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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Anihan Industry Partner Inspires the Graduates

Anihan Industry Partner, Ms. Beatriz Melendrez, Proprietor of Flour Jar, gave the inspirational message to the graduates during Anihan's 29th Commencement Exercises.


Beatriz Melendrez, Flour Jar Proprietor

You’re blessed, young and have so much opportunity ahead. This world is so big and you are given the chance to be what you want to be and where you want to be. With faith, determination, drive and courage you can transform your life. Like I did. Who would have thought that this invisible, lost, and quiet girl turned out to be a business woman.


Flour Jar started last February 2014 as the cookie supplier of Tobys Estate Coffee Roaster and as pastry supplier of Costa Coffee in June 2015.  At present, Flour jar is supplying 15 branches of different coffee shops in Metro Manila.  Flour Jar's products include cookies, cakes, bars, doughnuts, ice cream, and cupcakes.

...Congratulations to the graduates of ANIHAN, your hard work and dedication has finally paid off. Congratulations to your very supportive family, and your dedicated teachers and mentors. You all truly deserve to be here in this moment. 
It is an exciting time to be a Culinary Professional. This excellent school has given you the basics, the tools, and the foundation you need to move forward with your career. You are all very lucky to find your passion at this young age.  I was not very fortunate. ...When I was still in school I was very lost. I was your average girl. I did not excel in school and I did not join any organization. I was the invisible one. I hated participating and speaking in class. So if you went back in time and told me that at age 25, I would be speaking to you all beautiful ladies on your graduation, I will laugh at your face and not believe it. I won’t also believe that I will turn out be a young entrepreneur. Because at that time I clearly had no idea where I was going or where I was headed. 

I am here to give you my insights and point of view as a young entrepreneur. I am just starting out, slowly but surely learning and discovering not only myself but also the business every single day. Finding yourself is not easy. I did not even know how to cook or bake until five years ago. Back then I wasn’t happy with my course. I hated it. ...So I started to pray and dig deep and see what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was very blessed because God gave me His answer right away. After graduation I was forced to ask myself the question, what now? And I bet some of you have that same question in your heads right now. Don’t worry you will figure it out. You’re blessed, young and have so much opportunity ahead. This world is so big and you are given the chance to be what you want to be and where you want to be. With faith, determination, drive and courage you can transform your life. Like I did. Who would have thought that this invisible, lost, and quiet girl turned out to be a business woman. 

When I first started with my business I was the only baker. I did everything, every job in the kitchen. There were days, weeks, and a month when I did not sleep because I had to bake hundreds of cookies and cakes in a small oven that can fit one cake at a time and six cookies at a time. I had no mixer, I had one bowl, and one cake pan, and one to three cookie trays. Imagine how long it took me to finish so many orders. There were so many days spent crying to the point of giving up because the stress was just too much. I kept telling God this is too much. Why did you choose this path for me. Why am I stuck in the kitchen while my friends are having a good time, drinking and dancing. Ayoko na. Ayoko na!!” Yan yung line ko lagi. Pagod na ko!! But God had his ways. Every single time I would feel alone, tired, depressed and giving up, He sent me my angels to help me and remind me to keep going. First, my parents. They would always be there to help me, support me and put everything on hold just so I can meet the orders or workload. Truly, they are the reason why I am succeeding. I am so lucky to be their daughter. They give so much and expect so little in return. Please do appreciate all the support your parents give you. It is not easy but they do this because they love us. 

Second are our house helpers; they would always have my back and would assist me in baking. Sometimes when I’m having a hard and long day and I would see them so determined to work, it gives me so much inspiration. I was given this opportunity for a reason. God gave me this huge responsibility not only to have a successful business, but also to help others. So now every time I’m stressed from work, I tell God, thank you! Thank you for giving me this job. Thank you for making me an instrument and to be able to share the blessings you give me. So remember in time of trouble and on the verge of giving up… think about your own angels. Think about the people in your life who offer you a helping hand. No matter how small it is. Because that’s God. He will never leave your side.

I’m very excited for you all to experience this journey. To be a baker and pastry chef is not for the faint of heart. You need to be strong physically, mentally and emotionally to be in this career. As you can see from your on-the-job-training, it was not an easy job to be in the kitchen. You had a taste of what it will be like in the real world for the past 3 months. Usually people would tell me “Ang sarap naman ng trabaho mo ang dali dali bake ka lang ng bake araw araw”. Hindi! Mahirap, mainit, nakakapagod, nakaka-drain, nakakatakot, nakaka-pressure, nakaka-stress.” Wala kang tulog, hindi mo alam nakatayo ka na ng 8 hours” Minsan sisigawan ka pa na mali-mali ginagawa mo. Sa kitchen totoo ang mga tao. Sasabihin nila sayo kung pangit yung ginagawa mo, at kung gusto nila. Madami kayong makikilala na chefs, employers, co-workers na iba-ibang ugali. Isang araw mare-reject kayo at sa susunod mapupuri naman. Baka makita mo sarili mo umiiyak or gusto na mag-quit. Pero 'wag, 'wag ka susuko. Lagi niyo panghawakan ang mga pangarap niyo. Kahit ang pag-iisip at prioridad niyo sa buhay magbago man, lagi niyo panghawakan ang inyong prinsipyo at pangarap. Kasi 'yan ang magpapaalala sa inyo kung bakit kayo nagsimula at kung saan kayo papunta. I'm telling you there are so many possibilities and opportunities for you all. You just need to have a goal and a dream. Don’t be afraid to dream big!

Itong profession natin ay hindi madali. Kaya hangang-hanga ako sa inyo kasi kahit sobrang bata niyo pa nakikita ko na sa mga mata niyo yung apoy at determinasyon na gustong-gusto niyo maabot ang mga pangarap niyo at umangat sa buhay. Ayan ang isang characteristic ng pagiging Anihan Graduate. Masipag kayo, maabilidad, mapagmahal, masayahin, at madaling katrabaho. 

...Ito ang mga tatandaan niyo, panghawakan niyo ito. Una, “Hardwork beats talent”. Sa kitchen o trabaho, minsan hindi sapat kung gaano ka lang katalento mag-bake or magluto. Kung saan ka nag graduate, kung ano grade mo, or kung saan ka galing. Nakikita ng mga head chef or employers yung attitude mo magtrabaho. Your hard work, willingness to learn, go the extra mile, really make an effort to improve your skills and techniques.

Next is, it is okay to make mistakes. 'Wag mo dibdibin kapag napagalitan ka or nasabihan na mali ginagawa mo. Kasi sa pagkakamali ka matututo. Sa pagkakamali ka tinuturuan. Parang ako, ilang beses na 'ko nakatapon ng caramel kasi lagi nagsusunog. Ang dami kong natapon na cookie dough kasi naging matigas or naging masyadong malambot. Madami akong nasayang na pastry cream kasi magalasgas yung texture niya. Pero sa mga pagkakamali na 'yan natutunan ko rin kung pano gawin yung tamang caramel, tamang chocolate chip, at tamang pastry cream. Kaya wag kayo matakot magkamali. Parte ng trabaho rin natin magkamali. Pero minsan lang, basta 'wag lagi. Kapag nagkamali ka na 'wag mo na uulitin. Always strive to make it a point to succeed.

Third is to keep learning. Graduating from college is not the end of learning. In the food industry you will see constant change and new trends or flavors. Make it a point to do research on this. Your chefs will appreciate your efforts.

Fourth is to respect. Respect your chef, peers and customers. Respect the rules in the kitchen. If you decide to work for someone, make sure to abide all the techniques that they will teach you. You may learn so much from one chef or you may disagree. It is a matter of finding the best mentor, chef or employer who will push you to be the best you can be. Respect not only your supervisors but also the recipes that they will trust in you. I’m telling you all the recipes come from sweat and blood. It is not easy to make a recipe. Respect this. Respect the food, each ingredient, each equipment in the kitchen. Respect the workspace. The owners will appreciate this because that kitchen, store, cafĂ©, or restaurant is their baby. Treat it well, love it well, and take care of it.

Lastly is pray and be generous. Always pray, give thanks that you are blessed with your life. And give back; share your blessings to your family and the needy. The more you share your blessings the more you will be blessed. 

You must learn from all of your experiences, positive and negative. You must constantly sharpen yourself. You must remember that even the sharpest knife will become dull and virtually useless if not sharpened regularly. 

Good luck, dream big, work smart, love your work, give back, be passionate about food and prosper!


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