More than three years since she first started her YouTube channel Judy Ann’s Kitchen, Judy Ann Santos revealed what brought about her need to do something independently outside of acting.
“Actually, it’s really more of wanting to explore things that I didn’t know that I could do. Kasi actually at the time we started Judy Ann’s Kitchen it was more of parang proseso ko siya on facing my fears kasi akala ko hindi ako madaldal sa harap ng camera pag ako lang mag-isa. I wanted to do something na ako ang mag-li-lead. Not naman necessarily mag-di-direct pero ako gagawa ng kabuohan, you don’t have to follow someone or a network or production.
“Not that I’m saying na I’m sick and tired of following people no I’m just saying that I want to validate lang myself na kaya ko ba? Kaya ko bang gawin ‘to? At that time sa edad ko I was actually challenging myself already na ano pa ba yung natatakot kang gawin. So, it was actually cooking. I’m not afraid of cooking for my family and friends. To take my food to a lot of people, it’s something na puwede ka i-judge kasi gagawin nila, gagayahin nila. But it was never planned na maging ganun siya,” she told writer G3 San Diego during an Instagram Live interview last May 24.
Producing the show right in their home in the south, Juday said her husband Ryan Agoncillo has taken over directing duties for the channel.
“It’s not scripted. There’s no run through whatsoever. Si Ry kasi is directing Judy Ann’s Kitchen now. We created a small group of people who can help us that is a skeleton crew. Nitong pandemic ipagpapasalamat mo na lang yung mga moments when you’re trying to be creative and at the same time try to live ng normal at hangga’t maaari hindi ka maubos ng nangyayari sa paligid mo and sa situation. And the thought that you can’t go out and shoot outside and ang daming nagaganap so kami mismo dito sa bahay may sarili kaming mga protocols even when people come here. Mahigpit talaga yung mga protocols namin,” she said.
During her interview with G3, Juday revealed that despite their multiple food businesses, she made sure their employees were able to keep their jobs. Their family also recently launched their latest online business selling chicken galantina.
“Ni-launch na lang namin yan two weeks ago. We started selling special items ng Angrydobo on Sunday Market Live nung January. It was Ryan’s idea actually. He had this segment in Eat Bulaga na Bawal Judgmental and yung mga contestants nag-se-sell sa Facebook Live ng mga apparels, ganyan.
“Kasi pag nasa food business ka sa gitna ng pandemya, ayaw mo madagdagan yung mga taong walang trabaho. So basically, we thought let’s keep on going hanggang mahanap natin yung sweet spot as long as may ipapa-suweldo tayo at may pambayad ng monthly bills.
“Kung ano yung kikitain natin kahit maliit okay na din. Kung walang kikitain okay lang din basta wala tayong empleyadong tatanggalin or whatever kasi ang hirap na ng buhay as it is. So that’s what happened,” she said.
Aside from making their own food, Juday said they also make it a point to support other small food businesses online. “Nag-te-takeout din naman kami at umo-order din naman kami sa Instagram sellers ng mga food kasi natutuwa ako na ang daming nag-evolve dito sa pandemya. So, support the small businesses,” she added.
Despite all the challenges of being a business owner during a pandemic, the 43-year-old actress said she chooses to keep positive and hopeful about the future.
“I’m just so grateful and thankful na bilang Pilipino, maabilidad kasi tayo. Naniniwala ako diyan. Gagawa at gagawa tayo ng paraan para mabuhay, para makapagpatawa, kasi yung lungkot mo dadaanin mo na lang sa gagawa ka ng outlet mo para ilabas mo yun. And at the same time makakapag pasaya ka ng mga tao. It is something that I should say na nagpapasalamat ako na hindi ako malugmok na tao.
“Hindi ko dinidibdib masyado ang mga bagay bagay. Wala na tayong magagawa. Si Lord na ang gumawa nito. Alangan namang kuwestiyunin natin si Lord di ba? May ibig sabihin ito. Hanapan na lang natin ito ng sagot,” she said.