THE kitchen is the heart of the home. Aside from providing sustenance, it’s also a space where deeper bonds and meaningful connections are forged.
From big celebrations like birthdays and graduations to day-to-day meal prep, kitchens witness family moments that become cherished memories and instill values passed on from one generation to the next.
La Germania brand ambassadors Chef Rolando Laudico of local culinary institution Laudico Guevarra’s and Ann Puno of home-based baking business Ann Puno’s Kitchen share their stories of kitchen heirlooms that have shaped their lives as food-lovers and as parents too.
Of responsibility, hard work, and patience
“When I was a kid, I loved to eat,” shares Chef Rolando Laudico. “I would live in the kitchen more than any other place in the house. And my love for food really pushed me to learn how to cook at a very young age.”
When his parents separated, the responsibility of ensuring their kitchen was stocked with ingredients fell on young Rolando. “Running errands at the farmer’s market to buy fresh ingredients for our meals became my job. From there, I eventually tried my hand at cooking. I would surprise my family by cooking dinner without them knowing. If they love the dish, I would say I cooked it. If they didn’t, I kept quiet.”
It was through these kitchen experiments that Chef Lau discovered reliable kitchen partners, too.
“I started cooking using the La Germania that my parents bought. I was lucky because it was easy to use and built like a tank, so it withstood the many trials and errors of a kid experimenting in the kitchen. I probably wouldn’t be the Chef Lau that you know if it weren’t for that stove,” says Chef Lau.
Now that he’s built a career and a name for himself out of his passion for food, Chef Lau passes on the torch to his children.
“As a family of foodies, I think the best value I taught my kids when I ask them to help prepare whatever we cook is hardwork and patience. There’s no better feeling than to be able to enjoy a delicious meal or snack as a result of your hard work,” he said.
“Apart from the meal prep, remembering to clean up afterwards is also an important thing we teach our kids as it fosters a sense of responsibility.”
Of simplicity and perseverance
60-year old breast cancer survivor Ann Puno found a new lease on life when she channeled her energy into a home-based, baked goods business. Growing up in Negros, she knew how difficult life can be. But it’s something that she looks back on fondly.
“I remember that market day in our place was every Saturday and my grandmother would wake me up really early in the morning because I would always want to go with her.”
Ann had always been interested in the goings-on in the kitchen. “Even when I was young, I would stay in the kitchen and just observe and watch. My mom got her cooking and baking abilities from my grandmother and then my mom passed it down to me.”
As a wedding gift, she asked her mom for a copy of all her recipes in a book. More than 34 years later, she still holds these recipes close to her heart. She hopes to pass these on to her daughter someday together with the oven that she first learned to cook and bake with.
“As a girl growing up in the province, La Germania was really the only brand I’ve known when it comes to cooking appliances. And its durability has truly been proven with the white La Germania oven of my childhood still working perfectly to this day,” says Ann.
Sunday meals with the whole family is another thing that Ann had been accustomed to growing up and it’s something she still observes with her family to this day. “It’s become like a tradition for my family already. And just like when I was younger, we would have this wonderful Spanish dish with white beans, bacon slab and a few other ingredients called fabada. It’s a very filling and healthy dish I love to cook that’s great for sharing.”
Ann’s provincial upbringing has taught her to treasure the little things and appreciate the simple joys of life such as being able to gather together as a family to prepare and enjoy a nice home-cooked meal—values and traditions that she continues to teach her now grown-up children.
“Whenever I prepare something for our family lunch, it doesn’t have to be borloloy or something. Something simple but delicious is more than enough. What matters is that we are able to come together as a family and bond.”