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Here's How This Gen Z Entrepreneur Started a Food Business with Only P3000

Gerry Cordero has the recipe for making everyday feel like Sunday.
Here's How This Gen Z Entrepreneur Started a Food Business with Only P3000
IMAGE INSTAGRAM/sundayswgerry
Gerry Cordero has the recipe for making everyday feel like Sunday.

What started out as a conversation over beer has since become a much more meaningful enterprise for 23-year-old Gerry Cordero. One dish at a time, the Ateneo alumnus aims to emulate the nostalgic, tender feeling of a Sunday lunch.

In his book, nothing beats the warmth of an 11 o'clock sit-down meal, with a steaming mountain of rice and an appetizing plate of chicken adobo (with all of its glorious oils floating atop) right in front of you and your loved ones. If the adobo you're having was made by Gerry, it would have some zesty cilantro in it, which is only one of his ways to jazz up some of our favorite dishes.

PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/sundayswithgerry
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In the age of food deliveries and other quick eats, Gerry aims to have anyone who tucks in to his dishes relive that same experience. With nothing but this vigor, a genuine interest in the culinary arts, and a 3000-peso capital, he embarked on this mission with his aptly named start-up, Sundays With Gerry.

How this Gen Z started Sundays With Gerry with only P3000

Mise en place

The pandemic has made a lot of people into instant chefs and business-owners on Instagram. Though, Gerry's humble little business was actually born before the world went into lockdown, and it had the most ingenuine yet endearing beginnings. 

"The very first dishes I cooked [were actually] buttered shrimp and this eggplant dish. I cooked them for my friends who I usually drank with in Walrus [in Katipunan.] [It was] super humble beginnings, like they literally [went,] 'I know you gave [these] to us for free, but, it’s really good and we want to pay for it,'” Gerry recalls.

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PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/sundayswithgerry

At the time, the European Studies graduate was still on the job-hunt, and preparing these dishes were just a hobby for him (like many of us, Gerry loved to binge food-related videos on YouTube, and was inspired by these to get creative in the kitchen.) After some encouragement from his chums, Gerry "winged it" and tried out a juvenile business model with a seed worth only 3000 pesos.

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PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/sundayswgerry

To get things started, he had the help of social media to get the word out, sharing that, "at first, [he] was just posting pictures on [his Facebook] page and saying 'Oh, you guys can buy, [but there's no name to it, it's just me.]'" Thanks to some gracious friends who wanted to boost his reach, he eventually made a community of regular customers from his alma mater.

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PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/sundayswithgerry

Through a group chat, people would place their orders per day, and Gerry would make his way to campus to deliver them himself. He was thankful that his college student clientele were understanding of occasional lateness, since they were aware that it was only him in charge of all the cooking and delivering. From there, his menu grew depending on people's requests, and the informal Sundays With Gerry group chat reached max capacity.

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No piece of cake

But then, as we all know, COVID-19 hit, and for painfully obvious reasons, Gerry had to halt operations. From March to June of 2020, he laid low and tinkered away at his home kitchen, where his only customers were his family (he is, by the way, also a single dad.)

When quarantine restrictions started to ease up a bit, allowing some food deliveries to operate, Gerry jumped the gun and thought of relaunching his food business. Though, he knew some remodelling needed to occur first."Honestly it was like really scary at first," he expresses, "I knew nothing about wholesome family restaurants. It’s a whole new business, [because with] students you can just bargain and it’s super casual."

PHOTO BY FACEBOOK/Sundays With Gerry
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Despite this, the young entrepreneur pushed forward with a new era of Sundays With Gerry. This time around, he had daily menus depending on his available ingredients, and was open for deliveries to any buyers on the internet. His offerings can best be described as comfort food that feel like hugs when eaten, with a couple twists here and there. Gerry sprinkles some flair onto our favorite meals by marrying the familiar Filipino tastes with Mediterranean and Persian-inspired flavor profiles.

PHOTO BY FACEBOOK/Sundays With Gerry
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PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/sundayswithgerry

His daily routine starts before dawn and ends well after dusk. He details his one-man team operations for the lunch rush: "Usually I wake up at like 5:00 or 6:00 A.M. since I buy all the ingredients on the day itself. Since I cook here at home, [I also] take care of the baby and everything. I go to the market, check my messages [for] last minute orders, [and] then it’s prep work from 7:00 to 10:00 A.M., and then I cook [afterwards]. [From] 10:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. is delivery time." On some days, he replicates the same exact process but for dinner orders, which at the end of the day, means a pile of dishes that need to be washed before he can hit the hay.

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Bread and butter

It's pretty tough to keep up a business with only one person taking care of cooking, talking to customers and marketing—and not to mention, also being a father. But deservingly, Sundays With Gerry has had its small and big wins over the past year and a half. 

"One is having a consistent menu and I think that really helps a lot. And two is having [the business be] advertised by people like Padilla Cariaso or Marvin Agustin. [Having Marvin notice me] was a really good break kasi it really got my word out there." It was in the early days of Gerry's relaunch that the actor featured Sundays With Gerry on his YouTube channel. Since then, publicity for the brand grew, and more and more people started to reach out and follow its social media pages. It's growth that Gerry describes as a "domino effect." 

PHOTO BY FACEBOOK/Sundays With Gerry
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Though on the everyday basis, Gerry's growing business has milestones worth celebrating. "It seems petty but [what I consider achievements are] more like getting a better refrigerator or getting more pans. Until now I still wonder how I  [get to put out like] 20 to 30 kilos of food a week with only  two stoves. It’s really amazing in a way if you think about it," he tells Preview.

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Looking ahead, the budding businessman hopes to one day be able to have his own commissary to hold operations at, and to perhaps hire a couple extra hands to help run things more efficiently. "I think it’s more of finding the right time to get a place and build my own business [already]. And hopefully it gets to the point na it gets its publicity from celebrities," Gerry expounds.

Bringing home the bacon

The support Sundays With Gerry has had since its group-chat-ordering-system days, up to its more formal, Marvin Agustin-approved model, has been overflowing. Though, it's something Gerry hopes all small businesses get to have as well.

"[Know] that there’s a story behind these small businesses, [that more] likely than not, like me, there’s only one person behind it. [There's] a reason why it’s small because they’re just starting," he says matter-of-factly. "It’s more of funding, [and] at the same time, helping or believing in a dream that could sustain these people’s lives." 

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PHOTO BY FACEBOOK/Sundays With Gerry

Things are just starting for the 23-year-old chef-in-the-making, and he's determined to reach a point where his passion for cooking and his efforts to sustain his family come as one. When it all boils down to it, all Gerry wants to do is to "make people feel na with every order, no matter what time or day it is, they are reminded of Sunday lunches or dinners with family. [With every meal,] I want them to feel like, 'this is home.'" In his own words, his food speaks for itself.

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PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/sundayswithgerry
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM/sundayswithgerry
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If scrolling through this story has got you craving Gerry's homecooked meals, you can place your orders through their Instagram or Facebook pages. 

*Answers have been edited for clarity.

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