Name: Renée Geronimo
Business/Location: Excuizine, LLC/Jersey City, NJ
Specialty: We specialize in reimagined Filipino cuisine, Asian specialties, and themed cakes and cake pops.
What problem does your business solve?: We relieve the stress and worry of what to serve at events by providing sumptuous dishes, making the party more enjoyable for both the host and their guests.
What makes your business unique?: Excuizine provides the most versatile menu by offering the widest variety of choices to fit the client’s budget and event theme. It is rare for a caterer to offer both Asian and Western cuisine, as well as theme cakes and desserts. We’re pretty much a one-stop-shop! We serve the tri-state area and pride ourselves on offering quality, seasonal and locally sourced food, without necessarily costing our clients as much as if they had chosen big-league caterers. We also welcome collaborations with other caterers.
What’s your story?: I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. My culinary career in the United States started when I worked as a personal chef in the Hamptons in 2001 and catered friends parties by request in New York City part-time. [When] I pursued cake baking and decorating to expand my skills, and started offering baked specialties—Excuizine was officially born. We moved to Jersey City in 2011, which initially proved to be difficult because Filipinos were used to inexpensive, no-frills Filipino restaurants. I became part of the team that opened The Kitchen at Grove Station under Top Chef alum, Chef Dave Viana, which offered farm-to-table, New American cuisine. I also went back to culinary school and attended Culinary Arts Institute at Hudson County Community College. All the while, I still catered in my free time. Eventually, I decided to concentrate on catering full-time.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Believe in your product and don’t doubt yourself.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?: I wish I knew that introducing reimagined Filipino cuisine it is not that easy. And opening a catering company in any state requires a lot of licensing and certifications. It was a task we had to do all on our own without any program similar to what Hudson Kitchen is offering now.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it?: My greatest problem is convincing people that quality products come at a cost. The only way to overcome these challenges is to consistently produce quality products and provide top-notch personalized service.
What are you most proud of about your business?: We’re proud to say that most of our clients have become friends and we appreciate being a part of their milestone events. We strive to use the best quality, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients to create products our clientele will surely enjoy.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur?: I love seeing our clients’ excitement when we transform their dream party into reality; our memorable interaction with guests as they enjoy the food and services we provide; and knowing that our food can reach states farther than we expected. We now serve clients as far as West Virginia.