The Plaza is a continuing saga of four generations of pioneering restaurateurs.
1st Generation: Matriarch
Engracia Cruz Reyes, fondly known as Aling Asiang, founded the Aristocrat Restaurant in 1935. Her pioneering vision has inspired several food and restaurant ventures by succeeding family generations.
2nd Generation: Son & Wife Team
Son Jose Cruz Reyes, as a young boy, assisted Aling Asiang in running the beginnings of The Aristocrat restaurant, then a rolling store plying the stretch of the Luneta Park. Together with wife, Imelda Albano, they established The Plaza in 1965; and were considered pillars of the restaurant industry.
Lolo Joe was one of the founders of the Hotel & Restaurant Association of the Philippines.
Lola Meldy broke new ground by venturing into catering in the ‘60s. It was Lola Meldy Reyes who conceived, developed and perfected The Plaza Premium Baked Ham together with The Plaza’s Swedish Master Chef Gosta Pettersson.
3rd Generation: Granddaughter
Millie Reyes was schooled at the prestigious École Hôtelière de la Société Suisse des Hôteliers of Lausanne, Switzerland; and Cornell University of Ithaca, New York.
At the young age of 25, Millie opened The Plaza at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) making The Plaza well-renowned for handling big international conventions (the largest being 10,000 persons).
Millie established The Plaza Premium Baked Ham, bringing the special occasion ham from distinguished banquet halls to the malls.
4th Generation: Great Granddaughter
Karla Marina, a graduate of Business Management Major in Entrepreneurship, carries on the pioneering tradition. She also graduated culinary arts from the International Culinary Center in New York, formerly known as the French Culinary Institute. Karla oversees the catering operations and manages The Plaza Premium Baked Ham kiosks located at SM Mega Mall, Petron Square Dasmarinas, Rustan’s Makati, Rockwell Cinema Snack Bar, Petron La Vista along Katipunan and the weekend pop-ups at the Alabang Golf and Country Club. She also launched Go Gourmet by The Plaza featuring cooked, frozen and ready to cook Plaza favorites at Petron Square Dasmarinas and Petron La Vista.
Karla also currently is on top of the restaurant and cafeteria operations of The Plaza at V&A Law Center in Bonifacio Global City.
THE PLAZA PREMIUM BAKED HAM
The Plaza Premium Baked Ham was developed in the 60’s by Master Chef Gosta Pettersson upon the suggestion of Imelda “Meldy” A. Reyes, wife of Joe. Meldy, familiar with the palates of Manila’s elite, insisted on a piece de resistance for every Filipino table. Though it was inspired by the Swedish ham usually served during Christmas time, it was designed for the Filipino taste: a perfect blend of sweet and salty. Cured, lightly wood-smoked with herbs and spices, oven-baked, glazed and covered with a sweet crumbly crust, this freshly baked ham is now available every day at five retail outlets around Metro Manila.