The journey of Timpla has been a series of immense leaps taken—with the hope that nets will appear with each plunge. Thankfully, we have landed on nets in so many more ways than we could have ever imagined. From our first supper club held on October 20, 2015 to the book launch of an anthology we contributed to on September 27, 2018—we have been lucky and blessed for all the times the oceans have parted and allowed us to cross its mystical and uncertain waters.
Our first official leap was a “soft launch” of the supper club back in June 2015—a trial run for our friends of what we hoped Timpla would be. We conducted this dinner about 5 months after sitting together on a cold Saturday morning in a Safeway food court to write down our mission and vision for Timpla (read about our beginnings in our first blog). This soft launch became the basis for how we would continue to execute our future supper clubs. Dozens of unknown questions sped through our minds as we planned the event: how do we do the introduction; what should our pricing be; how much time will each course take; in what order do we want to present the dishes; what kind of music should we play; how should we dress? To our immense relief, we didn’t have to worry as much as we thought—both Filipino and non-Filipino friends LOVED the soft launch! The reactions we received assured us that our vision was clear, executed well, and we were encouraged to just be ourselves. Their positive feedback and constructive criticism helped us realize that maybe we can actually do this.
A few months later, we became involved with a Filipino-based event called NextDayBetter. As part of the planning committee, we worked with an amazing group to curate a speaker event featuring notable leaders in various industries. And of course, we were in charge of the food and beverage portion. We used this perfect opportunity to premiere Timpla to the public. Although we had never done a "real" event and were not confident in our abilities to cater for hundreds of people, we curiously took the leap to see if a net would appear. Our debut occurred during the opening session as guests entered. We presented a dish that highlighted our culinary style: squid ink qwek qwek with guajillo aioli and atchara—a modern take on classic Filipino street food. To our surprise and amazement, guests loved the dish—from the unique presentation of a hard-boiled egg encased in black squid ink batter to the playful combination of various flavors. They asked about our inspiration behind the dish, and we shared our story and what we do—or at least planned to do—with our supper clubs. We left the event with lots of connections and requests to “sign me up for the next one!” Little did they know, the next one was actually going to be first one.
With excitement rolled over from the NextDayBetter event, we felt like we were finally ready for our first official supper club. We executed a dinner for eight guests by corralling some attendees from the event as well as some who learned about us through social media. Although we were filled with nerves with the looming thought, “People actually paid for this!”—we tried to stay calm and remember the advice our friends had given us: you have an amazing product and a solid plan to execute this dinner; just be yourselves, tell your story, and the rest will be fine. As the doorbell began to ring and new faces appeared, we started by shakily introducing ourselves, presenting wine, and allowing the evening to flow as naturally as possible. The nerves soon faded away as enticing and genuine conversations took place. Little did we know, a small but steadily increasing group of folks were rooting for us to succeed and anxious to be part of future events!
After the success of the first one, we continued doing supper clubs monthly, each time getting better at timing, communication, presentation, and comfort level. It transitioned from being a nervous ordeal to just hosting a really fun party with great food, drinks, and company. That’s when the net showed its full appearance. We began meeting and connecting with Filipino foodies, artists, and community leaders all over the country; becoming friends with our guests and sharing other events and dining experiences with them; getting asked to speak in panels and doing interviews for media articles; and getting asked to do weddings and private parties. One of the best opportunities during that crazy, exciting, adrenaline-filled two years was an opportunity to contribute a recipe and story for a cookbook.