Preparing home-cooked meals has become a luxury. Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, Bryan Ong and Jeremy Slagle, all of whom have families, would know.
“As working parents ourselves, we find it challenging to put real food on the table for the kids and ourselves—and we’re chefs. What more for people who don’t have a background in cooking?” said Slagle.
“My mom friends would complain about cooks and help who leave. Or, they call to ask for tips on what to cook for their families or what baon to make for their children. Some are simply frustrated about cooking,” said restaurateur Ongpauco-Tiu, mom of four.
Her single friends are no different, as they just buy easy, microwaveable dishes or dine out because they really don’t have time to cook.
“Our priorities have changed, and it is becoming hard to find a family member who can labor all day to prepare food for the whole family,” said Ong.
Taking all these factors into consideration, each had come up with easy-to-prepare, restaurant-quality dishes that guarantee satisfying meals at home in a jiffy. The food can be stored for months but are preservative-free.
The dishes in Ongpauco-Tiu’s Mom Made line are thoughtfully prepared in small batches to promote proper food handling, then blast-frozen before delivery to preserve the quality, as well as eliminate any chances of bacterial invasion.
It has three categories: homemade specialties like glazed baby back ribs and cornflake chicken drumsticks, restaurant specialties such as Pamana’s Cebu lechon roll and Bento Box’s katsudon, and all-time favorites like tapa and longganisa hubad.
All of them come not just with complete instructions, but also with stories.
The bulalong corned beef, for example, is a staple in Ongpauco-Tiu household.
“My dad owns the restaurant Bakahan at Manukan and their specialty is the bulalo steak, so we would always turn the steak into corned beef as we were not allowed to eat canned goods.”
The Cebu lechon belly is from Pamana, her restaurant’s specialty, and it’s a dish inspired by her lola’s lechon kawali.
Ong has been running his local food business, General’s Lechon (Negros-style roast pig), for 11 years, but it’s only now that he has rolled out his long overdue forward integration, in the form of Filipino favorites that have been packed and frozen in bags you can boil.
Available in his store at Petron Dasma, his ready-to-eat items include boneless lechon paksiw, callos, laing, caldereta and salpicao prepared the way his family has come to enjoy them at home.
He also has his famous lechon, chopped and divided into kilo portions that can be defrosted and fried just before serving. It’s the same with the lechon sisig, which has been already processed into small cubes.
One simply needs to defrost it then mix with chopped onions and chili, and serve on a sizzling plate, if desired.
The Everyday Foods line of Mr. Delicious a.k.a. Jeremy Slagle is inspired by comfort food we actually want to eat. A number of Filipino dishes as well as American and international cuisines were added into the mix to cater to a broader market.
“We wanted it to be familiar, but still varied enough that you could eat it every day,” he said.
Among his best-selling items are the beef rendang, mac ‘n’ cheese, ham hock minestrone and the pastrami bolognese, which can be reheated by simply dropping the heat-proof plastic bag in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.
His ham hock fabada is a dish he enjoyed growing up. “In the (United States) Midwest, we would call it white beans and pork, but we gave it a Spanish accent here.”
The ham hock is cured then slow-smoked, giving it an intensely smoky, porky flavor. It is then put into a pot with white beans and a bunch of aromatics then allowed to simmer all day. This best seller may take long hours of cooking, but people can prepare and enjoy it at home in just a few minutes as Slagle has done most of the job.
Visit mrdelicious.ph, order through Honestbee if you’re in Makati or Bonifacio Global City area; e-mail [email protected]