There is a stereotype that women are expected to know their way around the kitchen. These six women broke that stereotype by making it beyond the kitchen and working their way to the top of the food business. If you’re a budding restaurateur, take these advices from six inspiring women who worked from the bottom all the way to success.
6. Mary Grace Pecson-Dimacali, owner of Cafe Mary Grace
Mary Grace Dimacali has always loved baking. She would bake at home, afterwards knocking on neighbors’ doors offering the fruit cakes she had just made. She went to the US to take a 12-month baking course and, when she came back, applied everything she had learned to make the perfect Ensaymada, which is the signature dish of Cafe Mary Grace.
With the support of her whole family, she joined bazaars for a good six years before taking a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship at Asian Institute of Management. In 2001, they opened their first kiosk in Glorietta. Fourteen years later, the kiosk still stands. They were able to open more kiosks in different malls around Metro Manila, and a few years after, their first cafe was opened. What Mary Grace wanted for her cafe is for their signature ensaymadas to always come out from the oven fresh, and be served with their equally good cup of hot chocolate.
“Wag magdali! [Don’t rush]!” Do what you have to do first because, eventually, everything will fall into place. Take it from Mary Grace herself; she was already 44 years old when she opened her first kiosk, but seeing the success of Cafe Mary Grace now, it seemed the timing was always right.
5. Beatrice Lim, owner of Belleville Café
After training with the Philippine Barista & Coffee Academy Inc., Beatrice Lim and her family renovated their garage and office into what is now the Belleville Café. Her family wanted a business they could just operate within their home so as not to deal with rent. Located on the busy streets of Quezon City, she wanted to create a quiet haven where people could just sit, read a book or do their work. Beatrice admits she can’t drink coffee because she’s acidic, but she, along with her staff, loves experimenting with food and coffee. She says that her baristas are trained to know how to deliver high quality service and understand the coffee culture.
“Be patient.” Business is a tough world and you have to constantly put yourself out there. Beatrice said that if you want to succeed in the business you’re getting into, you have to put your heart into it.
4. Chef Jackie Ang Po, owner of Fleur De Lys
After studying and working in San Francisco, Chef Jackie Ang Po came back to start up her own business, Fleur de Lys, which was named after her grandmother Flordelisa. When she was in her teen years, Chef Jackie did a lot of painting. Her parents took notice and suggested she do something with her talent, but with her parents being so practical, it has to be something she earns money from. Since she loves cooking, she studied Culinary and the rest, as they say, is history.
“Think thrice, then work really hard for it.” Opening a business is both exciting and terrifying, which is why Chef Jackie asks those who want to put up a business to really think about it. She said, in the food business, mistakes are inevitable. Sometimes you hit the target, but often times you miss. Instead of thinking that you could’ve done something differently, think of improving yourself.