Chef Ernesto ” Ernie” Mesina Jr. : ESPRESSO CHEF ERNIE MESINA “PERKS UP” TO THE CHALLENGES OF THE NEW NORMAL
As part of its commitment to continuously push for innovation and creativity, TasteSetters, the online community composed of various stakeholders in the local food industry, is conducting the second run of “Age of the New Norms” webinar program. TasteSetters is shining the spotlight on bakeries, cafes and bars, and will be bringing in well-known veterans in the industry to share their learnings and realizations brought by adapting to the new normal.
Bringing in that strong flavour to the discussion is Espresso Chef and Master Barista Ernesto “Ernie”Mesina Jr, a legend in the local coffee scene, with over 29 years of experience serving as a consultant with some of the country’s biggest coffee chain brands. Mesina also serves as an instructor at the Heny Sison Culinary School, and as a trusted and consistent head technical judge in various barista competitions nationwide.
Ernie’s storied career in the F&B industry started at the service crew for various fast food restaurants, before moving on to fine dining at Dome Café Philippines where he was given the opportunity to train as a barista. He eventually got his certification and continued to get mentorship from various international coffee experts. It’s his passion for both coffee and food that will serve as a background to his TasteSetters presentation as he provides a bird’s eye view on how the New Normal pivoted his transition from a trusted consultant to various local chains to establishing his own online food and beverage business.
Ernie admits that the New Normal perked him up to do a complete 360 on his role in the industry, as he needed to adjust from dealing with business owners and operators, to adapting to a direct-to-consumer approach.
The adjustments to the new normal are endless. “Dining experience should be more meaningful in terms of social distancing. Experience should be enjoyed right at the comfort of their home. Staffing and service are now being limited. Pricing must be competitive, because most food service industry operators are now switching to online selling,” he shares.
Due to this, he believes that restaurateurs and hometrepreneurs should be ready and able to adjust to this new reality, “Clients should always be “top of mind. Due to the pandemic, the bar has been raised and we all should be able to measure to it,” he adds.
To do this, he encourages the players in the industry to reach out to their customers and bringing your products directly to them by going online, instead of waiting for the market to respond once again to establishments. Of course, quality control should be observed at all times – regardless if it’s a dining or a delivery setting.
Ernie hopes that the webinar sparked passion among its participants, especially the cooks, chefs and restaurateurs.
He shares, “Always be curious, ask questions and never stop learning. Surround yourself with generous mentors – generous with their knowledge and time. Dreams will only become a reality if you put your heart and soul into it.”
Tastesetters, a community of restaurant practitioners, owners, chefs, purchasing and foodies with the intention to further promote the next taste trends, is back again with its advocacy of promoting innovation and creativity in the local food and beverage industry through its latest round of learning programs.