A Day in the Life of a Chef: Gab Bustos of The Girl and The Bull and 12/10

January 13, 2020

“If you look at my day, it’s quite different from other chefs,” Gab tells me in between buying some ingredients for his restaurant. Gab Bustos and Thea de Rivera, who both run The Girl and The Bull and the recently opened 12/10, have become prominent figures in the local restaurant and entrepreneur scene not just for their young age, but also for the innovations and care they give in the food they serve and prepare. “We’re very hands on when it comes to running our business. Just yesterday, we spent the entire day buying all kinds of supplies,” he recounts. For this piece, we caught him and Thea on a relatively quiet day; at least at first, before the night brought them to a full house over at 12/10. “That’s where the real work starts,” Thea tells us.

Before heading over to their second restaurant, however, Gab and Thea also make sure to visit The Girl and The Bull. Their day officially starts at around 11am or 12nn, since their hours over at 12/10 usually end way past 12 midnight. “We’re not morning people,” Gab admits. Thanks to ensuring a smooth run during its first few years, The Girl and The Bull now only needs minimal supervision from Gab: “I just check on the kitchen staff and service, but they can usually run things on their own,” he said.

On a Friday at around lunch time, their space down south is quiet, but it allows Gab time to brainstorm new menu ideas, check on the kitchen staff, and catch up with everyone else at work. In between, the two sneak in some date time at lunch before getting into the thick of the Friday dinner crowd at Makati. The restaurant opens at 5pm, but they need to arrive at around 4pm to check on all the prep. “Since 12/10 just opened, we’re still really busy developing the restaurant and attending to its growth,” he shares. See how the day unfolds for the bull and his girl below.

First Stop: The Girl and The Bull


Gab plates an order of Buttermilk Fried Chicken.


Gab and Thea catch up with the staff of The Girl and The Bull.

Lunch and Coffee in Between


The two grab lunch at Sensei Sushi; Japanese food is one cuisine Gab will never grow tired of. Their usual orders: Grilled Salmon Skin Maki, Tuna & Crispy Scallop Dynamite, and Tijuana Maki.


“Your day doesn’t start until you have some coffee,” Gab told us before going to Magnum Opus.


Gab and Thea grab some coffee at Magnum Opus and catch up with Jonathan Choi.

The Night Begins and the Day Ends at 12/10


Gab speaks to some of his bar staff while the customers are still few at 12/10.


Gab throws himself in the kitchen of 12/10 as the dinner crowd increases by the hour. He usually shifts between the bar or the kitchen, depending on wherever he’s more needed.


Gab slices up salmon for an upcoming order of blowtorched salmon.


The fish is blowtorched before serving.


After seven hours in the kitchen and attending to customers, Gab and Thea take a short breather before cleaning up the restaurant.

How did you imagine a chef’s day would be like? Would you like us to feature anyone in particular for another photo essay? Sound off in the comments section below.

Gela Velasco Gela Velasco

Gela is a young adult slowly settling into her late twenties. She likes to make a mess in the kitchen when no one’s looking, dance till dawn on long weekends, and dream about beef on lazy afternoons. On some days she learns how to write good in graduate school. Her life goals include sashaying somewhat like Beyonce and to write a cover story on Leonardo di Caprio.

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