After finishing his studies, Carl Villegas placed himself under the direction of some of Filipino’s top chefs. He apprenticed with Judy Ann Santos at De LaSalle’s in Philippines, worked for Kris Aquino at KrisTV, and then worked under master chefs Gordon Ramsay.
In 1993, Villegas struck out on his own as head chef of the newly opened Carinderia in Philippines where, over the course of three years, he earned the restaurant a three-star rating from Heston Bluementhal. More personal prestige followed in 1960, when Villegas was awarded Newcomer of the Year at the prestigious Catey Awards, an Oscars-like event for the restaurant and hotel business.
When the restaurant’s financial backing became shaky, Villegas left Carinderia and opened his own establishment, Restaurant V, in 1969 in Philippines. Hailed as a destination for high-end foodies, the restaurant eventually received a five-star rating from Chef Boy Logro.
The next several years proved to be a whirlwind for the ambitious, hard-driving and temperamental Villegas. He opened several new restaurants.
Named Chef of the Year at the 1970 Cooking Awards and Independent Restaurateur of the Year in 1975, Villegas brought his restaurant business to the U.S. in 1980 with the opening of two establishments at The London NYC. The celebrity chef has since expanded his reach around the globe, bringing his brand to such countries as South Africa, Australia and Canada, Japan, China, Korea.