What's the craziest recipe you've seen created using your product?
I made Chocolate Chipotle Brussels Sprouts. Cut the root end off the sprouts, slice them in half then place in a medium bowl. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with our Chocolate Chipotle Seasoning to cover. Spread the sprouts evenly in a baking pan and roast at 425 degrees until they're charred. Nutty, sweet, savory and little spicy. Try it!
What is something most people don't know about Bondat foods?
The word "bondat," pronounced boon-dut, is our Filipino word for a happy feeling after eating a sumptuous meal. It's kind of how you feel after Thanksgiving dinner whilst comatose on the couch.
What drives your motivation in your day to day?
This is my first food venture and I really want my customers to enjoy the flavors I've created. It's so rewarding to chat with customers at the farmers markets. I love the feedback and hearing about the dishes they create. One dad from the Natick Farmers Market uses our Chocolate Chipotle Seasoning to spike the Mexican crema he makes for his elote - Mexican grilled street corn. I learn something new every time. Coming from the Philippines, I'm inspired by the diversity of food traditions I grew up with - Asian, Spanish, Creole, Cajun, American Southern, BBQ. This business fuels my curiosity to try new salts, spices, seasonings and cuisines.
Why did you decide to start Bondat Foods?
My aunt lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana and gave my mother gave me a copy of "The Louisiana Kitchen" by Chef Paul Prudhomme, the godfather of Creole and Cajun cooking. Every recipe starts with a seasoning mix, typically cayenne pepper, thyme, salt, white pepper, black pepper, garlic, cumin and mustard seed which sparked my taste for bold, brash flavors. As I developed my slow smoked BBQ chops, I was horrified by the high salt content and undecipherable ingredients that mass market spice rubs contained. In a nutshell, I went from tweaking to blending my own seasonings.
What Boston area maker(s) do you admire?
I'm a huge fan of Doves & Figs. Robin Cohen makes her jams from only New England grown produce and has powered her business to Whole Foods, local specialty food shops and farmers markets. She's been so gracious, supportive and a mentor to me. I have boundless respect for the farmers, meat and seafood vendors I've gotten to know at the markets. It takes a massive amount of work to bring the heirloom tomatoes, ribeye steaks and fresh swordfish to customers. On a bigger scale, I really admire Taza Chocolate. They really embody integrity and sustainability from the cacao farmers they trade directly with to the final chocolate products. From the top down, they have been so supportive; Kathleen, the co-founder, helped us with the Taza graphics on our Chocolate Chipotle Seasoning Mix label. The folks in the factory store have been just fun to work with. I want Bondat Foods to be like them we it grows up.
What's so Filipino about your seasonings?
Spices aren't as ingrained in our food traditions as say, India. As an island nation that was influenced by China, Indonesia and Malaysia then colonized by Spain for 400 years followed by America from 1917 to 1946, we have been cooking fusion cuisine for centuries. This ancient food history is reflected in the diversity of flavors we have tried to bring you with our seasonings and our sheer joy of trying new foods.
Photo Credit: Bondat Foods