YES, Cravings Restaurant is 25 years old. The restaurant, which was born out of the love for cooking of mother-and-daughter team Susana ‘Annie’ Guerrero and Marinela ‘Badjie’ Guerrero-Trinidad, now celebrates its milestone silver anniversary – and there is every cause for a celebration.
From a simple home-based food business that began in the Guerreros’ home in La Vista Subdivision, Quezon City, in the mid-1980s, Cravings has now grown into not just a chain of restaurants but a group of successful establishments, which includes Cravings Restaurant, C2 Classic Cuisine, The Coffee Beanery (TCB), Lombardi’s Authentic Italian Restaurant, Wicked by Cravings, the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA Manila), the Asian School of Hospitality Arts (ASHA), C3 Events Place, Oceana, The Orange Place hostel chain and Seven Suites Hotel Observatory.
From simply taking orders at home for hot dishes, cheesecakes, French bread, croissant and packed lunches, Cravings Restaurant was born in 1988 with its first store along Katipunan Ave. in Quezon City. Initially, it served meals to students and workers along the student hub, which includes Ateneo de Manila University, Miriam College and the University of the Philippines and the gated community of Loyola Heights. Through the hardwork and perseverance of the mother-and-daughter team, which had Mrs. Guerrero focusing her energies on cooked food and Badjie taking charge of the baking side of the business, Cravings grew by leaps and bounds and became The Cravings Group.
THE GREEN LIFESTYLE
Not content in being just prime movers in the local restaurant and food service industries plus being a pioneer in culinary education in the Philippines, The Cravings Group conscientiously took the Green Road, building an organic garden of its own, from where the restaurant sources its fresh herbs and greens and developing renewable energy sources (such as biogas, solar and biomass production). For this, The Cravings Group recently received the prestigious ISO 14001:2004 + Cor. 1:2009 Certifications in recognition of its green practices and sustainable operations. It is the first and only company in the Philippines to be accorded such honor, thus making it officially the greenest in the food service and hospitality industry.
The recognition couldn’t have come at a better time, coming, as it is, at a time when The Cravings Group is marking its 25th anniversary.
“It is a dream come true for The Cravings Group. At first, it seemed almost impossible to receive the ISO 14001 Certification when we started many years ago. But with the support, hardwork, cooperation, persistence, team spirit and everyone’s prayers, it was finally awarded to us,” says Mrs. Guerrero.
Members of media, especially those who belong to the food media who has witnessed the growth of The Cravings Group through the years, got to catch a glimpse of the green lifestyle that it now espouses when the mother-and-daughter team of Annie and Badjie hosted a special luncheon in their new home in La Vista Subdivision today (October 2, 2013). The group met up at Cravings-Katipunan and toured the Green Roof (which consists of a small organic garden, herb garden, bee apiary, butterfly sanctuary, and recycling of metal, paper and plastics) on the rooftop of the flagship branch.
Then members of media were shuttled to the new home of Annie and Badjie in La Vista Subdivision. The Guerreros have actually lived in La Vista for 40 years, but they moved into their new home, also in La Vista, only two years ago. It’s actually a big property with an extended house, with one side belonging to Mrs. Guerrero and the other side being the home of Badjie and her husband and kids. It’s a unique residential setup, very modern in its interiors, even with hidden toilet/baths and stairs and ingeniously designed multilevel bedrooms for Badjie’s kids. The two households have their own kitchens and dining rooms, with a spacious living room at the center of it all.
This – the living room and the two dining rooms – was where mother and daughter hosted today’s special 25th anniversary luncheon.
The festive treat actually began as soon as members of media set foot on Mrs. Guerrero’s side of the house. Platters of toasts with patê and welcome drinks of Tropical Juice were served, after which everyone proceeded to the dining rooms (yes, dining rooms!) for a sumptuous meal that began with a Garden Fresh Salad with Grilled Pineapple that was just freshly tossed in citrus honey dressing by Mrs. Guerrero and an appetizer platter of Chicken and Almond Fingers and Shrimp Patties served individually. The Chicken and Almond Fingers form part of the new menu item of Cravings called Mommy and Me. The other part of the new dish, Chicken Lollipops, was also served on the table for everyone to taste.
Chafing dishes for the main course teemed with generous servings of Shrimp and Salmon Skewers, Steak Fried Rice, Baked Fish in Olive Oil, Roast Beef and vegetable sides. Served on the table were generous amounts of Steak ala Pobre, Chicken ala Pobre and Chicken Wings with Garlic Aioli.
Then it was time for dessert – of which Cravings is really strong at. The dessert buffet was an awesome display of what Cravings had to offer in terms of dessert. There was a whole Mocha Praline Cake, which, according to Badjie, was one of the very first cakes that she baked for Cravings, plus a whole Peach Chiffon Cake. Also laid out appetizingly on the dessert table were Choco Banana Muffins and assorted cupcakes and mini cakes. I got a Choco Banana Muffin, a small cut of Mocha Praline Cake and just a mouthful of the Mini Cheesecake. The Choco Banana Muffin was very interesting, because it looked every bit like a simple Banana Muffin on the outside, and yet on the inside it was loaded with chocolate chips. The banana and the chocolate went beautifully together. A combination made in heaven.
Over cups of Cappuccino and Hot Tea, the mother-and-daughter team behind the successful Cravings Group had a tête-à-tête with members of media, recalling their journey from the time Cravings was just starting out, with only seven employees (already including Mrs. Guerrero and Badjie), to what it is today.
They also talked about the special commemorative menu that Cravings is offerings diners this whole anniversary month of October as it celebrates its 25th year in the business. One is Throwback Cravings, which will have Cravings Group stores dressed in ‘80s vibe and offering commemorative treats, including dishes that will be sold at their original 1980s prices. From October 16 to November 16, 2013, there will be a special Silver Cravings promotion which will feature 250-peso silver plate dinners including an assortment of Cravings classics and a commemorative Cravings-branded Keepcup to be given to diners with single receipts of Php2,500 and up.
And – what do you know? – after today’s special 25th anniversary lunch, everyone went home with one of Cravings’ signature cakes, Choco Caramel Cake. Delish!