Photography: Stephen Capuchino
LOVE FOR FOOD
The General’s Daughter star says that her flair for cooking began at a young age.
During her younger years, she would even cook meals and sell them in bazaars.
“You know what,” she reveals, “before ako pumasok dito, nag-tra-try ako ng mga bazaar, and then nagluluto din ako dun ng mga pasta, sandwiches; and cookies and cupcakes, kasi nag-be-bake din ako.”
Eventually, her love for cooking transformed into a business opportunity, when the proposal to establish Alegria was presented to her by her business partners. The actress currently co-owns the restaurant, and Ryza says that she is excited about this new venture.
“Dati kasi gusto niya (her grandmother) akong turuang magluto, pero matigas ulo ko. So natuto lang ako magluto, 18 years old, kasi nagka-boyfriend ako. At family rin kami na marunong magluto."
Ryza said, beaming, “We (business partners) met through common friends. ‘Yung narinig ko ‘yung proposal nila about dito sa Alegria, sobrang na-hook ako, especially sa food. Hindi naman ako masyadong interested sa alcohol kasi hindi naman ako umiinom, more of food. Kasi nag-tasting kami and all, ‘tapos sobrang sarap ng food nila. Gusto kong i-re-present itong Alegria.”
Ryza mentioned that she had always wanted to put up her own restaurant, but admitted that she was not well-equipped at that time to do so. She underscored that she wanted to make sure that she could prioritize her business and be hands-on; but the proposition was not feasible due to her busy schedule.
“Siyempre gusto ko talaga, but I was not ready yet, especially with my busy schedule. Kasi gusto ko pag nagtayo ako ng sarili kong restaurant, gusto ko hands-on ako. Mayroon naman kaming chat group, so do’n kaming lahat nag-sa-suggest. Open naman sila (business partners).”
ALEGRIA’S SIGNATURE DISHES
Alegria is Ryza’s pride and joy, apart from her projects in the entertainment industry. Unlike other Latin restos out there, Alegria’s food has an edgier twist. According to the restaurant’s head chef Charles Montanez, they try to spice things up by modernizing their menu.
“We do Latin cuisine and we focus more on Peruvian, Brazilian and a little Mexican. But with the most recent update of the menu, we’ve been exploring deeper Latin Cuisine, consisting of Columbian and Venenzuelan dishes.”
He stresses that modernizing the food would make it easier, because not all the traditional ingredients are available in the Philippines. “We don’t do anything traditional. It’s not because we’re against it, but we believe that we couldn’t get the ingredients here locally. So we tried to use substitute ingredients that we can source here. And with that, we can make it our own style. We play on the structure of the dishes. We get the soul of the dishes but the structure, we change it.”
The chef also presented their four best-selling dishes which were the Aguachile De Camarones Infladita, their signature Taco, the Falso Moqueca and the Posta Negra Huarache dish. Scroll down below!
Art Direction: Alfred Amado
Hair & Make-Up: Jean Pineda
Photographer's Associate: Ryan Dela Cruz