My desire to earn a living but still have the time to personally take care of my children was how I started with my food business, known as Chippens.
In 1986, I was heavy with my second child when I decided to open a carinderia in front of the apartment we were renting. This move made me realize my love for cooking, as I never felt tired doing it even as I was pregnant.
I discovered that I did not only love cooking, but was also very passionate about it. This encouraged me to dream big to become a caterer someday. Thus, I saved money for a whole year to study in different culinary schools. At Chef Reggie Aspiras’ Culinary Studio, I can proudly say that I learned a lot about advanced professional cooking.
As I was starting the business, I would tirelessly do research, experiment and create recipes of my own. It was at the time that our now famous chicken macaroni salad and lumpiang Shanghai were born. Our lumpiang Shanghai was recently hailed as the best in Davao City in a survey by one of the local newspapers.
Through the years, our family grew bigger, with three boys and a girl. One of my dreams about the business has come true, as two of my children followed in my footsteps and became chefs themselves.
Chino, our second child, took a professional culinary course in Calgary, Alberta, in 2012. He moved back to Davao City in 2013 to help me run the business as chef de produit.
Shara Marie or Chiki, our only daughter and the youngest, studied pastry at International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management in Quezon City, in 2019. She’s partly handling our pastry department. She plans to take advanced studies abroad when our situation is back to normal.
With Chino and Chiki as my partners on the production side, it gives me confidence to continue and compete in this very challenging endeavor. They provide me with the feeling of security that someday, they will take over and continue my legacy.
My children grew up observing me cook and manage the business, and followed my lead. It inspires me even more that they don’t only have dreams of continuing the business, but have the vision to grow it, by someday opening more branches outside Davao City.
During the pandemic, the rest of the family did their share to keep the business going despite the adverse economic conditions. We came up with the idea of a drive-through and drive-in dining, which was very successful especially with the introduction of a special hamburger created by Chino with the delicious buns by Chiki. People kept coming back to our place, Salome’s Garden.
Here I’m sharing recipes I cook for the family for special occasions.
5 big crabs, cut and cleaned
½ c minced garlic
1 c onion, chopped
½ c chili-garlic sauce
¼ c Kikkoman soy sauce
½ c brown sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 pc coconut (4 c coconut milk)
Saute all spices. Add coconut milk, let boil. Put the crabs. Cover and do not mix.
After 30 minutes, remove the crabs. Simmer to reduce the sauce, stirring with a wire whisk. Adjust the taste. Arrange crabs on a big platter. Put sauce on top and garnish with leeks or cilantro.
Sarsa ng Lechon
½ kg pork liver
½ c garlic
½ c onion
1 Tbsp peppercorn
1 c leeks
1 c vinegar
½ c soy sauce
1 c brown sugar
1 liter water
1 c biscocho
Put oil in a skillet. Saute the liver and the spices. Season with sugar, vinegar, soy sauce. Add water. Let boil and reduce. Add biscocho to thicken. Serve with your lechon.—CONTRIBUTED INQ
The author is a hardworking and determined chef-restaurateur, a caring and loving mother and wife, and a philanthropist in her own right.
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