Fresh from culinary school and hands-on bakery experience in California, Baba Ibazeta-Benedicto returned to Manila and planted the seeds of what would become her successful bakeshop, Classic Confections. Today, nearly 15 years later, Baba sees success in her newest food venture - Nono’s, an inviting restaurant chain serving nostalgic comfort food inspired by her youth.
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Nono’s opened its first branch at UP Town Center in April 2017, and its second branch followed later that year at The Podium. The following year, the group proudly revealed four brand new branches: Three Central in Valero, Festival Mall, Glorietta, and Nuvali. Today they have nine locations that are all bustling with happy customers. This success story all began when Baba opened her bakeshop Classic Confections. "In 2016, I partnered with The Table Group to put up a full-service restaurant featuring the desserts I had at Classic Confections. After trying out a few menus with easy-to-make dishes, we saw an opportunity to make the project more personal, so we shifted to creating a concept that’s centred around comfort food that reminded me of my childhood. [We wanted to] make people feel good and made sure the entire dining experience espoused the idea of home."
However, like most others in the food and beverage industry, Nono’s was not immune from the unforeseen repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though they’ve effectively pivoted their operations and offerings to better accommodate take-away and delivery, Baba reminisces of a time when they were able to provide guests with the full dining experience, bringing people together over familiar comforts in a welcoming atmosphere as she had envisioned.
Despite these challenges, she remains optimistic about the future of the industry, the newfound unity within the community, and what’s in store for her and her restaurants.
Read on to learn about Baba’s culinary journey, how she’s adapted through the pandemic and her insights about the ever-shifting Philippine food and beverage industry.