September last year, Kris took her first crack at culinary business with Meat Kris, a food stall inside CommunEATy Roces Food Park, near her maiden network's headquarters in Quezon City. Aside from mouth-watering burgers, the hole-in-the-wall offers steaks, roast beef, fries, among other meals.
The burger patties at Meat Kris are made from scratch by Kris herself. The secret recipe was the product of her hard work—researching, cooking, and tasting everything just to come up with that unique, signature flavor.
Her burgers range from P99 (regular cheeseburger) to P259 (special cheeseburger with 5 patties). You can also customize the burger, or better yet, ask her to make a special one for you. That is, if you're lucky enough to catch the 28-year-old actress manning the stall on the day of your visit.
Here's how the former cover girl established her first burger joint!
What's with the name?
"Meat" kasi sounds like "meet," and you get to do that when you visit Meat Kris. This is not just another business; ito rin yung opportunity na makilala ko ang mga sumusuporta sa akin. May mga nagme-message sa akin na galing provinces na gusto nila kong makita at matikman yung recipe ko, so ina-accommodate ko sila dito mismo. Pag may meet-and-greet din ako, sinasabi ko dito na lang para magkita kami at matikman din nila ang luto ko.
What made you decide to open a business? A food business, specifically?
Before, every after I finish a show, I want to do something different. So naisip ko, what if I get into the food business kasi foodie rin naman ako. Tamang-tama, nauuso ngayon yung mga food parks, so nag-inquire ako sa CommunEATy since I and GMA are very near this area. And ang wala pa sa kanila ay burgers. Doon na nagsimula lahat; nag-research ako, kumain sa mga burger joints, hanggang sa nakuha ko yung gusto kong lasa.
Care to share the secret recipe?
Secret nga eh, ha ha! The recipes and the menu took a whole lot of research, ayaw ko kasi nang may kapareho. Ang dami nang burger restaurants, so what will make yours different is the taste. Kasi lahat naman may cheese, bacon, toppings pero yung patty, yun yung magdadala. And I'm very proud of my beef patties, kasi pag kinain mo siya, para ka na ring kumain ng mamahaling steak. No joke! All I can say is that my patties are made from 100 percent Angus beef.
How did you come up with it?
Noon, almost every day nagfo-food taste ako until nagustuhan ko na yung lasa nung patty. Mula sa texture, lasa, and everything else in between. Nangyari pa na nilalagay ko sa ref overnight yung patties na nagawa ko, then the morning after tinitikman ko kung masarap pa rin siya. And so far, so good! Research lang talaga, and trial and error.
Tell us more about your extensive menu.
The menu changes every month. So kailangan ko mag-food tasting at mag-isip ng bagong combinations regularly. And everything is personalized. Maliban sa recipes, pati naming ng burger combo ako rin ang gumagawa—I want it to relate to my life. For example, I have the “Dream. Believe. Survive Burger” because of Starstruck. I also have the “ImPESTOra,” which is related to my upcoming show, Impostora. Dati meron pang “Little Nanay’s Burger.”
As for the others, lahat yun based sa favorites ko. I love cheese so I made a four-cheese burger and named it “Cheese Bernal.” I got the name from a fan na nag-comment sa Instagram. We also have the “Pizza Burger” because pizza is my go-to comfort food. We change the menu every month para di magsawa ang customers. There’s so much you can do with a burger! And yung taste nung patty ko, not too salty, so masarap mag-experiment.
Aside from the recipe-making and menu-naming, what else is 'Kris' at Meat Kris?
Since first business ko to, I want everything to be personalized. I handle everything, even the designing of the place noon, gusto ko ako yung gagawa. Bumili ako ng materials sa Divisoria, sa mga home centers, etc. I also made the logo, even the drawings, and the menu, I personally wrote it. Maliban sa gusto ko na Kris na Kris talaga ang Meat Kris, siyempre, nagtitipid din ako kasi bago pa lang. So as much as possible, kung ano ang kaya kong gawin, ginagawa ko na. And fulfilling din pag nakikita mo yung finished product na "Wow, I did this."
You have your hands full! How do you juggle your showbiz career and business?
It's really hard! Ang dami kong nakakalimutan, sometimes sa work ko sa showbiz, pag focused ako dito sa Meat Kris. Vice-versa. Ako kasi ang nagde-deliver ng stocks pag umaga, and kumukuha ng inventory pag gabi, and ako rin ang gumagawa ng reports, so pag may shooting ako, nawawala minsan sa isip ko. Mahirap talaga i-balance, kaya ngayong lumalaki na yung business, I finally asked my mom to help me. But as much as possible, if my schedule permits, I do the delivery every day bago ako pumunta sa GMA, and dadaan pa rin ako dito after.
So you didn't expect that this was going to be a serious and successful endeavor?
Noong una, parang playground ko lang sana to, laru-laro lang. Nung tumagal na, ang bigat na ng trabaho! Maliban sa mga nasabi ko kanina, meron pa pa lang mga papers na kailangang asikasuhin: BIR permit, receipts, sanitation, franchise meetings, ako lahat yun. Di ko akalain na ganun. Dun ko na-realize na, seryoso na talaga to.
What's your future plans for Meat Kris?
As I mentioned earlier, the menu changes every month so watch out for our new food items like “Pinoy Burger,” “Burger with Chicken Skin on Top,” “Burger with Salted Egg,” and more! Magkakaroon na rin ito ng bagong branch sa UST along Laong-Laan Road, and in Ortigas near Kapitolyo. Both will open around July and August.
Any business-related realizations?
Doing something that you love, aside from acting, is really fulfilling. Nakakatuwa kasi yung mga tao, di sila pumupunta dito para sa akin; kasi nasasarapan sila sa burgers. May mga customers din na di naman ako kilala, then magugulat sila na ako pala yung may-ari. Marami rin akong nakikilala outside of my showbiz life. I gained so many new friends, and there's so much you can learn from other people, at yun yung mga customers ko.
Do you have any advice for aspiring businessmen?
Make sure it's something you love to do! Dapat mahal mo yung product mo, and everything else follows. At kung kaya mo pang magtipid, tipirin mo na, ikaw na bahala sa lahat, ha ha!
Video and Photo Lian Hammer Dumas