It all began when the Enhanced Community Quarantine was declared in the Philippines. People couldn’t go out of their houses.

Wanting his children to do something productive during this time, my high school classmate, businessman Dustin Andaya, encouraged his sons to read Grant Cardone’s The 10X Rule.

Having nothing else to do, the two young men followed their dad’s advice.

Halfway into the book, 13-year old Andres, the younger of Dustin’s two sons, became inspired and decided to go into business.

In Alabang, the neighborhood south of Manila where they live, food preparation had been a thriving industry even before COVID-19 hit, and the offerings run the gamut from traditional Filipino dishes to international cuisine.

Because most vendors concentrated on selling main courses, Andres thought it would be a good idea to offer banana cake, as nobody was selling this at the time.

Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, as the case turned out to be, the family larder didn’t have many bananas. What they had in quantity, however, were carrots.

And thus, the business was born.

Andres did have one caveat: “We want to offer food at affordable prices.”

Using his own recipe and with the guidance of his mom June, Andres started baking carrot cake.

He soon perfected his concoction and it was decided that they were ready to start selling their product to the households in the community.

Before long, orders came pouring in, and it was then that older brother Armand came into the picture.

Because their mom June had spent some time in Texas, Tex-Mex cuisine had always been one of her favourites.

“It was something I grew up with and enjoyed,” she declared.

Armand was able to convince June to share her recipe for Texas chili, which was to be their first Tex-Mex offering. Supportive mother that she was, June relented, and Soop Kitchen, as their business became known, got into full swing.

With June’s help, the two brothers set to work studying their mom’s recipes and learning to prepare and cook Tex-Mex favorites like tacos, enchiladas, and the like from scratch.

June clarified, though, that it wasn’t exactly “full swing” in the real sense.

Soop Kitchen only serve Tex-Mex cuisine on Tuesdays, while Andres’ famed carrot cake is only available during Wednesday and the occasional weekend, and that’s only until the stock lasts.

The reason for this, June explained, was that she didn’t want the two to burn out at such an early age concentrating on the business, hence the limitation on their operations.

True enough, as Armand and Andres are, after all, still very young.

Even then, they’ve been quite busy these past few months taking care of Soop Kitchen operations.

Realizing the importance of preparing for the future, Armand advised, “find a way to make money,” and he also said that he’s looking for things to invest in.

The two aren’t completely sure if they’ll continue running Soop Kitchen post-COVID-19, but one thing is certain, they’ve taken their dad’s encouragement and the things they’ve learned from reading Cardone to set goals for themselves and are striving to achieve them.

Soop Kitchen can deliver (in Manila) as long as Grabfood or LalaMove can accommodate the customer’s location.

If you want to take a look at what they offer, head to their Instagram and Facebook pages.

Words by Jigs Arquiza

Jigs Arquiza is a journalist-turned-mechanic who lives on the island of Cebu, Philippines. He’s been cooking since he was 12 years old, but refuses to go professional because he doesn’t want to get into arguments about how authentic his food is. You can follow him on Instagram at @eatssogood