Bonami Chili Sauce is our best discovery this holiday season. It is a product worthy of our support as we usher in the New Year. For not only is the chili sauce delicious, it is made with a purpose: to give hope to weather disaster victims, who, since Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” have found it difficult to stand on their own feet.
This sauce tastes very good. It is rounded, full of flavor, spicy enough and accentuates any dish without burning your tongue or robbing the food of its flavor. It is umami-packed.
Bonami works wonders on noodles. It greatly enhances fried rice and is perfect for dim sum. In fact, it goes well with everything, especially when dishes are lacking in taste—a bit of it transforms what was once a bland dish. It is a perfect fit for most Asian dishes.
A spin-off of the delectable XO Sauce, Bonami’s Chili sauce has chili, garlic, fresh scallops and shrimps as main ingredients. It is slow-cooked with oil for hours to achieve depth in taste.
The sauce is the brainchild of Jose Antonio Morente of Roxas City, Capiz. The name is a play of words: Bon ami in French translates to “good friend,” while in Hiligaynon, nami means “delicious.”
Morente has a long-standing love affair with cooking. He started experimenting in the kitchen at age 8 by cooking with whatever ingredients were available in the kitchen. With entrepreneurial spirit, he started an ice candy business during first year high school. He was then 11.
He said he started the small business not to earn but to help augment the allowance of his playmates. In the beginning, there were five of them who made and sold ice candy. It later grew to 20 friends and by that time, he said, “I was also paying their tuition. They were my first scholars.”
He opened a pizza parlor called Yellow Box Pizza 10 years ago in Roxas City. He went on to develop a special product to further enhance the taste of his pizzas. Instead of using commercial hot sauces, Morente concocted his own garlic hot sauce. It turned out to be a most popular condiment for his pizzas.
Constant experimentation led him to formulate a shrimp chili hot sauce and now, the Bonami chili garlic sauce with scallops and shrimps.
Raw materials for the chili sauce are sourced directly from farmers and fishermen. The ingredients are bought for more than the prevailing market price.
He said he had partnered with a village in the municipality of Tapaz to produce the chili. “The cost of chili is P30 per kilo but we buy it at P120. We call it a happy product.”
Bonami is a collaboration between Morente’s social enterprise, barangay-partners and Gawad Kalinga villages.
Morente’s dream is to see farmers and fishermen buy not only what they need but also what they want. He incessantly tells them to produce quality products to ensure that they are bought at a much higher price.
He is also an advocate of changing the attitude of buyers, encouraging them to give farmers the chance to earn more and to give them the dignity of living that they so rightfully deserve.
Morente is slowly guiding the youth in the villages to be aware of the true essence of doing business. It is about helping people find the means to put food on their table, giving them the opportunity to have a decent education, and allowing them access to healthcare.
It is also giving them a chance to help others, to be a trustworthy caretaker of their financial resources as well as the resources of nature. These principles are the driving force of Bonami.
Happy New Year, and may your 2016 be meaningful.
For Capiz orders, call 0917-7178669; and for Manila orders, 0917-5090369.