KooKit Manila presents a beginner-friendly guide to cooking good food
There are a lot of ways Filipinos coped with the stress and anxiety brought by the pandemic. Some opt to focus on their fitness, while others became parents to plants and other greens as they set up their own urban gardens. If there’s one activity that many did during the height of the pandemic, it is cooking. Getting busy with kitchen projects is a form of therapy, for some, with a delicious reward in the end. It also became the lifeline for others as they champion homemade food, both trendy and traditional, through the humble business ventures they have started.
The same can be said when it comes to Joanna Ramos-Scott. A former corporate worker in the fields of accounting, marketing, and advertising, Joanna, known by many as Joey, wanted to do something more. And with her recent discovery of her passion for cooking, she ended up starting her own business which is a first in the capital—a customizable food kit delivery service dubbed KooKit Manila.
“I had other ideas at first such as franchising a food business. How KooKit Manila happened was actually very out of the blue, strongly driven by my recently discovered passion for cooking,” Joey tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “I started Kookit Manila in May 2020 (soft launch) and fully launched it with our website in September 2020.”
What makes KooKit Manila stand out among other food delivery services and enterprises that arose during the pandemic is that it offers a chance for you to enjoy the experience that comes from working in the kitchen without the trouble of going outside or thinking about what to whip up next.
In a conversion with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, Joey shares the story of how KooKit Manila started, what she wants to share with her customers, and the other things the food kit delivery service has to offer to Filipinos.
Hello, Joey! First off, what is the story behind KooKit Manila?
I discovered my passion for cooking not too long ago, around three years ago. Since then, I’ve always found myself searching online or browsing cooking magazines for new recipes to try. Often, I come across recipes that I want to cook but then I don’t have the ingredients so then I search again and again, which then leaves me frustrated. Then last 2020, while on vacation in Australia, just right before the lockdown, I learned about food kits through one of my best friends who live there. She explained how it works and instantly, I thought, why don’t we have that in Manila? And how this would solve my cooking challenges.
But more than a solution or convenience provider, I wanted to be an enabler, especially to those who have just discovered their passion for cooking like me, or maybe even for those who are still thinking of starting to learn, or more importantly, for those who feel intimidated in the kitchen. I wanted to share the happiness I found in cooking and that it is easy to learn, especially with services like KooKit Manila. There’s really no need for formal training, whatsoever. Cooking is for anyone and everyone!
I also wanted to promote and encourage home cooking since I believe it’s still the best option for everybody. But since we are always busy, it often becomes a last resort. I want to change this mindset by making home cooking as easy and fun as possible. Home cooking has so many great benefits. It’s healthier since you use whole foods and fresh ingredients versus processed, and you know exactly what goes in the food you cook. It’s way cheaper than dining out, deliveries, or take-outs. You can also serve it fresh in time for eating. And cooking and/or eating together at home has always been one of the best ways to bond. So I want to promote it as the first and very feasible option for all households in Manila.
What makes KooKit Manila different from other food delivery services we have today?
KooKit Manila is the first customizable food kit delivery service in Manila. As home cooking is still the best option for fresh, delicious, and nutritious meals, we’ve made the whole process easy, convenient, affordable, and friendly even for first-time cooks. To take away the hassle of weekly meal planning and grocery shopping from our customers, we offer a new menu of 10 dishes weekly plus a staple of Filipino and vegetarian menus, and provide beginner-friendly recipes and portioned, fresh ingredients of their chosen dishes in their preferred serving size. Kits can be ordered based on serving size, budget, the number of dishes, and food/diet preferences. Customers can choose between two or four servings and pick at least three to a maximum of five dishes to include in their kits. A variety of flavors are also included in the weekly menu, from Asian, European, Mexican, and Mediterranean, using a complete range of proteins—chicken, pork, beef, seafood—or vegetarian.
While there are similar food kit offers in the market, most of them are already prep’d or pre-marinated or half-cooked already. With KooKit, we really want to encourage and motivate our customers to enjoy the whole cooking process. A lot of the fun and learning comes from the preps—chopping, marinating, creating the sauce, etc.
More than the kits, people should try KooKit for the whole experience of it. The dishes we offer are not your usual everyday dishes, so it’s like dining in a restaurant but the big difference is you cooked the meal yourself. Sometimes, it might be hard to believe that you can put together such delicious and amazing dishes, but we make it all happen and very easy for you. It’s a fun and fulfilling activity to do alone or with your partner, friends, or kids.
Walk us through your kitchen? How does KooKit Manila prepare its kits? Where do you source your ingredients?
We test all the recipes we provide on our menu multiple times to make sure the flavor and process are on-point. We make sure to use the same ingredients for our testing phase, which we serve to our own family and friends, and what we dispatch to our customers. This helps us ensure that the quality of dishes we test and our customers make are consistent in terms of flavor and quality. We source our ingredients both from known reputable stores and vendors and local small businesses like us.
Apart from having a customized meal set, does KooKit Manila offer other services?
Apart from providing households with an easy and fun solution for their weekly food needs, we also cater to corporate events, no matter how big or small. We can mount live cooking classes facilitated by our partner chefs, whether virtual or on-site. We provide the food kits for all the participants as the minimum but we can also handle the logistics and the program for the class. Depending on the number of participants, we can even execute a nationwide event. We can also cater to bulk orders, for whatever occasion or purpose. Basically, we can fully customize it depending on the client’s needs.
How does your client respond to your products so far?
Our customers have been very impressed with our services, from the quality and freshness of the ingredients and the manner the ingredients are packed, organized, and secured to the detail and ease of following the recipes and, most importantly, the taste and flavor of their own finished products. Since we launched, we have been receiving one rave after another. A lot of our customers call our dishes “restaurant-quality”. 95 percent of our customers also come back for repeat purchases and we are also slowly building our pool of regular customers who are ordering week on week.
Why do you think KooKit Manila is a hit for them?
I believe the delight is primarily coming from the fulfillment and satisfaction they feel once they realize that they are fully capable of putting together a delicious, gourmet, restaurant-quality meal by themselves at home and how easy it actually is through KooKit. This feeling extends further since they are able to share the dishes and the experience with their partners, family, and friends. Moreover, the majority of the feedback we receive appreciates the fact that our kits make it possible to have zero food waste since we provide exact portions of the ingredients needed for the recipes. There’s no spoilage, no need to purchase a whole bag or bottle of an ingredient that they won’t really fully consume.
What’s next for KooKit Manila?
Our goal is to make KooKit Manila top-of-mind for every household in Manila when it comes to their food needs. Our future plans include scaling not just within Metro Manila but also to other key cities in the whole country.
Visit kookitmnl.com and @kookitmnl on Instagram to know how you can get your customized food kit.