jeremiah Tower to be the pastry chef of the world-famous Stars in San Francisco, which opened in 1996. Three years later, Buddy had a compelling reason to return to Manila, when Tower offered him to open Stars Restaurant at Glorietta in Makati City, then owned by EJ Litton.

Buddy’s love for cooking – or rather baking – was influenced by his mom, Lolita, "who is an excellent baker." The youngest son of Pasay City Mayor Pewee Trinidad would stay with his mom in the kitchen, while his older siblings went out to play when they were still kids.

"When my mom moved to the US in 1980, I missed her desserts terribly," Buddy shares. "But then, I found her cookbooks and mixer. Slowly, I followed her recipes. I first learned to bake a cheesecake."

Buddy was into his third year at the University of the Philippines, taking up sports medicine, when his love for baking gradually took over his love for sports. He left Manila for Los Angeles to follow his mom – and also his dreams.

Today, Buddy’s baking career has come full circle. He runs and manages Park Avenue Desserts, a commissary for popular restaurants in Manila (Unit C, Zamora st., Pasay City, with telephone number 834-6636). He supplies desserts to Uva, Café Bravo, Dencio’s Bar and Grill, Mama Rosa, Peninsula Manila, Oakwood Hotel, Pasto, Salumeria, Fiorgelato, Red Ribbon Bakeshop, Carl’s Jr., Gloria Jeans Café and even to the US Embassy, plus some restaurants in Cebu. He specializes in truffles and sugar-free cakes and chocolates.

"I create tailor-made desserts that will fit in the restaurant menu," Buddy allows. "I solve the problems and reduce the headache of restaurant owners. I’m a rule-breaker when it comes to cooking or baking. I was not born to follow rules. My cooking is very unconventional. I made all my mistakes in school which, I believe, is the way to do it. Back then, I made breads as hard as stones and éclairs as big as a plate. But with my own dessert company today, I am putting my knowledge and expertise to work. I realized a life-long dream. My vision is to establish Park Avenue Desserts as a premiere dessert supplier."

Buddy also taught baking and patisserie at the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) along Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. Last year, he traveled to France to further hone his skills at the L’ecole du Grand Chocolat Valrhona, where he completed a professional course in pastry and chocolate making.

This skilled baker, who was once part of a band called Betrayed in the early ‘80s, also hosts a weekly radio show, Time Bomb, which presently airs every Wednesday, 9 to 10 p.m. on NU 107. "I play all-punk music in the program, which is the loudest and fastest hour in radio," says the multi-faceted Buddy. "I plan to release an album before the year ends."

Buddy likewise envisions a concept cooking show which he plans to call Unleashed. "It will be a cooking show with no rules, no boundaries. I can do midnight cooking in a bathrobe. Whatever is on your mind you can do it," he says.

Buddy’s other half is Rita, his wife of 12 years now. He met Rita when he was only in second year high school at Colegio de San Agustin. They got married in civil rites in 1992 in downtown Los Angeles. "It was a very unromantic wedding and it was over in five minutes," Buddy recalls. "So when we returned to the Philippines in 1999, we had a church wedding in November that same year."

With a distinguished restaurant pedigree which has satisfied an elite clientele in the US, Buddy now basks on the opportunity to prove his expertise to local food lovers. Behind every luscious dessert is his unbridled passion for his work, coupled with fresh and premium quality products, as well as superb preparations. His growing clientele will simply attest to that.

Mango Madness - voted as number 9 for the 20 yummiest privately baked cakes on the Inquirer

Come-on: A delightful pairing of sweet cream and alternate layers of fresh mangoes in crunchy crust. The oval-shaped cake is utterly elegant (and almost too pretty to eat)!
Cost: P1,000. To ensure freshness, two days’ advanced notice is requested.
Creator: Park Avenue Desserts by Chef Buddy Trinidad
Call: 8346636 or e-mail