Restaurateur Aris Solante ascends in wine and dine scene
By Deneb Batucan
COMING from humble beginnings, one man comes home from an incredible journey that has left him with so many priceless experiences and lessons. He has sailed to so many amazing places and has been exposed to the best of the best, and now Aris Solante comes home and shares with Cebuanos his five-star journey through his newly opened restaurant.
Aris was born in a small town in Leyte where most of their source of income was fishing. Early on, he developed his love for the sea and had dreamed of becoming a seafarer. But like the seas, tides turn and opportunities come differently.
Aris lost his father at a young age, and as the eldest of four siblings, he reluctantly took charge of the helm along with his brother and his mother, who practically raised him and his siblings by herself.
In college, Aris took up electronics and communication engineering in Cagayan de Oro where he was sent to live with his father’s siblings. But unfortunately, due to financial reasons, he had to stop. He came to Cebu to apply for jobs and worked as a sales agent for a telecom company. To make ends meet, he also sold different products like soaps, detergents, etc.
Aris decided to go back to school while working, but soon realized he was already left behind by his batch mates who were already earning while he was studying. He decided to shift to a shorter technical course and took up a stewardship course in the University of Cebu, which he finished after a year. It was the first time he was exposed to hospitality training where he learned cooking, dining service, housekeeping, and among others.
After graduation, Aris tried his luck in Manila and working for a hotel in Makati. After six months there, he was offered to apply as a butler at the Amanpulo Resort, one of the most lavish resorts in the country. He went through a series of interviews until he was invited to go under a one-month training in the island and eventually became a regular employee there.
Being at Amanpulo for three and a half years trained Aris to work in different aspects of the hospitality industry. It also opened more doors for him, which led him to his yachting career.
Working in a yacht was a different experience for Aris. He had always wanted to become a seafarer, and it was a fusion of two worlds that he loved: the hospitality industry and the sea.
Lady Luck may have done her hard work in Aris’s life, but it was his perseverance and passion that led Aris to tour the world from Europe to South America to Southeast Asia, soaking in different kinds of cultures and getting exposed to prominent people and learning more and more about his chosen career.
Being exposed to the five-star life has bolstered his self-confidence and excitement towards his work, Aris said. “It exposed me to different people and I learned how to deal with them. I understood a lot on how to deal with food and appreciate every ingredient and every dish. I learned on how to run a successful kitchen and dining service and added my knowledge about wines,” he shared. “And it excited me a lot to thinking, what if I open my own restaurant back home to apply all these things I learned during my whole career?”
And two years ago, these thoughts were put into action. While Aris was still abroad, he asked his siblings to scout for good locations to put up a restaurant. He called up his former colleague from Amanpulo, Chef Rosstan Binuya, and asked him to be his partner for this new venture.
Last May 28, Brio Wine and Dine opened its doors to the public. With Chef Rosstan’s expertise in Italian dishes and Aris’s exposure to French and Mediterranean cuisine, they decided to have a mix of those cuisines in Brio’s menu. Brio offers high-quality service and five-star dishes, all in very affordable prices. “It’s five star for less,” Aris said.
Learning is sharing
Having the restaurant has been very gratifying for Aris. As a person who loves to share his learnings to other people, he poses as an inspiration to his staff, giving the guidance and helping them achieve their goals, just like the many people who helped him to become who he is today. “I want to do the same for them,” he said.
As a restaurateur, one needs extra attention and care towards the business. “You need to have a very good standard on every detail and you have to maintain that standard every day, in every food you cook and in every customer you serve. You have to be consistently good,” Aris said. “It’s a challenge to learn to maintain that control in every aspect of the operations.”
As Aris settles down in his home country, he wishes to become successful as a restaurateur as he has been in his previous career. He hopes to open more branches in the metro and hopefully in other cities. And with his great work ethic and passion for what he does, it’s safe to say that Aris is definitely on course.
Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome
Grooming: Jerwin Bastatas and Carlo Damolo
Locale: Brio Wine and Dine