Camille Ongpauco: Food As The Heirloom
Camille Ongpauco finds joy not only in her successful food business La Petite Bella, but also with the time spent with her daughter whom she named her business after
Camille Ongpauco’s brainchild, La Petite Bella, was all over the Internet at the height of the pandemic. This artisanal food concept, known for its guilt-free snacks and ready-to-cook comfort food, amassed a waitlist of food enthusiasts who were stuck at home. Baked in limited batches and handcrafted treats like Butternut Squash or Moringga Chips distinguished La Petite Bella from a sea of new culinary offerings flooding social media.
The concept was inspired, delicious and reminiscent of heirloom flavors. La Petite Bella was also named after Camille’s two-year-old daughter, Bella. It now happens that both mother and child are fully present and engaged as products from the kitchen are prepped, cooked and packed. “I like having her there while I’m cooking,” Camille shares. “And at the same time, I want her to be exposed to the whole ‘kitchen scene’ at an early age. It is my greatest passion in life and something that I look forward to passing down to her if she chooses to go that direction in the future.”
Camille has always enjoyed being in the kitchen, taking after a family of restaurateurs. Herself now a parent, her dreams and aspirations include watching her daughter fall in love with the culinary arts. And at a very young age, Bella is experiencing a wide variety of flavors through Camille’s cooking. Nutritional value, of course, factor into the menu. Camille adds, “I’ve always incorporated fruits and vegetables with Bella’s diet at an early age. In fact, I think I overdid. More often than not, she prefers to eat veggies and fruits over meat or poultry.”
Apart from passion for food and heirloom recipes, Camille hopes to pass down life lessons and values to her daughter. Time for introspection during lockdown revealed realizations that now inform her priorities as a parent. Camille intimates, “Life is fleeting so I no longer sweat the small stuff. Material wealth can’t buy true happiness. Health is true wealth. If there was one thing I would invest in now, it would be a beach or farmhouse that Bella and I can escape to. It’s something I can pass on to her in the future.” Their future home will most likely come with a large kitchen—good enough to accommodate two passionate cooks.