I met this very sweet lady, Raquel Chua and her husband Jon, in one of the workshops of Manila Workshops. Since I saw her passion for her business and the twinkle in her eye when she was talking about her products, I decided to interview her for the Mompreneur interviews section of this blog.
Mompreneur Raquel Chua, Pastry Chef of Mama Chows “A Mom’s Delight”
Ginger: Can you tell us a more about yourself, Raquel?
Raquel: I love to eat sweets like merengue (the one that you can buy at a local market), chocolate cake, warm leche flan (it has to be warm), breads and chocolates. But I only like eating, not making those. I remember that I started baking at the age of 10. I would go with my mom while she attended her night classes at a local public school. I made my first cheese cupcake at the age of 8, but after that I lost interest.
Now, you may be wondering, why am I a baker? During my OJT, I was assigned in the pastry department for 3 weeks. I fell in love with their chocolate chip pistachio cookies (from a famous hotel in Manila who serves chocolate cookies). The chef told me that he saw potential in me and if I can prove myself, he will give me his recipe. I took the challenge, and of course, I got the recipe. After that, I began to take interest in baking again. I worked for my mom as her assistant baker. I was just baking cheese cupcakes for her and molding ensaimadas. Then, eventually she taught me her ensaiamda recipe, and I took over. I studied baking at CACS and Heny Sison for short courses then formally enrolled at the Essential Baking at the Heny Sison Culinary School.
Right now, I am a mom to my 2 year old baby boy named Saffron Matthew B. Chua. During my pregnancy though, I had GD, hypothyroidism, asthma and had to undergo 3x a week non-stress test. My pregnancy was very delicate and expensive. My husband (also a chef) and I decided to name the baby after the most delicate and expensive spice (just how my pregnancy was). My husband Jon and I are married for 3 years, but we were going steady for 12 years; thus, we have been together for 15 years.
I worked for a pharmaceutical company and was handling the healthcare program. I would go to different companies and offer free blood screening and then after that we package vaccines/medications for them and consultations for diseases like Hepa B, Hypertension, Diabetes, and Asthma. After a year and half with them I resigned and focused on baking.
Ginger: So are you a full time mompreneur?
Ginger: Any hobbies?
Raquel: Baking, I like collecting containers (Subconsciously! Aren’t we all?). Seriously though, I love fixing our house, I also love anything ‘crafty’. I am also trying out bento box for my Saffron and playing with my toys (Sylvanian Families). I’m into week planning menu, too. My advocacies are anything for ‘the children’. May it be wellness (I am pro breastfeeding), manners (the use of po and opo), education and early love for reading books. I have been supporting World Vision and Bantay Bata for 3 years now.
Ginger: Any goals in life?
Raquel: Our goal is to have another baby (hopefully, a baby girl and this time around and I pray it won’t be that delicate), to own a house (not on a condo, scared of earthquakes), to be financially stable and to travel (in our house we live by this… LOVE is spelled as TIME).
Ginger: Now, on to your business? Can you tell us more about it?
Raquel: It’s called Mama Chows “A Moms Delight” under the company name Mama Chows Food Express. We provide gourmet *ge-lai meals, lactation pastries for mommies and regular pastries good for everybody.
*To know more about ge-lai, please refer to this explanation by my mom blogger friend, Jen of Chronicles of a Nursing Mom (Po-ge-lai and Breastfeeding)
Ginger: How long have you been in business?
Raquel: I first started as Raquel by GinQuelRuS or GinQuelRuS Pastries for the regular yummy pasties I do. I have been included in ABS-CBN FOOD Magazine Present Perfect from 2001 to 2012. I make hand-rolled ensaimadas, cheese cupcakes, bars and cookies. I went by this name for 10 years. Then 2 years ago, we changed it to Mama Chows. With Mama Chows we started while I was pregnant, I made lactation cookies as gifts for friends and as preparation for breastfeeding. When it was my turn, my husband and I made a deal that I will undergo ge-lai only if the food served would be yummy. Ge-lai tradition is almost at a flat line. Friends were asking us to make it for them and that’s when we started the gourmet ge-lai, which eventually converted my GinQuelRuS recipes and transformed them to lactation pastries for the moms. And now we stick by the name Mama Chows, so not to confuse everyone.
Ginger: Who is your market?
Raquel: Chinese mom’s who will undergo ge-lai. Mostly Moms who are either breastfeeding or moms who is looking for yummy & preservative free pastries for their kids.
Ginger: How did you come up with this idea?
Raquel: When we were still pregnant. We learned that we can cut hereditary illness by 50% if we breastfeed for 2 years. That was our main goal, to give our child somehow 50% advantage. Everything was set on stone that we will breastfeed our child. Then came the news that I will undergo ge-lai, which means I will not be allowed to eat veggies, fruits and drink water. We researched and research and I had stumble upon lactation cookies & Medela house. At that time, the lactation cookies available were not that yummy. So my husband said, “Why don’t you make yours since you are a professional baker?”
Ginger: So What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Raquel: Friends were requesting me so that they can give these out to their friends. Then we started selling.
Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming a mompreneur?
Raquel: It was less for me because I have been baking for almost 13 years now. The hard part was perfecting the formulas. In baking you have to have balance. You start with an idea, then come the combination of flavors that you only formulate in your mind. You, then, execute and bake this and patiently wait for the results. If it is good then, congratulations. If its bad, then we have do it again. Baking is different from cooking since in cooking, you can re-adjust everything at the same time. Another concern is shelf life and storing these goodies. After that, comes the formulation of nutritional facts and the literature that comes with it.
Ginger: What are three traits that you think a mompreneur should have when starting their own business?
a. Passionate: She has to be passionate with what she is doing and knows what she wants.
b. Hungry for knowledge: One should never stop learning; this will help her grow.
c. Organizational skills: She has be to organized in all aspects, may it be with her filing system or in her house. She needs to be determined that she really wants this and that this is not something she’s making because everyone is into it now (i.e. online selling). She has to be focused with her priorities.
Ginger: Any unforgettable lesson that you learned as a Mompreneur?
Raquel: We have to set our priorities straight. There was a time when I was so into baking and attending to other moms’ breastfeeding concerns that I neglected time with my son and husband. Now, I set my own limits. Being a mom and wife is 24/7. I would drop everything for my family, literally everything. I also made a schedule and I stick to it.
Ginger: What advice can you give to other Mompreneurs?
Raquel: Don’t let others tell you want you can and cannot do. You are the only one who can decide on that. Empower yourself. You can achieve everything and anything you want as long as you put your heart into it.
Ginger: Thank you, Raquel, for going through this interview with me. I will you more success!
Mama Chows Contact Information:
Website: under construction
Email address: email@example.com
Mobile Number: 0917.3220926
Facebook Page: facebook.com/mamachows (Ginquelrus Pastries)
Twitter account: twitter.com/mamachows