Inspiration

This Caterer Can Teach You and Your Household Staff to Cook Fabulous Meals At Home

Inside the world of Sari Jorge, founder of 25 Mushrooms Kitchen.
IMAGE DIX PEREZ
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Sari Jorge, the founder of 25 Mushrooms Kitchen, talks about entertaining at home, dream dinner guests, and collecting art.

What time did you wake up today?
7 a.m. 

What’s the first thing you usually do when you wake up?
I have coffee with my husband Roy. 

What was for breakfast?
A croque madame prepared by my 14-year-old daughter Rianna.

Wardrobe staples?
COS for high-quality basics, Anthropologie for unique pieces with an artisanal touch, and Joseph for modern classic pieces I can keep for a long time.

What three pieces from your closet do you use the most?
Uniqlo denims, a COS shirtdress, and an Anthropologie maxi-dress.

Signature accessories?
Vintage jewelry from my mom. 


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Sari Jorge at home

What fragrance are you wearing?
Jo Malone London’s Nectarine Blossom.

How do you stay in shape?
I try to eat healthy. I also swim once a week and try to play squash as often as I can. 

Other consuming passions?
Collecting art and Philippine antiques. 

How often do you entertain?
We entertain once or twice a month. We like to keep it casual.

What are your entertaining staples?
A good cocktail to start with, and a spread of jamon, manchego, and some pintxos.

Your tips to a memorable meal or celebration?
The menu should always include something out of the ordinary apart from standard favorites. Whenever I travel, I do my research to learn about food that’s unique to the places I visit. I always make it a point to bring home specialty food or ingredients and serve them to friends whenever I host dinners at home. It also helps to come up with unique and creative ways to present food, so I keep a collection of table accessories, decor, and props.

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How do you prepare for an afternoon or evening of entertaining?
I try to prepare the food ahead. On the day itself, I go to a local market for flowers, and then prepare the buffet table. I like fuss-free entertaining.

What’s your favorite meal to serve your guests?
Everyone loves prime rib roast.

Meal accompaniments?
A selection of sparkling, red, and white wine.

Dream dinner guests?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, or the Kardashian family.

What periodicals and magazines do you read regularly?
Town & Country and Gourmet Traveller.

What are you reading right now?
Yes Please, by Amy Poehler.

Who is on your current playlist?
Adele, Sam Smith, and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Tell us about 25 Mushrooms Kitchen.
We’re a recreational school catering to beginner cooks who want to learn the basics of cooking. We offer kids’ cooking classes, absolute beginner courses, and household training courses. Since I’m in the catering business and entertain often, friends used to ask me if my catering chefs could teach their helpers how to cook. I started with a small group, and it just got bigger and bigger. That’s when I decided to open a cooking school at our village park. Now I have two branches of 25 Mushrooms Kitchen—at Valle Verde 5 and at Molito Lifestyle Mall in Alabang.

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What do you love most about your venture?
It’s fulfilling when people tell me how I’ve helped transform their everyday meals at home into something more pleasurable and special.


A spread prepared in the 25 Mushrooms Kitchen style

Fill in the blank: If you were not an entrepreneur in the food industry, you would be…
An interior designer.

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Why food?
I ended up going to culinary school only after I finished college, but I think I always had a love for food and the art of cooking. The passion grew as I got older. 

What is your earliest memory of food?
My mom has been in the catering business ever since I can remember. My dad was also very fond of cooking. As a child, I grew up spending a lot of time in a busy kitchen watching, cooking, or baking with my sisters and cousins.

Favorite restaurants?
Asador Etxebarri, Mott 32, Sala, and M Dining.

Favorite chef?
Suzanne Goin is my favorite. Here, I have deep respect and admiration for chefs Colin MacKay, JP Anglo, Gaita Fores, and Tippi Tambunting. 

Favorite trends in food?
The farm-to-table movement and salted egg.

Food trend you’re not so fond of?
Rainbow-colored food.

Favorite cheap eat?
Takoyaki and shawarma.

Favorite splurge?
Jamon Iberico.

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Signature drink?
An aperol spritz.

Where would your last meal on Earth be?
At home with family, with a wonderful spread of all my favorite food.

Guilty pleasures?
McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin with egg.

Best decision of your life?
Marrying my husband.

Greatest extravagance?
A National Artist’s painting from the 1960s.

Pet peeves?
When people spend more time on their phone during dinner than they do interacting with the people present at the table.

Qualities you appreciate most in a partner?
Honesty and a good sense of humor.

Love of your life?
My husband Roy, of course!

Most memorable meal?
At Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo Valley, Spain, with my husband and two kids. The highlights of our degustacion menu were the mantequilla de cabra, queso fresco, gambas de Palamos, and chuleta de vaca.

Describe your idea of a perfect day.
Spending a day exploring a foreign country for the first time with my family. It’s perfect when we find a nice place to eat and enjoy the afternoon.

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What time are you going to sleep?
11 p.m.

What do you hope to dream about?
Anything funny.

Styled by Carole Cuasay-Tagle.

 

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Manica C. Tiglao
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