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July 30, 2020

Meet Cristina. Fearless leader, outstanding cook, and winner of our coveted Most Passionate Chef award. She won this award for the pride she puts into her craft and for her passion to help people around her succeed.

“I’m here to grow and develop others. It’s what makes me happy.”

Cristina is the Partner at Piada Gahanna in Ohio, but she has not always lived here. In fact, Cristina grew up in the Philippines and spent lots of her time working in her family’s restaurant where she learned to cook. Working alongside her parents and grandparents planted seeds for a successful career in hospitality and a lifelong love for cooking. Rice, adobo and chicken afritada are a few of her favorite meals to prepare for friends and family.

“Every time I cook and see the smiles of those I’m serving, it feels like an accomplishment. Because I grew up around food, serving and cooking techniques come naturally to me."

After graduating from college and earning a nursing degree, Cristina moved to the United States and decided to settle in the Midwest. She wanted to live where it snowed as she had never seen it before. After living Chicago for a few years, she moved to Columbus to be closer to family.

“I love Columbus because the community is open-minded and diverse. You see people here from all over the world, and it feels somewhat like home.”

In Cristina’s spare time, you’ll find her and her husband exploring nature, shopping, hanging out in coffee shops, and spending time with their friends. Most recently, Cristina has rediscovered her love for cooking.

In the restaurant, Cristina is passionate about developing leadership skills in her Team Members. She takes special care to nurture them and foster an environment for personal and professional growth.

“Strive to make the people around you better and you will be successful. Being a manager is about building people up and helping them realize their potential.”

Looking forward, Cristina aspires to be a Regional Training Chef where she can share her leadership development skills on a larger scale.

“I always tell my Team: ‘the way you do anything is the way you do everything.’”

If you see Cristina around town, be sure to give her a crisp high five and a pat on the back for all of her hard work and accomplishments. If you’re looking for a career with huge growth potential, head to!