By Amanda Pampuro
In cooking school, some teachers just give out a recipe and expect students to follow it step by step. But the co-owner of Mosa’s Joint and Mosa’s Hotbox, Monique K. Genereux, says some of the best advice she got was from Guam Community College instructor Paul Kerner, who told her, “Follow the basics of the recipe, but make it your own.”
The daughter of an Ifit wood craftsman and a flight attendant, Genereux traveled often during her childhood, a habit that continues to this day. From Seattle to Indonesia, every place she has lived has influenced her cooking in some way.
Since her first job, diving off Coco’s Island, Genereux held all kinds of odd jobs in the service industry and retail. At Tony Roma’s, she rose from server to bartender to lead server and trainer.
In 2003, Genereux enlisted in the Coast Guard, and the first place the service branch sent her was Buffalo, New York. The Guam girl stuck it out through the winters, even learning how to do ice rescues.
“Jumping through the ice isn’t as bad as you would think,” she says. “You wear a dry suit, so just your face gets cold.”
After serving in the military, Genereux wanted to go to school. She graduated with an associate’s in culinary arts and took additional courses in food and beverage management.
“Let me say this,” says the CEO of Fokai Industries and friend of Genereux, Roman Dela Cruz, “Monique’s initiative and her integrity have always been there, so I am not surprised at her success.”
Though Genereux describes the last four years of running Mosa’s as the most difficult years of her life, she says this with a smile. Some days are hard, she admits. But when all the uncertainties add up and she feels the effects of working on too little sleep, she just tells herself, “It could always be worse.”
When she gets low, she reminds herself, “I have a job, a home, everything I need in life, amazing family and amazing friends.”
“I believe you make your own heaven and hell,” she says. “And if you don’t like something — your job sucks, your boyfriend sucks, your dog sucks — you need to figure out what’s wrong and make it better.”
Genereux loves all kinds of music, from hardcore rap to heavy metal and from Marvin Gay to Bob Marley; she’ll listen to anything except country. Though Genereux is a horrible singer, her fellow co-owner, Sara Pleadwell, likes to tell her she’s great, with a big sarcastic smile on her face.
If she wasn’t in the food industry, Genereux says, “I really love driving boats, but you need to know that business inside and out too.” In her free time, she enjoys spearfishing with her brother Todd and her Uncle Pat.
“Uncle Pat is usually the oldest guy there, and I’m usually the only girl,” she says. “But we have fun with it and we get lucky a lot.”
“I like knowing no matter what happened, I could provide food for my family,” she added. “I don’t waste stuff. Everything I catch I eat.”
Monique K. Genereux
Mosa’s Joint and Mosa’s Hotbox
Favorite afterschool snack as a kid: Grilled cheese sandwich
Favorite artists: Macklemore and Erykah Badu
Goals: To build a community center and indoor skate park
Favorite drink: Shiraz, which pairs well with food