Just Like My Yaya's
Here’s some trivia: When inviting friends over, I usually resort to Chinese take out, pizza or fried chicken (with extra gravy, please!), whichever will reach my home in less than 30 minutes.
However as of late, I have been feeling a tad embarrassed with my lack of effort. I mean, how far is alcohol and a pleasing personality really going to take me with my friends and family?
Luckily, I know people who cook. People who cook well. People who have a passion and love so strong for homemade meals, that their generosity brings them to share these dishes with (kitchen-illiterate) friends like me.
My kumare, Katrina Stehmeier launched her catering business a year ago and since, received an overwhelming response from peeps all over the Metro. Yaya Lola provides a catering service which serves scrumptious, comfort food favourites, inspired by family recipes she grew-up enjoying.
What sets Yaya Lola apart from fancy restaurant take-out or pre-packed frozen party dishes is its authentic home-cooked, hearty goodness. Katrina plans, prepares and cooks each dish in their home kitchen in Alabang.
Yup, it is that time of year again. Christmas is just around the corner. A number of holiday parties, obligatory gatherings and last minute potlucks are definitely in your stars in the upcoming months. So, what if I told you that even after an 8 hour work day, the potluck dish you provide would be a fresh, homestyle, home-cooked meal actually made in a home? A dish so heart-warmingly delicious that every insecurity you had about your potluck contribution would dissolve into your champagne? What if you could spare yourself from an overused apology like; “Sorry, I had to buy my share. I had a full day and I didn’t have time to prepare.” because of the confidence in the food you would be serving?
Now, although I have been tempted to do so, I've never pretended to have made these meals when serving them to friends. But, I did chat-up Katrina about her newest food venture and she shared a brief look into Yaya Lola’s vision behind the concept of home-cooked catering.
Why did you decide on the unique name "Yaya Lola"?
“My family has been blessed with our nanny, "Yaya" who has served our family for 54 years. She played such a humongous role in raising me and my siblings that we consider her to be our second mother. Then, when we started having children of our own, they started calling her "Yaya Lola". The name just stuck.”
Nikki's thoughts: "Crap! I can barely keep a house helper employed for months at a time and this amazing lady devoted her life to serving this family. 54 years? Seriously. Where have all the cowboys gone?"
What are some special lessons outside the kitchen “Yaya Lola” has taught you?
"Yaya is extremely hardworking and selfless. She has never put her comfort or interests ahead of my family’s. I am extremely grateful for her kindness and generosity. As a child, her actions taught me empathy; to always be kind to people and never to take advantage of a situation."
Nikki’s thoughts: *gulp*
What does a home cooked meal mean to you and your family?
"My family loves food. While most people eat to live, our family lives to eat. Cooking, tweaking and experimenting in the kitchen has always been a family past time, especially with Yaya and my older brother Richie. We rarely eat out in restaurants because when you are able serve meals that satisfy your tummy as well as your soul, there is nothing urging you to look elsewhere. Yaya's dishes are so delicious. Eating at home always brings our family together. Dining together encourages our family to bond and catch-up while enjoying the dishes that she serves."
What do you enjoy so much about cooking and being in the kitchen?
"Cooking and creating unique dishes is therapeutic for me. I am in my element when I am in the kitchen. I feel a thrill when rummaging for different ingredients in my fridge and pantry then finding ways to use these to create something my family will enjoy. I also enjoy following recipes while adding little somethings to make it my own."
Nikki's thoughts: "Did I mention Katrina lives a few short blocks away from me? I wonder what she is serving for dinner tonight."
What are some of Yaya Lola’s most popular dishes?
"Our best seller is most definitely, Paella Valenciana. I learned this recipe from my older brother Richie. He always looks forward to this when he visits Manila from the States."
Nikki’s thoughts: "Authentic, Spanish goodness - topped with good stuff, like chorizo, baby corn, and prawns. Then the tutong - the crunchy stuff at the bottom of the paellera… No words." *hungry*"
Garlic Parmesan wings: "I created this recipe on my own. I started serving it to my family until it became a household staple. Then friends and family started requesting I bring it over for potlucks. So, I decided to add it to our menu."
"Our creamy baked spaghetti is served during every gathering in our home. I grew up eating this dish."
Nikki’s thoughts: "Yes. This. Is. Epic!"
"My personal favourite dish is callos. We have been cooking callos for as long as I can remember. And although tripe is an acquired taste, people also seem to enjoy the other ingredients in the mixture. The hearty richness of the fresh tomato-based sauce, crunch of the garbanzos and texture brings me so much comfort."
Nikki’s thoughts: "The truth? I am a squeamish eater. But, Yaya Lola’s callos made me a convert. When you dip a broken piece of warm, French baguette into the special sauce... Winner!"
Yaya Lola is my solution to last minute gatherings, holiday parties and potlucks. No chance I will allow myself to stress about food.
What is the price range of your dishes?
"Average cost of a dish is P1600-1800. Most orders are prepared for 12-15 people. But, half orders are also available, good for 6-8 guests at an average of P1,100-1,300. My portions are generous. Clients are always surprised how many people my servings can feed. I’ve provided food for baptisms, birthday parties, company gatherings and simple potluck events."
"Funny enough, I have also been requested to deliver my dishes to families with no special occasion to celebrate. They are just craving for something unique and different."
Nikki’s thoughts: “What a relief. It’s not just me.”
Yaya Lola’s menu and information can be requested through email, firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook or mobile phone, 0918-944-6803. Kindly allow 2-3 days lead time for food orders.
Delivery around Metro Manila available subject to charge. Free delivery around Alabang area.