While being famous has its perks that many wish to have, it also means having to give up some privacy and pull off a hectic work schedule each day. It’s a huge commitment that can be hard to follow through, especially for celebrities who are starting to make a name for themselves like Elisse Joson. The Kapamilya star seems to love the hustle and bustle of it all, though, as she has managed that with her own side business called Bites by Stylisse,—which opened in the beginning of the year.
Why the name? Initially, with Elisse's passion for fashion, she wanted to start a clothing line using Stylisse as its main concept. Time did not permit that, however, so she decided to run a restobar that impresses with her own touch as well as her nearest and dearest—from its interiors all the way to the recipes in the menu.
[related: Spaces We Love: Elisse Joson Shares A Sneak Peek Of Her Moroccan-Themed Restobar!]
“Si mommy kasi magaling siya magluto so doon namin naisip na restaurant business na lang,” she tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle. “Sya kasi, mahilig magluto sa bahay so kung ano yung maisip niyang lasa, doon siya nagbe-base. Wala siyang kinokopyahang recipe.” Her personal favorite dish, the actress continues, is the tinapa rice made by her mom. “Every time I come here, ‘yun yung kinakain ko kasi the tinapa came from Bataan where I’m originally from. Doon ako ipinanganak, doon ako pinalaki, and ‘yun yung specialty doon sa Bataan so I thought we’d bring it here also sa Manila.”
The celebrity entrepreneur likewise flavored her own creations for the venture—for one, Elisse’s Secret Fries. “Yung story nung secret fries ko, mayroon lang akong hinahanap-hanap na panlasa. That time, I had no idea what it was. Ang alam ko lang yung naiisip kong lasa sa mind ko,” she recalls. “Nag-search ako, then I tried to mix up stuff and ingredients so by trying out different things, doon ko nabuo yung recipe.”
[related: Cheat Sheet: Emulate The Lovely Moroccan Vibe Of Elisse Joson’s Restobar!]
With a love for tangy food, Elisse also came up with the salt and vinegar wings that passed trial-and-error. “Very picky ako pagdating sa consistency ng wings and yung crisp nya so nag-try kami ng iba-iba. We tried yung flour lang without anything. Yung iba, deretso fry lang. Mayroon kaming na-try din, which I discovered works well with the wings. Mas naging crunchy sya and crispy and then yung flavor, ni-mix din namin sa coating,” she muses. “Yung mga iniisip kong kine-crave ko, ginagawa namin to have our own taste tapos ‘yun, nilalagay sa menu.”
Meanwhile, Elisse's close friend Jinri Park—who took a course in hotel and restaurant management—helped her craft the cocktails. “We wanted to incorporate Filipino ingredients for the cocktails and not the usual alcoholic drinks you’ll find in other bars,” she reveals. “Tinulungan niya akong maghanap ng ingredients na very Pinoy na puwede ihalo sa original cocktail drinks that we’re used to so nakahanap kami ng bagay na drinks for that.”
Feeling inspired to start your own business? Elisse gets real about doing so, saying it’s not a piece of cake. “I think it’s going to be really hard in the beginning. It’s still hard for us, it’s still hard for me,” she admits. “But you just have to go for it with the help of the people around you kasi hindi mo sya magagawa ng ikaw lang. You’re going to need help from the people closest to you and with their help, magagawa mo rin. Just know what you want to do and i-push mo ‘yan.”
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Photography by Vyn Radovan | Shot on location at Bites by Stylisse | Special thanks to Gidget Dela Cuesta of Star Magic