‘Busy’ Is Not An Excuse

‘Busy’ Is Not An Excuse

The F Word: Food By Chef Chris Lachenal

“BUSY!” We hear this a lot or maybe used to? It is not an excuse, we all know. It’s about setting the right priorities at the onset. I also fall into this zone and before you raise your eyebrows or fix that smirk on your face, let me say that I, too, am a Plan A / Plan B kind of person.

Eating vs. work

I follow schedules because it makes things organized. And one thing mostly sacrificed in the life of a person with a busy schedule is food: what to eat and when. Kate, my sister, works from home, as most of us do now, but she gets to touch her meals two to three hours past the regular mealtime. When she eats, she attacks her food in haste because she needs to get back to work immediately.

My former kitchen colleagues and I had been on that same boat back in the day. In the restaurants we used to work in, ironically, sometimes we couldn’t find time to eat anymore. When work was over, all we wanted was to hang our chef coats and call it a day.

I’m glad those days for me are over. Food deserves enough respect and appreciation.  

Quality food within budget

In any job, to be able to function well, one needs to fuel his or her body with good quality food, whether in a budget or not, just as we choose the quality of gasoline we put in our car. In order to provide the right quality meals, some suggest meal planning and prepping. Others even cook once a week to cover their food requirement for the entire week, and to reheat them when it is time. Whatever is best to respond to your needs will work, I believe. 

What I do is maintain an inventory of basic ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator. These basic ingredients are classified as the list below shows.

Fresh goods:

garlic, onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, eggs, pork shoulder, chicken, bacon

Pantry goods:

rice, pasta, corned beef, bottled sardines, evaporated milk, tomato paste, cheese, oil, flour, cornstarch

Main condiments:

ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, liquid seasoning;  and 


salt, pepper, laurel leaf, and star anise

Good components for a lot of use 

With only basic ingredients, here is Andalusia (Spanish Sardines Pasta), a very quick, simple yet delicious recipe from ingredients readily available in our pantry or are easy to acquire.

Until our next recipe! Happy cooking!!!

The following recipe is created by Chef Chris Lachenal and is download- and print-ready.

Andalusia | Spanish Sardines Pasta

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves 3-4


200          gm          Spaghetti or any Pasta Noodles of choice,

                                 cooked according to package directions

                                 and set aside

3              Tbsp        Olive Oil

3              Tbsp        Spanish Sardines Oil

3              Tbsp        Finely Crushed Garlic

½              cup         Chopped Tomatoes 

4               pcs          Spanish Sardines

¼              tsp           Dried Oregano 

                                 A Pinch of Salt and Pepper to taste


In a sauté pan, heat oil. Sauté Garlic until lightly golden then add in Tomatoes and cook until soft.

Add in the Spanish Sardines, coarsely mash while mixing. Season with Oregano, Salt and Pepper.

Add in Pasta Noodles and toss until well incorporated. Transfer to a serving platter.

Top with

4 Spanish Sardines, halved lengthwise

A dash of Parmesan Cheese

Serve and enjoy!

Chef signed

Featured image: Pasta Andalusia photo by CCL

Chef Chris Lachenal strives to elevate Filipino cuisine and revive dishes that are slowly losing popularity. A former chef instructor, he emphasized the importance of understanding the process of things in order to grasp refinement in food. As a chef-for-hire he satisfies his clients, always. He is the creative and passionate soul behind FoodCreations by CCL.

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