Now that it’s back to school season again, many moms are on the lookout for healthy baon ideas for their kids. On Instagram, @nomnomnombento’s account stands out for her pretty bento creations and equally delightful photos. MJ Ordoña, the creative mom behind the account, is our featured crafter for this month. MJ has managed to transform the ordinary bento box from just an ordinary food container, into an everyday work of art.
Crafting Her Path: The Bento Beginnings
MJ's journey into the captivating world of food art began in 2015 when her eldest child started preschool. Fueled by a desire to entice her child to explore a variety of foods, MJ began her exploration with simple fruit skewers adorned with adorable food picks. This marked the beginning of a culinary adventure like no other. But that was just the beginning; Soon, her husband's packed lunch became a canvas for her culinary experiments, leading her into the captivating world of food artistry.
In 2018, a pivotal year, MJ transformed her passion into a visual diary by creating @nomnomnombento - a separate account for her bento creations. Documenting her progress and improvements, this virtual space became a testament to her dedication and an inspiration for fellow aspiring food artists. The result? A breathtaking collection of food masterpieces, each born from her personal guiding philosophy: "Practice is the susi (key) 🔑."
A Dash of Inspiration
MJ's creations are a testament to her whimsical and joyful approach to life. Fueled by her adoration for all things cute, especially Sanrio characters, her bento boxes radiate a playfulness that captures the hearts of all who lay eyes on them. Beyond her own preferences, MJ takes cues from her children's interests, creating bento boxes that celebrate their favorite characters and stories.
Detail-oriented and methodical, another thing that helps MJ's creative process is planning and preparation. With a well-thought-out bento plan and a weekly menu in hand, she ensures that her artistry is never compromised by last-minute rushes.
Tools of the Trade
For MJ, it's not about having the fanciest tools from the get-go. She started out with these tools as her most dependable companion in her bento journey: her dependable craft tweezers, a pair of scissors, and a toothpick. It's worth noting that even MJ's journey had humble beginnings, with her initial experiments involving makeshift tools like plastic straws for cutting ham and cheese. Over time, she got to take on bento-specific tools (like real bento cutters instead of straws), resulting in creations that dazzle the eye. And when the mornings are particularly hurried, her secret tip to save time is the Chuboos nori punchers, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Sage Advice for Budding Bento Enthusiasts
As you embark on your own bento crafting journey, MJ encourages newcomers to wholeheartedly embrace imperfection, as mastery blooms gradually over time. Her guiding philosophy “Practice is the susi (key)” is echoed throughout her words of advice for aspiring bento crafters and food artists.
In the words of the accomplished food artist herself, "Just like any newbies in crafting, it’s totally okay if yours doesn’t look the same as your inspiration. You really can’t expect it to be 'perfect' on your first try. Practice will always be your best foundation until you get the hang of it. And then you’ll be surprised one day, that you’ve finally learned your own style (and) how to make it easier!”
As she wisely suggests, “You also don’t need to splurge on tools right away. Sometimes what you already have available, are the best ones. You just gotta be creative (about) how to make it work.”
MJ's journey exemplifies this philosophy, a testament to the transformative power of dedication and learning.
Unleash Your Inner Bento Artist!
As we immerse ourselves in MJ Ordoña's journey, a single, resounding truth takes shape: every masterpiece is a culmination of practice, imagination, and love. Whether you're a seasoned food artist or an individual stepping onto the path of culinary discovery, MJ's words resonate with profound significance. Find joy in every slice, relish each arrangement, and embrace the stories you bring to life through your culinary artistry. With each practice session, you'll unlock the door to your very own realm of bento magic. For as MJ puts it, "Practice is the susi 🔑" – the very susi that opens the gateway to your culinary wonderland.