In this new series, Lifestyle Asia speaks with individuals who were bit with the food business bug during the early days of Enhanced Community Quarantine and how their passions led them to cooking, baking and selling in the middle of a pandemic.
“Food and cooking has always been my passion,” says Ana Asis, “I actually have been cooking and baking (on and off) for more than 40 years already.” When Enhanced Community Quarantine started, Ana was only looking to prepare meals for frontliners, as a way to give back to the community. A few of her friends encouraged her to start selling, and one childhood friend in particular invited her to join a chat group for foodies. “She gently encouraged me to sell my cream scones and lemon squares to them and eventually introduced it to her village chat group,” she says.
Having always wanted to introduce her version of scones to Manila, Ana decided to continue and post it on her Instagram page (@spoonsofmagic). “I would sometimes prepare a few favorite dishes for friends like Pad Thai, Korean Beef Stew, New England Clam Chowder, and some other dishes when I have the time to squeeze it in between my baking orders,” she says.
Ana says she started selling quite late (around the last week of April), which means she was lucky to start at a time when the lack of ingredients for specialty goods was starting to recover. Nevertheless, like everyone, she also had to research online to find certain things. The chat groups provided a reliable source of information and helped her find a constant supply of ingredients for what she was trying to make. “Luckily, I also have a lot of very resourceful friends from whom I have gotten leads and contacts as well,” says, Ana. As for her food orders, the customers usually arrange for their own pick up.
According to Ana, her friends and family have enjoyed this recent foray back into baking and cooking. “They are all very happy and continue to support me since I am back to doing what I truly love most,” she says. She wants this happiness to spread to those who are able to have a taste of her products. “I wish for them to be excited to try it when it arrives, and I wish for them to close their eyes and smile after having their first bite,” she says, “my heart sings each time I receive a message of approval, most especially from people I don’t know.”
Because of her newfound reach, she has made new friends on the digital sphere. “I have had the pleasure of having many new e-friends because of my food and it really makes me so happy to know them and be able to be part of their homes,” she says. Ana has loved the experience so much that she now plans to continue as restrictions loosen up. “I am now planning my food line up and will continue to do what I love most,” she says.
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From scrumptious five course-meals to mouthwatering desserts to premium bottles of champagne or wine, luxury dining is never a dull experience. There are always new flavors to excite your taste buds and to satiate your appetite. These dishes become exceptional when it is cooked with passion and whipped up especially for you. This is exactly what Chef Ana Asis does in her new venture at The Test Kitchen by Spoonsofmagic. The establishment is constructed for private dining and this resembles a homelike meal with family and friends.
Opening a private dining room wasn’t in Ana Asis’ plans. “I wasn’t ready for it,” says the 51-year-old home cook. But when the opportunity presented itself in the form of a vacant Poblacion unit owned by an acquaintance she knew from way back—with a little nudge from another friend—she realized, “If not now, when?”