He’s going back to his life—his usual busy life, which now includes a private dining business.
Once a subject of controversy that threatened to sideline him for good, Puey Quiñones, 34, bounces back by pursuing another passion—cooking. “Even when I was designing before, I was also cooking. I love throwing parties for my friends. I always find reasons to have parties and cook,” he muses.
Quiñones had intended to leave the country, but friend and now business partner Andrew Rivera talked him into staying. The two developed the business concept around Puey’s talent in cooking and fondness for entertaining guests. With only P70,000 in capital, Puey’s Penthouse, a private dining restaurant, was established in March 2012.
“I started telling my friends that I was venturing into business. I invited them to dinner and they were very happy and excited. They like the food and the concept.”
Personal designer touch
The designer’s home in Bel-Air, Makati City transforms accordingly for lunch, dinner, or other events. Depending on the concept that the customer wants, Quiñones makes sure that he gives his personal designer touch. This is his unique offering aside from cooking and plating the dishes for his clients. “I fix the place for them. I have regular waiters and I make sure that they’re presentable. I turn my place into a couture venue and serve couture food,” he says.
At about P1,500 per head, Puey’s Penthouse offers a six-course meal with three sets of menu: Samar, Filipino, and Continental. “Samar is our bestseller. I’m from Samar so I brought in my favorite food growing up, like crispy dilis, my mother’s recipe; humba; and pinangat, the Samar version of laing,” says Quiñones. “I’m the one cooking and I sometimes serve the clients myself. And I explain the dish that I serve, there’s history in it. It’s very personalized.”
Quiñones took a business course at Global City Innovative College to prepare for his new venture. “I was given a one-year scholarship last year. I know how to cook but I didn’t know the technicalities like costing, purchasing, terminology, and the do’s and don’ts of the business,” he says.
Having a private dining business suits his lifestyle and schedule as he is going back to fashion. “Last year, when the business was new, I spent 70% of my time with it and 30% on fashion. But now, it’s becoming 50-50. I don’t want to forget cooking because it gave me the enthusiasm again. I want to balance. I want to do both and I think that it’s very possible.”
Staying true to Puey’s Penthouse being a couture dining experience, Quiñones often has his latest fashion collection on display, fondly referring to the full experience as “fashion and food in one.”
Photos: Jun Rinzon
This article was originally published in the June 2013issue of Entrepreneur magazine. Subscribe to the print or digital version here.