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Falling in love with the business of chocolate

June 23, 2019

CARLA BIANCA RAVANES-HIGHAM

During the heyday of Friendster (kids, if you are too young to remember Friendster I am sure there is a tita and tito who would be more than happy to share with you the magic of testimonials), I recall proudly putting in “Chocolatier” as my job title.

As a youngster, I have always been fascinated with “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” and to work with chocolates all day long seemed like a dream come true. And while that dream has long been forgotten except for my first job at a clothing company called Chocolate, I know of a person who lives that dream daily.

Raleigh Guzman fondly calls herself the Chocolate Experimenting Officer of Cholate, a cute & Instagram worthy chocolate café in BF Resort, Las Piñas. In the four years since it has opened, Cholate has evolved from serving desserts made with the best local ingredients, including local tablea, into a full-blown restaurant that offers signature dishes such as Simpleng Adobo (twice-cooked pork adobo), Pasta Filipina (garlic longganisa pasta with egg), and the Feel Good Noodle (vegan ramen) to name a few.

Raleigh attributes her grandmother as the inspiration behind her love for food.

“My grandmother used to cook really delicious champorado for us when I was still a kid. One of my fondest memories is of our house smelling like that sweet treat. Growing up, my family was always drawn to order anything with hot chocolate in the menu and we’d instantly know if our local tablea was used or not. This made me realize that there are very few cafes that offer Philippine cacao and instead they focus on promoting chocolates imported from other countries. This fact saddened me at first because it made me question why we are not proud of our own unique ingredients? It made me sad at first but then inspired me to open up a café that not only served authentic local ingredients but also promoted our culture,” she lengthily shared.

With the support of her family, Raleigh bravely opened her shop in late 2014 and with hard work and the savvy use of social media, was able to create a following who provided support by leaving reviews and sharing the word with close friends.

Raleigh Guzman attributes her grandmother as the inspiration behind her love for food. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Through the years, Raleigh has remained true to her word of promoting authentic Filipino ingredients while adding more dishes to love to her menu. Her success doesn’t mean however that the road has been easy.

“When I first started, I thought it would be easy – it’s a hip café, how hard can it be right? But it turns out I still had a lot to learn like understanding how to deal with different people, where to buy the right ingredients, how to negotiate and so forth. What has kept me going is the understanding in my heart that I am still blessed. I am blessed to have supportive parents and relatives, friends, and a supportive husband. I know of people who only dream of being entrepreneurs, but I am lucky enough to make that dream come true with the help of the people around me,” she shared.

And as for her advice to those who wish to make their dreams come true, she said, “Go for it. It won’t be without blood, sweat, and tears (sometimes lots of tears), but it’s totally worth it. I knew I was doing the right thing when people panic why the shop’s closed or when a child declares that they only want a birthday party if it’s in the shop. If you’re passionate about it, people would know. They can feel the love in all that you do.”

To know more, you may like Cholate page on Facebook.

www.carlabiancaravanes.com

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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