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Hitting the food campaign trail

Bettina Osmeña is more than just a politician’s wife, she helps microentrepreneurs through Gourmet Corner

Serge and Bettina Osmeña

If you do not see Bettina Osmeña on the campaign trail as husband Serge seeks to return to the Senate, it is not because she does not support his cause.

Bettina has to opt out of the travelling to nurture her growing business, Gourmet Corner, which offers healthy and ready-to-eat dishes.

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She describes her Gourmet Corner at San Antonio Plaza in Forbes Park as more of a Filipino “sari-sari” store carrying a variety of products from all over the country.

“I am helping many microentrepreneurs who cook in their homes,” she says.

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The late-blooming but now full-fledged and full-time entrepreneur has seen her modest business grow that she is considering opening additional branches, possibly in Greenhills and Rockwell.

Gourmet Corner sells frozen vegetarian dishes and healthy snacks, as well as continental foods. It sells artisanal yogurt, different kinds of longganisa, other regional delicacies and imported items.

The mother of four and cancer survivor started working full-time only nine years ago, starting her foray into business by being the distributor of aloe vera products. With her children all grown up—only the youngest is still in school—there was a void that had to be filled. Boredom was intolerable.

“But a nine-to-five job is not for me. I don’t have a solid professional background so I won’t be hired,” she says.

Gourmet Corner at San Antonio Plaza in Forbes Park carries food products from all over the country.

Her illness got her into things that were healthy and that started the aloe vera business. But good, healthy food, particularly vegetarian dishes, were hard to come by.

But since she does not cook, the solution was to find people who did healthy dishes and well.

The next step was to share her discoveries with other people, not only those who are looking for healthy dishes, but also people who do not have the time or, like her, cannot cook a filling and appetizing meal.

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“I wanted something that could be kept in the freezer,” she says, and prepared quickly and without a lot of fuss when needed. Her efforts to provide good healthy food are becoming appreciated by more people. Busy professionals and office workers, housewives and mothers—even those who cook—appreciate having something they could simply pull out of the freezer, thaw and reheat after a hard day at work or when they are too exhausted to make even the simplest dishes.

After nine years of being an entrepreneur, Bettina says she is now hitting her full stride.

“I am amazed at how I have evolved over the years. I am a different person from what I was nine years ago. I am wiser having learned from my mistakes,” she says.

She also finds that “the older you get, the busier you become,” as she proudly proclaims they have now become a two-income family.

Despite his extensive business experience, Bettina says Serge does not meddle in her enterprise, except for occasional financial and business advice. But he is happy and proud of what she has accomplished.

And by the looks of it, she is just getting started. —CONTRIBUTED

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TAGS: Bettina Osmeña, Gourmet Corner, microentrepreneurs
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