Ivan Pelaez started Kusina ni Bange in February with her three children and husband, serving and delivering Filipino food in Fresno and Clovis. Photos contributed by Ivan Pelaez
Written by Edward Smith
One Clovis woman and her family have turned their love of cooking into a catering business serving Fresno and Clovis.
Ivan Pelaez started Kusina ni Bange in February with her three children and husband, serving and delivering Filipino food.
Pelaez prepares the menu for the week, posting what food would be available each day on Facebook. She and her family then cook out of the Clovis Culinary Kitchen, offering free delivery to patrons — from individual orders to larger parties.
A distributor is even bringing their marinated meats to the Bay Area and Southern California.
Their best sellers are the sushi bake, the seafood platter and the bacolod chicken inasal — a barbecued chicken popular in Pelaez’ hometown in the Philippines.
Pelaez says there aren’t a lot of Filipino options available in town. And rather than go through a delivery app, “why not bring the food to them?” she says.
She got the idea to start the business after spending 2020 cooking food for people in the health care industry. Her husband works at a care home facility and she thought about workers there and what they were going through in the pandemic.
“I feel for our caregivers, I feel for our nurses and our health workers in general,” Pelaez said. She started delivering pre-made meals to them. She then expanded and started delivering food to more friends and family. All the while she working at her day job as a field service engineer visiting factories and oil rigs throughout the Central Valley.
People loved her food and suggested she start her own business. She thought about it for a time and eventually filed the paperwork for Kusina ni Bange — after a nickname friends had given her.
She still works at her day job and juggles between that and her catering business. Pelaez loves cooking as does the rest of her family. They each have their own specialty, she says. She says her two daughters and son — aged 18-26 — get excited to work in an industrial space such as the Clovis Culinary Kitchen.
“I never thought they would have this entrepreneur mindset as well,” Pelaez said.
The goal is to start a brick-and-mortar restaurant in the next couple years, but they are waiting to get a feel for the business. She wants it to become big, but she knows the difficulties of upscaling. So now, they limit themselves to what they can do. But they all love the opportunity to cook.
“We love to be in our kitchen, it’s our happy place, it’s our playground,” Pelaez said.