Food & Drink

This Esquire Makeup Artist Pivoted from Painting Faces to Crafting Pizza

Joan Teotico and her partner have created a sushi pizza mashup. And it's delightful.
IMAGE Artu Nepomuceno, 1621 Sushi Pizza, Unsplash

In January, Esquire Philippines makeup artist Joan Teotico flew to Los Angeles for classes with Rihanna’s makeup artist, Priscilla Ono.

“There were over 40 students from all over the world. All of us were on a journey to make our dream a reality and to elevate makeup artistry,” said Teotico, whose recent work for Esquire includes covers for Manila mayor Isko Moreno and director Mikhail Red.

Top Story: 8 Filipino Actors Who Married Into High Society

“Priscilla shared her creative processes and techniques and how to succeed in our vocation. She was incredibly beautiful, authentic, funny, intelligent, humble, and kind. I looked up to her as a mentor," she said.

A month later, Teotico was back home in Manila, excited to apply what she had learned.

Then the pandemic happened, and Teotico’s makeup bookings dwindled and practically dried up. Shoots were canceled, events became virtual. Her industry, like many others, was at a standstill.


Teotico said she cried a lot at the beginning, as she had to put her makeup vocation on hold indefinitely.

“I deeply miss work and my clients. It’s been difficult,” said Teotico.

“But Priscilla taught us it's not just being good at makeup that makes a successful makeup artist. It’s also the adaptability, the common sense, the problem solving, that gets you to the top.”

Recommended Videos

That’s when she and her partner, chef AJ Reyes, decided to enter the food business. They came up with the innovative idea of sushi pizza. They called it 1621, after their birthdates.

“We love eating sushi and pizza on our birthdays and special occasions and on random days when we need a  dopamine hit so we thought to ourselves, 'Hey, why not come up with a mashup?'” said Teotico.

And voila, the Classic Tuna pizza (P380 for a 10-inch pie) was born: a mélange of flavors and textures: raw fish atop vinegared rice ensconced in a flour tortilla crust, topped with tuna belly, kani, gari, soy glaze, sriracha mayo, homemade cheese sauce, tobiko, and tempura flakes. It was an instant hit.

Classic Tuna Sushi Pizza.
Photo by AJ REYES.

Launched recently were two other variants: Seafood Aburi (P450) made with fresh salmon and tuna mixed with kani, gari, tobiko, cucumber, spring onion, and nori tossed with wasabi mayo, soy glaze, and topped with cheese sauce; and Spicy Salmon (P450) featuring fresh salmon tossed in sriracha mayo, gari, and tobiko, topped with soy glaze, cheese sauce, bonito flakes, nori, tempura flakes, and fried salmon skin.

Joan Teotico and AJ Reyes

Teotico oversees marketing, communications, sales, customer experience, media relations, and digital strategy. Reyes handles all culinary aspects, kitchen operations, finance and accounting, logistics, and procurement.

“Usually I am in my workspace but I always find time to wear an apron and head to the hustle and bustle of the kitchen,” said Teotico.


Reyes holds down the fort, with 10 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

“AJ continues to be a contemplative creator with a desire to create culinary creations that people will understand and enjoy and come back for,” said Teotico. “We are exhilarated every time we work together.”

For orders, call 0917 821 1621, e-mail [email protected], or visit


View More Articles About:
About The Author
Yvette Fernandez
View Other Articles From Yvette Fernandez
Connect With Us