#FilipinoFoodMovement. If you go on Instagram or Facebook, you will notice that this hashtag is quickly becoming the go-to visual library of authentic and reinvented Filipino dishes. Why is this important? Why does the Filipino community feel a need to create a movement for their food?
Filipinos are the fourth largest immigrant group in the United States after Hispanic, Chinese, and Indian. As the leading immigrant group, there's no denying the Latino and Hispanic influences on American culture, as well as the impact Chinese and Indian Americans have made in business, science, technology and food. However, ubiquitous as we are in the US, the Filipino community has not made similar strides. Being from the Washington, DC area, we did not know many Filipinos outside of our family. Moreover, unlike our west coast colleagues, we barely had any oriental stores, Filipino chain restaurants, or mom and pop shops growing up. Unfortunately for us, Jollibee was only a treat to be enjoyed when we visited the Philippines! As adults, we realize that this was not only the result of a small Filipino population in DC, but also from a lack of Filipino leadership overall.
From a young age, Filipinos are taught to be complacent with the status quo. Our parents emphasized the importance of job security and financial stability at the expense of creativity and entrepreneurship. This is not bad advice. Truly, it is great advice for those who came to a new country and tried their best to raise children in an unfamiliar environment. However, little did they know that part of growing up with the American mindset—moreover being a Millennial—is to push the boundaries and think outside the box. As first-generation Filipino Americans we are blessed with the opportunities at higher education, leadership, and entrepreneurship. The Filipino Food Movement is a collection of brave first- and second-generation Filipinos who love their culture and have the resources and knowledge to bring it into the mainstream. Since our predecessors had not exposed our cuisine to the American mainstream, it is up to our generation to step it up and use food as a means to showcase and bring awareness to the very present Filipino American community.
The hospitality and restaurant industries are one of the toughest, non-secure and riskiest industries out there. However, being part of it pushes many boundaries that we gutsy, foolish, millennial Filipino Americans are excited to tackle through. At Timpla, we try our best to cross boundaries while still respecting tradition and culture. Our tasting menus adhere to the recipes and flavors of traditional Filipino cuisine yet take risks in technique, execution, and plating to present the dishes in a new way. Our dream is to push Filipino cuisine from local family style to well-respected fine dining. Cheers to the new Filipino American experience.