Ipinapakilala ng magkaibigan at magkasosyo na sina Chefs Harlet Ty at Khenny Pielago ang mga kilalang Bacolod snacks sa Australya gaya ng piaya at napoleones.
"A customer told me once that she trusts chubby chefs like me because we know what good food is," tawa ni Harlet Ty.
Gamit ang kanyang pagmamahal sa pagkain at talento sa pagluluto, naka-pokus ngayon si Harlet sa paggawa ng dalawa niyang paboritong pagkain - ang piaya at napoleones.
Nang nagkakilala sina Harlet at Khenny
Nag-umpisa ang ideya ni Harlet na magluto ng piaya at napoleones ng makilala niya ang taga-Bacolod na si Khenny Pielago.
"We were both working as chefs in a hotel. When I found out that Khenny was from Bacolod, the topic immediately went to the piaya because it's my absolute favourite. Whenever we would visit the Philippines, I would fill my suitcase with piaya!"
Mas lalo pang tumibay ang kanilang pagkakaibigan ng ibigay ng Cookery student na si Khenny kay Harlet ang kahuli-hulihan niyang pakete ng piaya.
"I really got to learn about Bacolod food through Khenny. Aside from being a chef in the Philippines, her father also owns a food business in Bacolod.
"We became best friends and really liked working together in the hotel; but then the pandemic happened. We both lost our jobs."
Nawalan ng trabaho ang dalawa at $50 na lamang ang naiwan nilang pera sa bangko.
"We didn't know where to get money for bills. Khenny also needed to think about her tuition.
"Luckily we were given relief goods by the community, like tuyo [dried fish], milk powder."
Gamit ang $50 at relief goods, gumawa sina Harlet at Khenny ng pagkaing magpapasaya sa kanilang mga sarili.
"We made piaya. With the packet of tuyo, Khenny created her signature sauce and made her gourmet tuyo. With the powdered milk, we made pastillas. We then thought - why not sell these online? That's how our business, Mr. and Mrs. Piaya, started."
"That $50 sustained us. We're very grateful we can at least breathe a bit now. We're happy as well that we're getting repeat customers and that the Filipino community has been so supportive."
Naniniwala si Harlet na ang komunidad ang siyang inspirasyon nilang magpatuloy kahit matrabaho ang kanilang mga ginagawang pagkain.
"We do Bacolod piaya which has a thicker bread and more filling compared to the Ilonggo version.
"The piaya can be challenging to do. Because the weather changes quickly in Melbourne and it affects the dough, we have to adjust the recipe every so often. Also, the two of us do everything by hand so it can really be quite taxing on the hands and the arms."
Aminado si Harlet na wala rin silang halos tulog dahil sinisigurado nilang bagong luto lagi ang mga napoleones nila upang manatiling malutong ito kapag dinala na nila ito sa mga customers.
"It's hard work, but this is the kind of food we love. I eat so much of them that I joke that we're running out of products because I keep on eating them," tawa ni Harlet.
BASAHIN / PAKINGGAN DIN