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‘G8 Comeback’: Mother-son duo make Philippine-inspired cookies

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — “Salamat” in the Philippines it means “thank you.”

For Michael Williams II and his mother, Odie Williams, it’s also the name of their rising cookie business.

“People who don’t even know how to say ‘Salamat’ and now we’re handing out cookies and they’re saying ‘Salamat’ back,” he said. “They’re saying ‘thank you’ in a whole new language.”

Mike believes Salamat Cookies is opening the city to a whole new world of recipes courtesy of the Philippine culture. It’s a journey that started when he had to move back from Los Angeles just after the pandemic hit.

Odie, known as “Mama Odie,” says the idea was sparked when they were giving homemade cookies away to a neighboring chiropractic office. “One of their girls went over and said, ‘Are you selling this?’ And Mikey goes, ‘Uh, yep!’”

They set a goal to sell 300 cookies on Mother’s Day to help Michael pay his Los Angeles rent. The cookies were a hit and the demand grew throughout the second half of 2020. “I have families from out of state ordering four dozen, six dozen at a time,” Odie said.

She says they’ve made up to 1,800 cookies in a week and just recently hit the 30,000 cookie mark. Every cookie they make, from scratch, is a call back to the Pilipino community; like one of their most popular flavors, Gooey Bukubae.

Odie admits, the road isn’t always smooth. “We’ve gotten a lot closer, but, you know, as family you will fight and argue,” Odie said and laughed.

In the midst of handling a growing fan base for Salamat Cookies, they remember why it got started and what keeps it going. Family.

“Who knows, maybe after they try that, they’ll try something else and be a little more open-minded to what Philippine cuisine and culture has to offer,” Mike said.

In the meantime, Mike has set a future goal of turning this cookie business into a $300 million company. His strategy is simple: “Bake it ’til you make it.”

Customers can follow Salamat Cookies on Facebook.