Working from home and living on a reduced income has led people to seriously plan their meals. Not only does it save money and reduce food waste; it also reduces the number of trips to the market or the grocery store.
Cooking instructor and caterer Sari Reyes Jorge saw this pattern when more housewives, wealthy women, bloggers, and celebrities asked her about meal plans and recipes.
âThey were tired of what their helpers were serving. The family wanted a variety of food, âshe says.
Jorge is the founder of 25 Mushrooms Kitchen, a cooking school and catering company whose name is derived from their address. The school was launched in 2009 and offered basic courses in cooking, kitchen hygiene and table service for helpers in a facility in the village clubhouse. Since then, it has grown into courses for any beginner who wanted to prepare themed or international dishes and entertain them at home.
The majority of the business comes from company catering. In this pandemic, it offers bespoke boxes for zoom events. Jorge was hired by Philippine Airlines to plan the children’s meals, including recipes, for the domestic and international flights.
Jorge looks up at her mother Martita Reyes, founder of the catering service Partyplatters.com. The Matriarch’s Salpicao was a favorite of the Concepcions and Villars. Jorge studied at the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management and worked as a food and beverage manager in a restaurant in Los Angeles, California.
Jorge’s cookbook âThe Tastes of Homeâ (National Book Store), written in English and Tagalog, was long sold out. She received thank you messages from readers during the pandemic. The cookbook helped them overcome their financial difficulties by starting food businesses. Some said their recipes were popular in their restaurants.
Last year, personal instructions were suspended when her home village placed restrictions on visitors. Customers have instead bought brochures with recipes perfected by Jorge and her chefs and cooking class kits on themed cuisines.
Families enjoy variety at home with recipes such as the mezze platter from the health kitchen course, roast pork variations from the lechon bellies class, cochinillo asado from the Spanish cuisine, Greek souvlaki skewers from the Mediterranean cuisine. Some recipes are shared on the 25 Mushrooms Kitchen Facebook page. Jorge notes that the Singaporean chilli crab has a lot of likes.
âIt is expensive to have to rely on takeaway and delivery services,â she says. âThe problem with customers is that they don’t know what to cook. We give printed materials and recipes in English and Tagalog for the helpers. We teach menu planning and recommend where to get the ingredients. We offer 20 courses, the most popular of which are Japanese, Thai, Korean and Chinese cuisine, kids, budget and Christmas treats. “
A P650 package consists of two thematic courses. Each booklet consists of 10 recipes, 25 Mushrooms Kitchen menu planning block, 25 Mushrooms Kitchen shopping list block and a helpline for inquiries.
Meal planning begins with a thorough weekly inventory of the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. Jorge upholds the First In First Out (FIFO) standard, where older groceries are put to the front and used first to maintain resource efficiency.
âUse ingredients in the pantry. If there’s a can of coconut milk and you have chicken, eggplant, and other vegetables in store, you can buy the curry mix, âshe says.
Housewives can customize the menu to suit the preferences of family members.
âWake up in the morning and know what to prepare,â says Jorge. âMaids also want to know how to plan their day. Strive for variety and balance. Always add vegetables and a side dish. Don’t use the same meat for lunch and dinner, âadvises Jorge.
A Sunday menu might have tinapa rice with grilled tomatoes for breakfast, country-style fried chicken with gravy for lunch, and a truffle and shrimp bisque with shrimp pie and a steak sandwich for dinner. Another day can consist of tuna tartine with grilled tomatoes and olives for breakfast, slow-roasted Italian porchetta with buttered rice for lunch, and a pizza delivery service for dinner.
The school interacts with the helpers and housewives through their Facebook page. Helpers can also consult with the cooking teachers.
The benefit of meal planning is that it reduces stress and prevents the maid or housewife from making impulse purchases that could lead to unnecessary stockpiling. – CONTRIBUTES
Telephone number. 86314822, 0917-8272525