BY: Pilar Mateo

JOEL CRUZ, President and CEO of Aficionado Perfume and Personal Care has recently ventured into the food business.

Launched last October 18, 2020, the TakoyaTea by Joel Cruz flagship store in Sampaloc, Manila, a stone’s throw away from the Aficionado head office and their family house came to be.

The store concept specializes in the combo meal of takoyaki from Japan and Milk Tea from Taiwan thus the word “TakoyTea” was coined and the name “Joel Cruz” was added as suggested by friends and business partners to gain immediate trust and confidence as a spin-off from the success of Aficionado franchising.

The business started by Joel’s family while in the quarantine period was a home-based online business that showed promising results.

He shared it with his friends and business partners and a number of them showed interest to franchise the business. In a short period of time, TakoyaTea by Joel Cruz has sealed a deal with 40 (forty) franchisees located nationwide.

Some franchise stores operated as a home-based business reaching out to their respective community.

Malls were welcoming the concept like SM, Robinson’s, Waltermart, Ayala Malls, and other community malls.

As a mall-based business, the customers are mostly online buyers and mall shoppers for take-out or dine-in.

As innovation and reaching to a different market segment, TakoyaTea by Joel Cruz is now offering a “reservation-only” dining service with an eight-course Teppanyaki Dinner for the intimate group of twelve people minimum priced at Php 1,200.00 per head.

To provide a safe space perfect for dining during the pandemic, Joel offers the poolside area in his own house as the venue to create that outdoor and relaxing ambiance complete with fountains and music to add enjoyment to the freshly cooked dishes over the teppan.

On the menu are steak, shrimp, vegetables, yakimeshi or Japanese fried rice, yakisoba or noodles, okonomiyaki and monjayakis which is a type of Japanese pan-fried batter, popular in the Kantō region, similar to okonomiyaki.

The menu may be customized according to the client’s preference. Wines and liquor are on a B.Y.O.B. basis (bring your own bottle).

What does Teppanyaki mean?

It is a post-World War II style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food or quite literally, broiled on a steel grill. Some believe the tradition began over 200 years ago when families would prepare food together on small hibachi grills.

Others believe it began in the 1900s with teppanyaki chefs introducing the style of cooking. Regardless of which story is true, teppanyaki has evolved greatly over the last hundred years moving from food that was simply broiled on a steel grill to something of an art form.

Teppanyaki chefs are performers as well as skilled cooks and delight diners with their presentation skills with “furanbe” or flambe as the French would call it.

With the restrictions the pandemic has brought upon the foodies, this is a welcome retreat from quarantine and a safe way to savor and enjoy food. After all, food is life.

As the famous and late chef Anthony Bourdain says: “If I were trapped in one city and had to eat one nation’s cuisine for the rest of my life, I would not mind eating Japanese food I love it.”

So, to savor the dishes on the menu, Joel invited his friends and classmates and closest friends in his Teppanyake Christmas Dinner.

We enjoyed it so much. A friend celebrated his birthday. The classmates enjoyed the Throwback Tsikahan. And we, four (Fernan de Guzman, John Fontanilla and Roldan Castro) had a blast wining and dining! Of course, observing health protocols with social distancing and all!

You better try and visit!


For reservations, please call #0949 881 3895 or message via FB “Takoyatea by Joel Cruz”. (30)

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