Amid the COVID-19 pandemic: The success story of homemade longganiza

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    AS early as February this year, Hollywood- and New York-trained make-up artist and Kagandahang Flores pageant camp co-founder Gio Lazaro Flores felt something really bad was bound to happen that is going to affect the lives of people throughout the world. His anxiety intensified when enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was imposed throughout Luzon on March 16.

    Living alone in a Mandaluyong flat with two teacup poodles and a Persian cat for company, Gio stocked on six months worth of pet food, as well as food for himself for the next two months.

    Gio was prepared…or so he thought. Then came the challenges of being able to keep a sound physical, mental and spiritual state of mind in order to adapt and be prepared for the uncertainties of the coming weeks and months.

    To combat anxiety and depression, Gio began making comfort food – waffles and longganiza – that not only make him happy but are easy to prepare, do not spoil easily and are cost-efficient. The ECQ led him to food.

    “These food also reminded me of my happy childhood days which allow me to foster positivity and family spirit despite my solitude during these difficult times,” said Gio, whose nine-year experience as marketing line trainer and quality manager for the leading fast food chain in the country also helped a lot.

    It also helped that Gio comes from a family who cooks well; his mom Seiko Ide has studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. “I learned a lot from her, especially the Japanese and French way of preparing food,” he added.

    So after indulging in his all-time favorite homemade longganizas, he decided to make a few more for his friends. He ordered his ingredients and other materials online, made his very first batch (20 kilos) of Gio’s Premium Savory Longganiza and started sending messages to his family and friends.

    “It was kinda overwhelming at first but I believe that I could sell it, eventually making the displaced people under my team productive,” he said.

    His friends loved it and in just over a week after his first deliveries, orders increased to 100 kilos.

    Gio’s Premium Savory Garlic Longganiza uses prime quality or Triple A pork meat called the King of Pork; contains 20 percent excellent quality fats that are healthy fat; and is absolutely keto friendly without extenders and preservatives. The products are vacuum-sealed and also utilize a clean, hygienic production process.

    Gio’s Premium Savory Garlic Longganizas are garlicky, spicy, tangy and salty with a distinct pungent aroma, stir-fried in its own rendered fat.

    At present, the hit longganizas have two distribution channels: Mandaluyong for the inner Metro and Taytay for Rizal area.

    For the south, it will soon be available in BF Dates Veranda in front of Jollibee in BF Commercial Complex l, and in Alabang at the residence of Cynthia Subijano and Meathaus Verdant Las Piñas.

    You can place your orders (for only P390 per pack with 14-18 generously portioned pieces) at 09178816828.

    “I couldn’t thank everyone enough for their invaluable support. Gio’s Premium Savory Garlic Longganiza has given livelihood to the family that makes them. It’s just a small business but it’s made of dreams and a passion that keep all of us going. We need to rise from the adversity and continue living our dreams,” quipped Gio.

    His thriving food business, after all, is up to complement his success as a celebrity make-up artist to Patti Austin, Billy Crawford, Natalie Glebova (Miss Universe 2005) and our home-grown beauty queens Gazini Ganados, Rachel Peters, MJ Lastimosa, Karen Ibasco, Jamie Herrell, Angelia Ong, Karla Henry, Bea Santiago and Lara Quigaman, to name a few.
    Gio plans to take up formal training in culinary arts in the near future.