Judy Ann Santos donned her chef's hat in support of fellow artists in need.
The young actress and her boyfriend Ryan Agoncillo staged a fundraising event, dubbed as Cookie Jam, at Café Carabana bar and restaurant in Quezon City last November 8. Through this event, Juday (Judy Ann's nickname) was able to pursue her new passion—baking—as well as extend a helping hand to others.
YES! Online talked with Juday during the actual event at her restaurant in Quezon City and she shared her enthusiasm for this unique fundraising event: "Nakakain sila ng masarap, nagawa ko ‘yong passion ko [which is cooking], at may fund-raising pa kami. It's like hitting three birds with one stone."
In Cookie Jam, Judy Ann auctioned baked goodies that she herself made while Ryan served as the auction master. Proceeds of the auctioned cakes and pastries will go to Lyrics and Sheets, a foundation that supports Ang Puro-a wellness center in Palawan equipped with medical facilities for aging and retired artists.
Through the help of Touch A Heart Foundation—an independent organization formed by Juday and her colleagues two years ago—she decided to support her best friend Nico Garcia, the person behind Lyrics and Sheets.
The dramatic actress explained her concept for Cookie Jam: "Mag-ra-raise kami ng funds, magpapa-auction kami ng cakes na mga napag-aralan ko. Since I studied culinary cooking [I'll use the skills I learned] and [this auction is] for everybody na matikman ‘yong niluluto ko."
Just like her movies, Juday's baked goodies were an instant hit among her family members, close friends, and loyal followers. In fact, her carrot banana cake was among the products auctioned for a price of P2,200. Other baked items she prepared for Cookie Jam include chocolate chip cookies, cream puffs with chocolate topping, and her own version of the New York cheesecake.
Juday pointed out the rewarding experience she gets from cooking: "Everyone is wondering kung may pumasok ba sa sistema ko sa pagluluto. Fulfillment talaga [para sa akin] ‘pag nag-ba-bake ka. Yung maipamahagi mo yung naluluto mo [fulfilling din]."
When her ABS-CBN drama series Sa Piling Mo ended, Juday was able to find the time to pursue her passion for baking. She then enrolled in the Center For Asian Culinary Studies and attended comprehensive baking and cooking classes under the supervision of Chefs Gene Gonzalez and Jun Jun de Guzman.
In a separate interview with Judy Ann during the Metro Manila Film Fest press conference on November 13 at the Aliw Theater VIP room, Judy Ann revealed that they were able to raise P43,000 from sales of entrance tickets and the auctioned pastries. They have yet to include the sales generated from the used clothes sold at the venue during the event.
"Lahat ng pagod namin for doing the event, making 400 cookies and 10 different pies and cakes—all worth it, really worth it." She was very thankful for the people who supported the event, saying that because of the success of Cookie Jam, she is thinking of diversifying her products. "[I thought] let's do this again but main dishes naman, not naman desserts kasi mag-da-dalawang events na kami na puro desserts so main dishes naman."
The second edition of the Cookie Jam auction session is scheduled on November 15 at Café Carabana, with Cookie Chua, Radha, and Maegan Aguilar as guest performers. More choices of Juday's baked goodies will be auctioned on that night.
(With a report from Jocelyn Dimaculangan)