Happy Ongpauco-Tiu: From her table to yours with love
When I met Happy Ongpauco-Tiu a few years ago, I was amazed at how much energy she had being a wife, mother, restaurateur and hardworking businesswoman.
Happy studied at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Napa so she is actually a chef. She was only 24 when she started her first business and she made back her investment in one year! She now has the Happy Concept Group, which consists of different businesses. World Topps and Bento Box were her first ventures. Now she has Hawaiian Bar-B-Que, Pamana Restaurant, My Happy Carts Catering Service, I Luv Backyard BBQ joint, Chef Happy’s Home Made Specialties and Catering Kitchen and My Happy Carts (themed food carts for kiddie parties). Aside from the restaurants and food related businesses, she also has The Boutique Bed & Breakfast (a seven-bedroom boutique hotel) and Slim At Home, which is a mobile slimming clinic and spa.
Every time I see Happy, she is always cooking up something new to add to her company. Just when I thought her plate was so full, she tells me that she is working on a new restaurant concept that will be launched this year. A month ago she started another business called Private Dining. She now shares her passion from her home to your home. It came so naturally because Happy loves to collect home items, dinnerware, serve ware, cutlery, and candleholders from here and her travels abroad because she loves to entertain at home.
“So why not do it also for other people since I have the things and the people? It is easy for me to cater,” Happy says. It is so timely for her to do this when the trend is “bespoke” or “personalized” anything. This business requires not only culinary skills but also creative skills in putting together every single detail, from her own recipes to the food presentation, dinnerware, serve ware, tables and furniture she uses, up to the centerpieces, which are not only flowers in vases. The final result is the outcome of a well-curated setup.
“Whenever I travel I really make it a point to study and learn in each country and bring home whatever is their culture and how they present their food. So when I bring it back to the Philippines, it is as authentic as it can be. That is the concept of this bespoke dining business. It is all by theme and it’s very personalized.”
It’s a very new business and a very unique one, probably the only one in the Philippines or even in the world. Happy told me that she does not make much in this business. It is more of her passion and her personal fulfillment that she is able to share herself and her creative talent, both in the kitchen and styling tablescapes with other people.
Happy is so creative and so talented and she is one person who has a lot of dreams and she makes sure they come true! She is truly an inspiration.
* * *
Contact the Happy Concept Group at 0917-678-0386, 0915-450-5628 or visit her website at http://www.happyconceptgroup.com.