11 Dec2013


How to feed a thousand IDP’s (Internally Displaced Persons) with just 3 hours notice? That was the challenge when the call came one Friday afternoon, shortly after Typhoon Yolanda struck the Visayas, and the first batch of evacuees from Leyte arrived in Cebu. We immediately said yes, we could do it! But when we put the phone down, a mild panic set in. Could we really cook up 1200-1500 cups of rice and a viand and vegetable for 1,000 people in 180 minutes? We serve far less people than that number in our restaurants in a single sitting, so this was certainly a challenge.


But logistics is really just about planning and the efficient use of resources, so here’s how we did it. All branches within 15 minutes of head office, (that’s three of them) were immediately called and told to cook as much rice as they could manage with all rice cookers on hand. As soon as the rice was cooked, it was removed and another batch of rice was placed in the cookers. From our walk-in chiller at the commissary, we took out nearly 70 kilos of lechon sisig and that was portioned by branch and sent out on motorcycles to the branches so that 4 kitchens (including head office) could cook simultaneously on up to 20 burners total. Our buyer jumped into a van, sprinted to the nearest market, and bought vegetables for a chopsuey good for 1,000 — the veggies were washed, sliced and cooked also in less than an hour total. Packing started about 30 minutes before we were scheduled to leave the office and it was ALL HANDS ON DECK!


As the cooks did their thing, nearly every one else with hands was assembling little foil lined Chinese take out boxes with a red carrying handle. We had several hundred of these left over from various store promotions, and unfortunately, the rest of the meals had to go into styrofoam containers for economy and speed. Dozens of folks from cooks, to accountants, HR people and myself put on plastic gloves and portioned food like there was no tomorrow. It was a frantic scene… and the thousand meals were sent off to evacuation centers shortly thereafter.


It’s an amazing experience to be part of some stressed out, little-advance-notice, but important request such as this one. People you work with build more interesting relationships when they are all thrust into situations such as this… the outcome, I think, could only be positive. Everyone was EXHAUSTED by late afternoon and cooks at branches still had to make it through the evening service, but it worked out rather nicely. At a second feeding a few days later, we served chicken adobo and a vegetable dish as well. A couple of folks snickered when they saw what we were sending out… lechon pa daw. But at Zubuchon, even rush feeding program requests get handled OUR WAY. And that means food we would be proud to eat, any day of the week. :)



  1. Artisan Chocolatier says:


    Dec 11, 2013 | 3:58 pm


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  3. crabbychef says:

    Ang galing galing, MM! Parang Mission Impossible, kitchen version! I have always wanted to be a part of a big operation like this – if only to feel that I made a difference in a massive effort even if I am assigned vegetable peeling duties. But I can imagine that it would be exhausting for even the most efficient crew. Cheers!

    Dec 11, 2013 | 4:04 pm

  4. Theresa says:

    Hats off to you and the entire crew on a job well done!

    Dec 11, 2013 | 4:31 pm

  5. manny says:

    Now that’s what you call FAST FOOD! ;)

    Dec 11, 2013 | 4:44 pm

  6. Andrea says:

    A job well done..Congrats to you and your team, MM!

    Dec 11, 2013 | 5:32 pm

  7. James1 says:

    Wow, wow, wow!!! What more can I say? What more can anybody say?

    Dec 11, 2013 | 6:06 pm

  8. madel says:

    Wow, that much food in just 3 hours! Congrats to you & your team for pulling it off!

    Dec 11, 2013 | 6:56 pm

  9. Kasseopeia says:

    That is amazing! Ang galing ng Zubu-Team! :)

    Dec 11, 2013 | 8:10 pm

  10. Betchay says:

    Impressive speed! But the sacrifice is more commendable! Keep up the good work!

    Dec 11, 2013 | 11:08 pm

  11. lava bien says:

    The typhoon victims would really feel that other people do care and bringing hope to them. Fresh cooked food (cooked by Zubu Team nonetheless) would really cheer them up, compared to dropping off canned goods and instant ramen. Kudos to you and your team, blessings to you all, we pray.

    Dec 11, 2013 | 11:32 pm

  12. Meg says:

    I can’t have nothing but praises and appreciation for this job well done MM. Your crew is your gear that makes your machine move. Thanks MM for this selfless effort.

    Dec 12, 2013 | 12:33 am

  13. natie says:

    And I bet they tasted great too!!!

    Dec 12, 2013 | 12:41 am

  14. La Emperor says:

    I don’t want to take anything away from the appointed one as I have no knowledge of his work performance on government projects , but MM…… you should have been the rehab czar of Tacloban.

    I can just imagine what you can do with those resources at your disposal.


    Dec 12, 2013 | 1:23 am

  15. Rea A. says:

    You guys are amazing!! You work very efficiently. Zubuchon all the way!

    Dec 12, 2013 | 1:34 am

  16. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    ‘It’s an amazing experience to be part of some stressed out, little-advance-notice, but important request such as this one. People you work with build more interesting relationships when they are all thrust into situations such as this… the outcome, I think, could only be positive.’ + ‘OUR WAY’ =

    Esprit de Corp


    Dec 12, 2013 | 2:13 am

  17. EbbaBlue says:

    Thank you for ya”lls effort. God bless everybody. He is indeed smiling.

    Dec 12, 2013 | 2:27 am

  18. shiko-chan says:

    awesome. (one surely wishes this kind of executive competence prevailed more often in our govt as well…and not just during crises.) especially admirable considering sometimes i can hardly make a decent meal for ONE in less than an hour ;) thank you for being a great example!

    Dec 12, 2013 | 2:38 am

  19. ricky gonzalez says:

    two thumbs up. Mabuhay kayong lahat.

    Dec 12, 2013 | 8:04 am

  20. ami says:

    MM, I’m sure that if you were to join Top Chef you’d be able to pull it off. They usually have challenges like these.

    Dec 12, 2013 | 8:48 am

  21. Ryan says:

    It’s like an Iron Chef challenge! Galing!!

    Dec 12, 2013 | 9:06 am

  22. becky says:

    sounds like a challenge that would happen in top chef masters :)

    Dec 12, 2013 | 9:52 am

  23. Kari says:

    Awesome! Would have loved to volunteer if you were Manila-based. But I also feel that there would be few groups who would be able to do so many meals in so little time (though most likely willing to), so it was a good thing they contacted you.

    Dec 12, 2013 | 11:48 am

  24. Mrs Froggie says:

    Just reading this, I was excited and teary- eyed as well, as if I was there. You are a blessing, MM! God bless you and your crew for all the help you have been selflessly giving out and still is giving out to all those in need! Your reward is in heaven for sure and God knows everything you have been doing for the good of others! Thank you and God bless you all! <3

    Dec 12, 2013 | 12:01 pm

  25. Lou says:

    Kudos to you and your team!!! That’s how you make the best of the resources at your disposal! Thank you for all that you do for others – and for showing us that we all can, and should, help in our own way. Thanks for inspiring all of us your readers with your example of self-less giving.

    Dec 12, 2013 | 12:42 pm

  26. Khew says:

    An incomparable team building exercise. Beats going to some resort and playing silly games.

    Dec 12, 2013 | 12:48 pm

  27. Cwid says:

    Like a successful Foodnetwork challenge. Well done!

    Dec 12, 2013 | 1:22 pm

  28. Papa Ethan says:

    I agree with La Emperor: you ought to be voted as Rehab Czar for the Visayas. No offense to the appointed one.


    Dec 12, 2013 | 3:25 pm

  29. Marketman says:

    Papa Ethan and La Emperor, thanks, but from everything I have seen and heard, these kinds of things were done daily by lots and lots of different people. In Cebu alone, dozens of individuals, restaurants, institutions, etc. sponsored thousands of daily meals for evacuees. We saw lugaw, we saw hotdogs and rice, we saw chinese food, we saw snacks, slippers, clothes, rubber shoes, personal hygeine items, etc. so ours was just a teeny tiny drop in the bucket of support from folks near and far… :)

    Dec 12, 2013 | 4:15 pm

  30. jtzu says:

    There is “Restaurant Impossible” with Robert Irvine on the Food Channel doing basically the same thing. Although I have never seen them do anything like close or under three hours. You should get on that show.

    Dec 12, 2013 | 11:45 pm

  31. MP says:

    Maybe the Zubuchon team can help our Rehab czar… Seriously, that’s impressive work MM. I was part of an inter-governmental agency’s emergency and rehab efforts in Aceh and I can attest to the difficulties associated with emergency response efforts so I really appreciate all the good that you and your team do.

    And to whoever snickered at the lechon meal, shame on you! Isn’t that the best time to serve the best meal to those that survived a horrendous situation?

    Dec 13, 2013 | 5:30 pm

  32. millet says:

    hats off to you and your crew, MM!

    Dec 13, 2013 | 5:53 pm

  33. mira says:

    Bless you, Mr. MM and staff!

    Dec 13, 2013 | 6:10 pm

  34. EJ says:

    Thanks and hurrah to you and your team!

    Dec 14, 2013 | 7:59 am

  35. izang says:

    Do you know who snickered? Let them eat sardines and noodles for a couple of weeks then let us see if they will not beg for your lechon meal.

    It has been said that beggars can’t be choosers but the victims have suffered enough, why would a meal that would make them feel normal again be snickered at? inggit cguro.

    Dec 14, 2013 | 5:31 pm

  36. Cheryl says:

    bravo! God bless u MM and Zubuchon!

    Dec 15, 2013 | 2:51 pm

  37. kristin says:

    teamwork, ZUBUchon style!

    Dec 15, 2013 | 5:27 pm

  38. Ruth Tuvilla says:

    Please run for the office of the president of the Philippines. And you can assign all your Zubuchon staff as cabinet members.. This country really need somebody who can run the place with precision and purpose. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything you and your staff has done to help the victims of typhoon Yolanda. May God bless you more.

    Dec 16, 2013 | 6:00 pm

  39. Janice Yu says:

    i’m not from Tacloban, and my family was not affected. But I would like to say Thank You for helping. Thank you, may Gob bless you more.

    Dec 16, 2013 | 10:23 pm

  40. joji padilla says:

    proud to be pinoy! kudos to you and zubochon team!more blessings to all! daghang salamat in behalf of the survivors of yolanda.

    Dec 19, 2013 | 11:31 am

  41. mini says:


    Dec 20, 2013 | 12:53 pm


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