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Gladys and Christopher’s catering business adapts to the new normal

RAZZLE-DAZA – Pat-P Daza – The Philippine Star

September 6, 2021 | 12:00am

Last week, I attended a pocket meeting where our gracious host had food catered for the occasion. We were served crispy kang kong leaves with garlic mayo dip, asparagus wrapped in bacon, seafood pasta with white sauce and chicken tandoori.

Pleasantly surprised at how delicious the food was, I asked the waiter who the caterer was and he proudly replied that it was Sommereux (pronounced as “som-me-ru”) Catering, which is owned by husband and wife showbiz couple Christopher Roxas (his real last name is Sommereux) and Gladys Reyes.

Gladys is still best-known as Clara, the villainess from the hit ‘90s teleserye Mara Clara. In fact, it was on the set of Mara Clara that she met Christopher, becoming childhood sweethearts until they tied the knot 17 years ago. They have now been together for 28 years and have four beautiful children.

After tasting the delicious food of Sommereux Catering, I immediately reached out to Gladys and asked if I could interview her. Here is our exchange:

How did your catering business start? Did you take formal cooking lessons?

“Our business, Sommereux Catering (Instagram/Facebook @sommereuxcatering), started in February 2020. It was my husband who studied culinary arts and since cooking is his passion, it was his idea along with our partners — Chef Mike and his wife Jeanne Lacuesta — to go into the catering business.”

What are your specialties?

“For our events, we offer continental cuisine. Our guests can sample from the major cuisine classifications. We get very good reviews for our pasta dishes and beef dishes, like our beef ribs in red wine reduction, beef au jus in champignon sauce and our roast beef with peppercorn sauce. For our food deliveries, our bestsellers are cochinillo (which is served with four sauces), lechon pork belly, baked salmon and seafood paella. They are among our most ordered dishes. We continue to discover our clients’ menu preferences so we can serve them better.”

How is business during the pandemic?

“We still offer intimate catering celebrations and make sure we follow all safety protocols. We feared that we might have to cease operations, but we found a new opportunity by establishing the food delivery brand Sommereux Table, where home celebrations are encouraged. We have several party packages for a gathering of five people to 30 people. We also found out that our beloved OFWs needed this kind of food delivery for their families here. They order our party packages and have them delivered to their loved ones. This inspired us to bridge relationships between family and friends. Our corporate boxes started recently when a client needed to send food to several of his officemates while conducting their Zoom meetings. Aside from the food, we also handle the logistics.”

Any tips for would-be-caterers or those who want to go into the food business?

“Aside from being knowledgeable with food tastes, preparation and presentation, one of the most important things in catering is the attitude to serve. Food and service create the brand that clients trust. If you want to go into catering, be ready to be very busy, tired and pressured to satisfy your client since that is a special day of your client. To start, you can create your own menu and plan how to serve clients. It is important to train your personnel for they are your frontliners.”

What was your most unforgettable experience since opening your catering business?

“Just after a month of launching Sommereux Catering, we had to stop because of the lockdown. All our bookings, events and gatherings got cancelled. It was in June that we decided to adapt to the new normal so we thought of bringing Sommereux food to tables at home and started with food deliveries. I had to multitask. I am in charge of marketing, I talk to customers and clients, and I reply to all inquiries. I make sure I satisfy and grant all their special requests, including sending video greetings to the celebrants!”

How hands-on are you in the business?

“It’s a team effort. My husband and our partners are hands-on with the menu, recipes, what food to offer and operations, while I help with the marketing and promotions.”

How is your family adapting to the new normal?

“I work from home, hosting my Net 25 show Moments via Zoom. I facilitate acting workshops online to clients from different parts of the world like France, the Middle East, USA, etc. We also started our meat business called That’s EntertainMeat (Instagram @main.thatsentertainmeat), which my sister Janice coined (with me being a former That’s Entertainment member, we found it catchy). We offer marinated frozen meat products (tapa, tocino, chili chicken, pata tim, lechon kawali and crispy pata). My husband thought of not just selling it but also offering it for distributorship and reselling to help those who want to start their own business.”

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