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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mom spreads goodness—in a jar

Like most success stories, it’s the ones closest to us who realize the potentials of what we could offer the world before we do. Such was the case for management expert Marissa Aldaba-Mariano who decided to turn her cooking passion into a business through The Goodness Jar, four variants of spreads that work with anything you pair them with.

“‘This is so-o-o good!’ It was all I heard the first time my mom, Marissa Aldaba-Mariano, served her liver pâté during one Sunday family lunch. It was an instant hit, and has since become the pièce de rèsistance also at potluck parties,” said Marissa’s daughter Paricia.

“Inevitably, people broached the idea of her going into business. With her commitments as a management consultant, Mom would only occasionally package the spread to give away as gifts. Early this year we finally convinced her to take a leap of faith and give the business venture a try,” she said.

After three months, The Goodness Jar was out on the market. It comes in four variants, and is available by order and at selected outlets, like The List Salon in Bonifacio High Street, Island Favorites in Greenhills, and Tommy’s Freshly Roasted Coffee shops in Makati City.

Marissa is banking on her marketing management background to make the business work. Also, while she never had any formal training in culinary arts, she had the best teacher -- her mother, Angelina Hemedes-Aldaba.

“I learned how to be a smart buyer and efficient cook from my mom,” Marissa shared. “She taught me how to select fresh ingredients, from vegetables to fish and meats. She showed me how to use whatever ingredients are available, including leftovers, to create new dishes. Today I enjoy experimenting with basic recipes by substituting ingredients to produce new flavors and textures.”

Marissa’s first love was baking. When she was in high school, she would make cookies and pastries after class and set aside some to share with her classmates the next day. Soon she was taking orders for her chewy cookies; it was a small and short-lived business.  

After finishing Liberal Arts and Commerce, major in psychology and marketing management, at De la Salle University, she worked in a car company and several leading local and international FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) firms for two decades. During this time, she managed to cook only on weekends.

Out of the corporate life, she happily spent her afternoons working magic in the kitchen. Now she is confident about taking her hobby to a new level.

Marissa Aldaba-Mariano (back) with husband Nicky, sons Luigi and Nicolo, mother Angelina Hemedes-Aldaba (seated), and the writer.

“Preparing food for a huge family trained me to plan well, cook in batches, and store food efficiently. Corporate experience helped me to establish basic systems to manage sourcing, inventory, production, order fulfillment, and customer relations. A major difference between cooking for the family and for a market is ensuring consistency. I had to adjust initial production procedures and controls to see to it that taste and quality remain the same, thereby avoiding losses,” she explained.

She has realized that the ability to prepare excellent tasting dips and sauces is not a guarantee of commercial success. It takes a lot of hard work, flexibility and commitment. But with the steadfast support of family and friends firing up her spirits, she is prepared to hurdle roadblocks.

The Goodness Jar comes in four variants – Liver Pâté, Garlic Herb, Creamy Jalapeño, and Pesto Cheese – in 4 fl. oz. and 10 fl. oz. containers. All products need refrigeration, as only fresh ingredients are used and no preservatives are added.

“What's important is to love what you do and to believe that God gave you the dream because He knows you can make it come true,” Marissa concluded.

(For orders and inquiries, email or contact (0922) 881 7007.  Pick-up points are in San Lorenzo, Makati City; Kapitolyo, Pasig City; and West Kamias, Quezon City.  For special recipes and updates, visit and Instagram at @TheGoodnessJar.)

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