Espresso: Eat, pray, and make good food

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FULL DISCLOSURE: Jose Aaron Abinosa was a content producer for DNX until he left in March for a full-time creative gig in a big Manila-based company.

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Or, in the case of Jose Aaron Abinosa, slice those lemons, squeeze its juices, and make a mean version of chicken fajitas that you can order when the craving hits you.

It's a wrap. Part of Espresso's service is delivering food -- like these wraps -- to customers in three major cities. | Photo furnished by Jose Aaron C. Abinosa.
It’s a wrap. Part of Espresso’s service is delivering food — like these wraps — to customers in three major cities. | Photo furnished by Jose Aaron C. Abinosa.

Aaron, a Communication graduate of University of St. La Salle Bacolod, had always excelled at anything he does (don’t believe me – ask his teachers and former employers). Driven, talented, and extremely charismatic, he seems bound for the big leagues.

In fact, had the pandemic not struck, he’d be having a metropolitan life just about this moment at the nation’s capital, brainstorming slogans, and drinking espressos in tiny cups.

“I was already committed to a Manila-based company since March. I was just waiting for the last part of my hiring. But then, the pandemic,” Aaron tells DNX.

Yes. The pandemic.

When the call came from the company, it was 180-degree turn. Lockdowns have also locked down flights, and businesses – even established ones – were forced to lay off workers or freeze hiring.

Marketing food -- like the one above -- is one of the skills that Jose Aaron Abinosa, Espresso's owner, gets to practice in his biz. | Photo furnished by Jose Aaron C. Abinosa
Marketing food — like the one above — is one of the skills that Jose Aaron Abinosa, Espresso’s owner, gets to practice in his biz. | Photo furnished by Jose Aaron C. Abinosa

The brainstorming had to wait.

But not the tiny cups of espresso.

Or to make it more accurate, the dream of Espresso.

Eat, pray – and create food

“Food has always been a big part of my life. Cooking is a way for my family to bond especially during holidays and birthdays,” Aaron confesses.

Selling like pancakes. Espresso's food is front and center in its service of providing good yet inexpensive food during the pandemic. | Photo furnished by Jose Aaron C. Abinosa
Selling like pancakes. Espresso’s food is front and center in its service of providing good yet inexpensive food during the pandemic. | Photo furnished by Jose Aaron C. Abinosa

Classmates often remember delectable cupcakes and bite-sized desserts that Aaron would make and sell in between doing production work, filming, and writing scripts, and taking pictures. He would then post those on his social media account.

So no small wonder that, in between jobs, Aaron created Espresso, a blog for food and foodies. Through the blog, Aaron was able to combine two of the things he loves the most – multimedia production, and food.

Aaron, a Communication graduate, has deftly combined his two passions: food, and creative multimedia production, as show in the way he markets Espresso and its products. | Photo furnished by Jose Aaron C. Abinosa
Aaron, a Communication graduate, has deftly combined his two passions: food, and creative multimedia production, as show in the way he markets Espresso and its products. | Photo furnished by Jose Aaron C. Abinosa

When the pandemic struck and dream of joining the big leagues was put on hold, Aaron admits he was “broken”, having been robbed of an opportunity to work in one of the biggest companies in the Philippines. Instead of sulking and blaming the universe, Aaron instead went to Plan B; and was able to turn his disappointment around.

Why not, he thought, concentrate on his project, Espresso, and turn the blog into a full-blown business. Aaron soon became a virtual one-man-team, creating his culinary masterpieces, shoot them, and market them via social media.

It was a no-brainer.

Pretty soon, he was receiving orders and delivering in three big cities: Manapla, Cadiz, and Victorias (his home town).

They have shawarma too.  Creativity finds its way in how food of Espresso is presented, as shown here.  | Photo by Jose Aaron C. Abinosa
They have shawarma too. Creativity finds its way in how food of Espresso is presented, as shown here. | Photo by Jose Aaron C. Abinosa

Dabbling in the culinary arts did not in any way clamp down on his multi-media, and creative skills. On the contrary, food merely became another platform to showcase his creativity.

“Food makes someone really creative — creative with the flavors, the plating, different cuisines combined, even up to the packaging,” he says.

And, the young man is improving everyday.

In just a few months, he seemed poised to compete with the other better-known brands in the food industry.

It is all about timing.

It is dangerous to romanticize the pandemic, true. But it is also unfair not to see how it can become an opportunity for growth, not an excuse to be idle.

Such is Aaron’s case.

“Maybe, I don’t need 10 years to start this. Maybe fate, time, or even this pandemic gave that way for me to realize that this is the perfect time to pursue this dream — to make mistakes, and continue improving as time goes by,” he says.

And while others have given up, Aaron still pushes on.

He, and Espresso are clearly here for the long haul.

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