Jackie Lorenzana: A Balancing Act

As a young mom of two, introducing some of Manila’s hippest and most in-demand F&B concepts is not an easy feat, but Jackie Christian Lorenzana makes it look as easy as pie.

This story about Jackie Lorenzana appeared in the Modern Parenting Mother’s Day and Father’s Day May 2024 issue.

Jackie Christian Lorenzana and her husband Carlo, is the duo behind Manila’s most stylish food establishments: there’s the Japanese-Peruvian restaurant Nikkei, the Southeast Asian joint Sunae Asian Cantina, the Spanish tapas bar Terraza Martinez, and sake bar Sakagura, bringing together worldly flavors in the bustling business districts of the metro.

Yet few would think that she fell into the food and beverage scene mostly out of circumstance after she married Carlos Gordon Lorenzana, from the same Lorenzana clan of Wildflour, Pink’s, and Shi Lin fame.

Bringing her flair to the table

[Food] was not something I really had a background in when I got married to Carlo. Pretty much their whole family, that’s really their background. I kind of married into it, and that’s how it came about,” Jackie shares.

Yet her savvy for coherent and well-curated concepts, together with her husband’s, have catapulted their brands to success. Jackie credits this to their personal involvement in their brands, which are formed out of their preferences.

“Most of the brands that we have brought in are because of us, personally. My husband and I were looking for something that we couldn’t find [in the metro]. There’s quite a lot of Spanish restaurants, but they’re not something that we were really satisfied with…,” she shares.

They now operate 11 restaurants, including their newest acquisition, the charbroiled wagyu burger bar Big Belly Burgers, which hails from Siargao. They also have their hands full with an upcoming concept on the surf island — their first away from the glossy business districts of Manila.

Wearing her momma hat

Life in the F&B scene can be demanding, but Jackie makes time for her sons through prioritizing and time management. “As a mother, I really just know when to put my phone down, when to shut my laptop. Work will always be there. We’re not an eight-to-five job, so it’s just a matter of prioritizing based on what time of the day it is.  My boys are into taekwondo, muay Thai, tennis, etc. I usually schedule my meetings in the morning, and then I set aside my afternoons for them,” she explains.

It doesn’t hurt that their children understand the demands of their parents’ line of work. “It’s something that they have been accustomed to since they were born, so it’s nothing new to them. But we try to take them with us as much as possible. That’s the beauty of it,” she adds.

Part of prioritizing also means picking battles. “As much as you try to be organized, some things just won’t go your way. I’m not gonna let a little glitch make me fall apart. So it’s just a matter of prioritizing what’s important. I keep my head up if something doesn’t go my way,” she adds.

Her guiding principles

As for the main principles that guide her business leadership, Jackie’s kept it simple: know your business, treat your people well, have fun doing it, and never stop innovating. “You have to know your business. You may have a full team, but you have to know it by heart, from the numbers to the kitchen,” she shares.

While being a restaurateur can be rewarding, it’s not for the faint-hearted, and Jackie has advice for those thinking of breaking out into food. “I have a lot of friends who come up to me and say, Hey, can you give us advice? I want to start a small food business,’ because she can cook well. And I’m like, ‘You know what? It’s not just cooking. There’s so much more that goes into it. So to those who want to dive into it, it’s a full commitment so research first and do your homework,” she shares.

And in terms of working with your spouse? “It’s a balancing act,” she chuckles. “It’s a matter of drawing the line between work and home. Don’t forget to have your alone time–away from the job and the kids. And that includes non-work discussions.”

To read the full article, grab a copy of Modern Parenting Mother’s Day and Father’s Day May 2024 issue —available on Download the e-Magazine from Readly or Press Reader for more exclusive features and stories.





Shoot Coordination ANTHONY MENDOZA



More about parents who thrive in the kitchen?

Tricia Locsin-Cheung: Adapting to Changes as a Food Entrepreneur

Elevating a Classic: Nina Daza-Puyat Transforms a Fast Food Staple into a Gourmet Meal

Marvin Agustin Opens Up About Cooking Up a Legacy

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