How has your business been affected by the Corona Virus?
Where do I start? I will have to say I am a first time restaurant owner with passion for food and cooking and so is Marilu. We acquired A Matter of Taste in November 2019 and I reached out to a few people asking for mentorship without success, so we went along, taking classes and learning how to manage a restaurant. We were finding our way and COVID brought us fast-moving and unexpected changes. I didn’t have the expertise to develop an incident management plan specific to the restaurant, I was struggling making a long term plan and I was not prepared to handle such curveball. We had to learn fast. Nevertheless, the main factor COVID took away was our interaction with our customers. Some would come in at 11:00 and won’t leave until close. They felt comfortable in the restaurant. They shared their stories, their struggles and a time or two, their tears. We value and treasure those moments, and I hope we will get them back.
What does your business mean to you?
I first acquired the restaurant for the commercial kitchen potential. Marilu has been baking for 20 years and had a cottage food license, but a restaurant wanted to carry her cakes, so she needed a commercial kitchen to sell to third parties. I saw the opportunity of investment and I jumped in. It has since embedded in our passion for cooking, baking and serving. It is very satisfactory to see and hear people enjoy our food. It is meaningful, it is satisfactory; it is complex and allows us to master new skills, it has direct connection between effort and reward. Our customers being or greatest payoff, hearing their stories, getting to know them by first name and in a personal level. It means building relationships. My vision is to become the Chez Panisse of the Central Valley.
My mission is to provide our customers with a place to gather, hearty meals, and exquisite desserts to celebrate life’s special moments.
What have you done to survive during this time?
We were originally offering to-go dinner once a week. During the first round of the SIP order, Marilu had the brilliant idea of offering them daily. This beloved community has been very supportive and welcomed the dinners very well. We will forever be grateful. They have also welcomed our grazing boxes. I think innovation can better describe what we have been doing. Thinking outside the box. A few weeks ago, the Ripon Chamber of Commerce approached us stating The Vault needed to serve meals to open, so I said “let’s help them reopen”. We started collaborating with The Vault last week, and it has been great!
How do you keep a positive mindset during this difficult time?
I believe there is plenty for everyone in this abundant universe. “Ask and you shall receive”. Whenever I start feeling worried I ask, and an idea pops up, a suggestion comes through, the right person comes to help and so on. I trust, and I surrender. Tap into the knowing that there is something bigger than me that will guide me, and I am grateful for all the blessings. I trust we will be provided for as I see A Matter of Taste growing stronger. It is in this trust and gratitude that we love providing meals for our first responders as well as those in need.
How has this affected your family?
My full time job has taught me to compartmentalize and I don’t let affect my family or friends, tough Marilu and I some times have difference of opinions in the menu choices, but that is why sisters are for, isn’t it?
Why do you like doing business in Ripon?
The sense of community. I have lived all over and only superficially knew my neighbors. Everyone is comfortable opening up and being vulnerable. It is like having one big, extended family!
How can we as a community help you?
A Matter of Taste was established in 2016, yet very few people know about it. Continue sharing your experience with our food, let us know how are we doing and how we can better serve you. A mentor who can show me a few ropes would be nice though 🙂
Anything else that you would like to say?
COVID continues to evolve. We need to shift focus to strategies that support business while stabilizing the “new normal.”
Check out “A Matter of Taste” for Lunch or Dinner. They also do catering.
The lunch menu is constant and some items carry over to dinner. Dinner specials change daily except Mondays when they offer family style meals of either roasted chicken or tri-tip.