Erzullie Icon and Plus Size Model, Khris Guarin, has just re-started her stint as an Erzullie Icon earlier this year. But of course, just like any other Erzulliesta, that is just the tip of the iceberg of her dreams. Here she is starting her own restaurant empire and she shares how she came about to finally doing it:
1. Congratulations! You have just opened your business. Tell us about it.
It is a food business. We call our first stall – Busolb to Go by #PatsKitchen. It is located in The Streatery Food Park, G/F, Tycoon Center Condominium, Amethyst Street, Brgy. San Antonio, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
It just felt right to do it now. Since I turned 30 last February, I was waiting for an opportunity to make a 180 turn in my daily routine, when this chance showed to us like a light at the end of the tunnel, we took it instantly.
I am passionate about cooking; although I did not have a professional training, growing up, I observe my Lolas (mom and dad side) and my Dad cook. We used to have a tapsihan in Pasig, and I remember it being so patok sa masa. I want to recreate the same.
I love eating as much as I love cooking. I remember my Tuna Cream recipe was developed fifteen years ago when I was in high school. When I started working, I wasn’t able to cook as much as I used to, although when my career changed, I had more time cooking again; and when I met Pats, my passion ignited more as he is a foodie as well. Also, when we saw an opportunity (opening of a food park at the back of our office building), my mom grabbed the chance to make my dream come true.
In 5 years, I envision a commissary that serves several food carts, office food deliveries, school canteens, weekend markets, and catering. I want to be known for serving quality, fresh, and sumptuous meals at a price that the middle class can afford. We started with serving PARES and different Pasta recipes, there are a lot more that we can offer, just one step at a time.
Manpower – we closed the deal 3 weeks before the opening. It was a good impulsive deal. We cannot instantly find people to hire hence we are very hands on. From refurbishing the food cart to installing the lights.
I remember during the first week, my boyfriend and my sister assist me in cooking in the morning, we would man the store all day, and then at night, we would wait for the customers to leave before we can install new cabinets and varnish the cart.
I can proudly say that blood, sweat, and tears were our major investments.
3. What was the most rewarding part about all of it? Why so?
The most rewarding part about all of this is a sold out almost everyday. It is a pride, a sort of validation that I can really cook good food. I admit that there are times when I whine about my muscle pain, headache, stress, but at the end, when I think about the positive feedbacks and returning customers, all is worth it.
4. You are also healing yourself right now. Wouldn’t this add to your stress? Why or why not?
It definitely added to my stress, but I think of it as a good stress; the one where at the end of the day, you reap your rewards. Surprisingly, despite the physical strain, I am in my healthiest state now. I haven’t been hospitalized since October last year, my lab results are better, and my diabetes is manageable. Stress is inevitable, but being surrounded by your family and friends make it tolerable.
5. You are also a current Erzullie Icon. Do you think this will affect your Iconship in a bad way? Why or why not?
No, on the other hand, I think it is an affirmation of being an Erzullie Icon. Through the years, being an icon means radiating women empowerment-- being confident not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally.
I want to be an inspiration to my generation that chasing your dream is possible no matter how old you are.
6. Do you think that being a plus size woman and owning a restaurant is a bad cliché? Why or why not?
No, definitely not. It is the best cliché, actually. I love cooking as much as I love eating. I am not just a plus size woman, I am a confident plus size woman hence being in this business emits positive vibrancies through the food we serve. I see myself as an organic marketing strategy. “The chef looks warm and healthy so the food must be really good and comforting” Lol!!!
7. How did the business affect your self-esteem? Why so?
It made me trust and love myself more. I am amazed of what I can do at pressed times. It is a whole new level of self-discovery. Plus, the positive feedback we get from customers really is the cherry on top. However, I make sure that all this won’t get to my head. I am just a beginner and there are a lot of room for improvement. The possibilities are just endless and I look forward to learning more everyday.
8. Messages to the Erzulliestas.
Hi Erzulliestas! I hope this interview inspired you to follow after your dreams. Never give up on whatever it is that excites you. I am a strong believer of perfect timing, so be patient, He will provide. Looking back at the rocky road I’ve been through (self-esteem struggle, career, health, and lovelife), now I understand the purpose -- to prepare me to face bigger trials and challenges. Finally, it is important to surround yourself with people who believes in you. They will be your emotional, moral, and physical support; because being an empowered woman doesn’t mean doing it alone, for me, it means you can show everyone that you can do it alone but you choose not to.