With his trademark panache, Ricky Gutierrez launches a book, “Behind the Doors of Chateau 1771,” to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Chateau 1771 last May 18. Available  for only P 650 at 1771 Group of Restaurants’ Chateau, Sentro, Cafe, SideBar, and WineBar.

Ricky Gutierrez chose a risky, creative business in post-Martial Law Manila instead of a safe trading job in the United States. Chateau 1771 was built on the grounds of his old home. He went into the restaurant business cold – not knowing anything about it, relying on his guts and instincts more than anything else.

A life that revolves around food and service is both delicious and challenging. This is the life that Vicky Pacheco chose. From Ecole Les Roches and Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland, she managed an upscale Filipino restaurant in California, then headed home and found herself in Chateau 1771.

 “Behind the doors of Chateau 1771” chronicles the restaurant openings, new menus and new kitchens, changing interiors and life lessons the two have racked up over 25 years. It is a road map for others wishing a restaurateur’s creative, unpredictable life.

The book is not just about their story. It opens up the world they created. It holds a roomful of stories as different people recount their experiences working for and with the Chateau 1771 Group.

The kitchen is Vicky’s favourite room, the place where she is most comfortable. The book is a rare look inside a restaurant kitchen. “Much Ado over Valentine’s Day” reveals the demands of a full house on the cooks. There is camaraderie among Chateau’s kitchen brigades even with Vicky’s strict rules in place. Cooks can convey so much with their expressions and body language and still obey the ‘no talking’ rule during service!

Vicky calls her cuisine No Borders – and the book retraces her many journeys to learn about and sample different cuisines. Imagine discovering Europe through Vicky’s eyes and with her palate!   Vicky rides planes, trains and even disreputable vans to reach the unusual, artisanal places in different continents. In Vicky’s hands, classic dishes are transposed into something new and exciting for the modern Filipino palate.

Vicky once wrote to a younger chef, “Take advantage of everything you learn.” A creative person cannot help but be constantly amazed and challenged by what the world has to offer. Chateau’s high standards compel its staff to hone their skills and develop their character. The front of the house demands grace and personality to meet the expectations of the restaurant’s guests. First, constant recruitment, then, rigorous training, go into creating a service staff that is genuinely attentive to Chateau’s guests. This discreet, caring service allows customers to celebrate their milestones and nurture their relationships in a beautiful place.

Ricky is the wizard behind his restaurants’ interiors. Whimsical illustrations and pictures culled from his archives show the evolution of his dining rooms, updated by the wonderful photography of Alan Tuazon. Ricky loves all the details of a restaurant, down to the door knobs and bathrooms. The book follows his meticulous planning and conceptualizing of each space.

Ricky’s passion for food and life and Vicky’s commitment to excellent quality are the book’s compelling themes. It is offered up to the creative spirit in everyone.

Chateau 1771 – Greenbelt 5 is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every Sunday to Thursday and 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 m.n. for Friday to Saturday. For reservations, banquets and catering services, please call 729-9760 to 61 or (0917) 8626467. Chateau 1771 is a member of the Chateau 1771 Group of Restaurants that include Sentro 1771 in Greenbelt 3, Sentro 1771 in Serendra, Bonifacio Global City and Café 1771 in El Pueblo Real de Manila, ADB Avenue cor. Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

25 years of “HAPEE” moments

If the toothpaste you use makes you think of “happy” moments that elicit a “smile,”chances are you are using hapee toothpaste.

Not too many people know that 25 years ago, when Lamoiyan Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Cecilio K. Pedro decided to challenge the multinational companies in the tough dental care market, he actually thought of using “Smile” as a brand name.

And when you smile, you look happy,” Dr. Pedro shared. “Initially, the brand I chose was Smile because when you brush your teeth, you are supposed to smile. When you frown, it becomes difficult to brush your teeth.

However, it turned out that the brand “Smile” already belonged to a multinational company. When they went back to the drawing board, Dr. Pedro figured that the best alternative is the word that describes the feeling of people who smile—happy.

“But I thought ‘happy’ did not seem suitable as a brand, so I changed it from ‘h-a-p-p-y’ to ‘h-a-p-e-e,’ and it became ‘hapee,’ ” Dr. Pedro said.

Dr. Pedro also said using hapee gives the brand good recall because it is familiar to all households in the Philippines and all over the world. “When you say ‘happy,’ people already know it, so the word was chosen and the rest was history.”

Indeed, the 25-year journey that followed for Lamoiyan Corporation was historic to say the least.

Dr. Pedro, started as a supplier of aluminum tubes to become a world-class toothpaste maker. He forged on, not minding the tough competition from the better-funded and well-entrenched multinationals.

By plunging into the business head first, Filipino consumers had an alternative toothpaste, one that is affordable and truly Filipino.

“We introduced good quality toothpaste at affordable prices so that many Filipinos can afford to brush their teeth regularly. We found out that a lot of Filipinos, especially those in the provinces, could not brush their teeth because toothpaste and toothbrush are expensive. That dream pushed us initially and we were not afraid to face the multinational companies because we believe there is this need to help Filipinos, especially those belonging to the poorest of the poor,” Dr. Pedro said.

From day one, Dr. Pedro said they have kept their corporate mission that is to improve the quality of life by bringing essential products within the reach of the common people. The pursuit of this goal brought 25 years of happy moments not just for him but also for those who shared the journey with Lamoiyan Corporation.

“Every year we survive the competition thrown at us and we celebrate each happy moment. Every day that I wake up I consider it a happy moment, thanking God for giving me another day. There are so many challenges and difficulties in this world but it really depends on how you look at life. For me, we are so blessed as a country and as a people. We are fortunate here in Lamoiyan Corporation and we tell the world that yes, we can survive and we can compete with the best of the best in the world,” he said.

Through the years Lamoiyan Corporation has gained the services of so many wonderful people, including the hearing-impaired that make up about 30% of the company’s total workforce. They receive equal opportunities. The company also ensure that proper attention and training are given to equip them for work and life outside of work. “I call them angels sent by the Lord. When I see them, I’m happy because they were provided by the Lord.”

“We have very good experiences with the hearing-impaired, always among the top performers with 6 or 7 of the Top 10 performers of the year coming from them. It is very rewarding and fulfilling to provide jobs to those who are not as fortunate as us. At the same time we are able to promote better relationships and a culture of compassion and harmony inside the company. This, I think, is what makes us different from the world and this is what we believe is making a difference for the glory of God,” he added.

Dr. Pedro believes these “happy” moments and a positive outlook are instrumental in building Hapee Toothpaste and Lamoiyan Corporation. From its humble beginnings 25 years ago in a small facility in Paranaque City, Lamoiyan Corporation now boasts of creating over 30 flavors of hapee toothpaste.

The company also expanded its operations to include household and personal care segments through brands like Kutitap, Dazz, and Licealiz.

Beginning this year, Lamoiyan Corporation is set to introduce quality and affordable products to other countries.

“We are very bullish about 2013; we believe this is the year when we will grow faster than before. This is the year where we will probably also explore exports into other countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, by the grace of God. We will again be facing the multinational companies so hopefully we will gain some footing (there) in the very near future,” Pedro said.

Who knows? In the next 25 years, probably the rest of world will also get to experience the happy moments that hapee toothpaste brings to every household.

To know more about how Lamoiyan Corporation gives hope to Filipinos and shares hapee smiles, visit www.lamoiyan.com or www.facebook.com/LamoiyanCorporation.