Despite several setbacks early in life, this 31-year-old

entrepreneur refused to give up on his passion for cooking and baking. His faith and perseverance has paid off with unique lechon dishes the market just loves.

 

(Left) Kel (fifth from left) and business partner Mari Litonjua (second from right) at the opening of the Manilachon outlet in Robinsons Galleria in 2018 and (above) one of the products from his kitchen explained. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

At 31 years old and already with a wealth of life experiences behind him, Kel shares insights that he learned from running a business. “You can’t please everyone. Food is all about personal preference. You can’t and shouldn’t adjust your formula based on every single feedback you get.

“If you keep on altering your recipe based on every customer response, that will make you lose your identity. Also, the F&B (food and beverage) business is not just about cooking and selling. It’s a business of accounting, marketing and compliance. It’s so much more than just food. You really need an entire army of very skilled employees to run a business.”

With his army in place, he takes time to relax. “I like going to the gym to cap my day and like to go out and drink with friends on the weekend. It allows me to be just me, not the CEO, not the creative guy for the brand, not the boss, just the regular guy hanging out with friends for a couple of hours.”

During the lockdown, he also launched a new venture called KP Cakes & Bakes. “I always wanted to bake, but I was so bad at it. The quarantine gave me time to practice, and it kept me busy and productive. I sold the products online and got a pretty good response. I make awesome cinnamon rolls,” he beams.

Kel looks back and says all his previous hardships simply directed him to a better place. He says: “There are no regrets. I became an entrepreneur. It honed my life skills, and I learned diskarte (resourcefulness), something that can’t be learned in the classrooms.

“It pushed me to work extra hard, in fact, ten times harder.”

About me

Role model

Alice Eduardo of Sta.Elena Construction and Development Corp., who is powerful and family oriented

Goal

To achieve everything I plan while my parents are still well and alive

First paying job

Kitchen helper

Morning ritual

Check my mails and drink my protein shake

Special skills

Cooking and baking

Time spent on social media

A lot!