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French food need not be expensive

LE PETIT Cheri wants to make French food accessible to Filipinos

And so the Curegs, Henry and Edna, went into the printing business to support a rapidly growing family.

Business was good but Edna never forgot her passion for baking, for bread, cakes and food in general.

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EDNA Cureg turned passion into profit

Then she and her husband traveled to France twice, and Edna immersed herself in French cuisine, generally considered among the best in the world. A course in culinary arts added to her knowledge.

“I brought home the (French) experience in the most authentic way,” she says.

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And in June this year she inaugurated her French café-restaurant “Le Petit Chéri” (lepetitcheri.com/0917-511-0138) at the rapidly expanding Molito Lifestyle Complex along Madrigal Ave., Ayala Alabang. It is a family-run restaurant, with the Cureg children—Krizia, Patrick, Lace and Mackey—helping ut.

FILIPINOS will likely find it easy to fall in love with French food

“My entrepreneurial skill made me choose this,” says Edna. “And this is also our way of honoring their (the children’s) entrepreneurial skills.”

Now, French cuisine like the language, haute-couture and what-have-you, is considered hoity-toity. How do you counter this?

“Yes, French cuisine is considered sosyal, expensive,” the entrepreneur observes. “So we are trying to disprove this, and to show that French cuisine can be less expensive yet tasty.”

Some of the diners are French people who work in a nearby building and who, Edna believes, “are homesick for their food.”

Bestsellers are the lobster omelette, shrimp bisque, coq au vin (chicken with a dash of wine), Chicken Cordon Bleu and Boeuf Bourguignon.

And for dessert you can order the cake 1’Opera, mousse au chocolat, or crepe.

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“We have gourmet chocolate for corporate giveaways, especially this Christmas,” Edna announces.

The Curegs promote their café in their Ayala Alabang community where they have a lot of friends and where, as the entrepreneur laughingly recounts, “we consider ourselves to be the community darlings and we feel the impact of word-of-mouth.” There’s also Facebook and Wi-Fi.

The clientele has been growing, and they have been getting reservations for birthdays, debuts, and baptism and wedding receptions that are simple and quiet. And when I was there, there was this gaggle of Korean women chatting and dining in the mezzanine.

That part of the restaurant is impressive, for it boasts of a mini-library with a collection of well-selected titles: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, all classics. (One of the children, Krizia, majored in literature at the Ateneo de Manila.)

The café is also now into catering and delivering.

The Curegs expect a return of their investments in a year and a half. But to Edna, just as important (if not more so) is the fact that religious groups gather at the mezzanine to chat and “that is one of the purposes God has given me, this place where He can be talked about.”

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TAGS: food, French Food, Le Petit Chéri, Restaurant
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