‘Say grace before cooking’

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    From left: Isidro, Jun Andrew, Grace, Jomar Klem, and Junice.
    From left: Isidro, Jun Andrew, Grace, Jomar Klem, and Junice.

    MOMTREPRENEUR Grace Nepomuceno says a sincere prayer before cooking – her secret as she begins preparing her well-liked, popular, budget-friendly and healthy food.

    Prayer, she said, tends to pour out one’s heart to God, believing He will do something extraordinary.

    “I also pray to Him that my best-loved, nourishing recipes will turn out a little different and be given a twist,” she said.

    Home cooking during the lockdown became their family bonding. In fact, her daughter Junice, who didn’t know how to cook, was able to learn and can now make leche flan and palitaw, while her son Andrew helps mix the ingredients with supervision.

    Pakbet
    Pakbet

    “I always think of my loved ones, as they are the ones who, at first, relish what I have lovingly prepared for them,” Nepomuceno shared.

    Junice assists her in preparing the ingredients. Her husband Isidro, when in the country for a break, shops for fresh ingredients in the market and helps her deliver the food. Andrew does the taste test and his smile means an approval.

    Hawaiian Chicken Embutido
    Hawaiian Chicken Embutido

    Nepomuceno can cook what customers ask for. She takes orders through “Andrew’s Kitchenette” Facebook page, and delivers within the metro. She also resells some items from her trusted suppliers.

    Customers keep coming back because of the generous ingredients she puts in her dishes. Nepomuceno also came up with more new, interesting recipes. She puts a premium on health, nutrition, and food safety, too.

    Chicken Eggplant Lasagna
    Chicken Eggplant Lasagna

    Nepomuceno said cooking at home has become therapeutic for her family, making them feel more relaxed amid the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.

    She believes home cooking will be the new normal rather than dining out at restaurants. “It is ideal to personally prepare their food these times to guarantee its safety and hygiene while uncertainty still abounds,” she said.

    Seafood Overload
    Seafood Overload

    Nepomuceno said instead of thinking she is cooking for other people, she imagines her dishes will be eaten by her family. Never compromise food quality so as to enjoy a treasured long-term relationship with customers, she advised.

    She also continues to adapt. Her next goal is to learn how to bake.

    Nepomuceno started “J.I.A.K.’s Sweets” when her husband was laid off. She discontinued this when her husband went abroad to work so she can focus on her children – Junice and Israel, as well as Andrew and Klem who have special needs.

    When she pursued her passion for cooking, she introduced the “Heavenly Sweets,” which has helped provide for her family.

    In 2019, however, Klem passed away. Nepomuceno opened “Andrew’s Kitchenette” which helped the family recover from this loss.

    Through the years, her family learned to acknowledge life’s setbacks and took action, coming out stronger because of their faith, love, and resilience.