AL AIN, United Arab Emirates — Would it be nice to have authentic Filipino dish delivered to your overseas office while you work and continue to dream about coming home to the Philippines to once again enjoy home-cooked meal prepared by a loved one?
Well, it actually is a nice thought. And with that in mind a young enterprising Filipina here has decided to come up with a food business catering to that finicky and homesick foodie in many overseas Pinoys.
“We came up with the idea sa observation namin na ang mga kabayan o kami mismo dito na nagtatrabaho sa opisina ay laging nagbabaon,” Elsa Centeno, 36, manager of Timplang Kapampangan, shared via email.
“We usually have to cook at night kasi wala naman mapagbibilhan near our offices. So we thought, ‘Why not deliver food sa mga opisina para sa mga kabayan na lasang lutong-bahay at nami-miss nating lahat na nandito sa abroad?’,” she added.
Kapampangan refers to the culture of Pampanga, a province in Central Luzon known as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines — a fact that didn’t escape Centeno and partners when choosing the name for their business.
“Sa ating mga kabayan dito, pag narinig nilang taga-Pampanga, aba, sasabihing masarap magluto. So nag-isip kami ng puwedeng name ng catering company na sa pangalan pa lang, alam na masarap at Pinoy na Pinoy,” she said.
At present, Timplang Kapampangan has 10 Filipino staff, but it is planning to hire 75 more next year.
Although all the ingredients are from Dubai, Timplang Kapampangan’s affordable dishes are prepared by two senior chefs who are both from Pampanga, said Centeno, herself a Pampangueño.
“All the ingredients are available here in Dubai so ‘di naman siya mahirap. We have our own kitchen and we cook the dishes fresh every day,” she said.
And to highlight their authenticity, they even chose a Filipina — Centerno herself! — as the “face” of the business.
“Gusto kasi naming makilala ng mga kabayan natin na tunay na Pinoy product at service ang handog namin. Napili ako na mag-represent,” she said.
Not for OFWs only
Although 90 percent of Timplang Kapampangan’s market are Filipinos, it is also open to serving foreign customers.
“Open kami sa lahat ng Pinoy at ibang lahi kung interesado sila. At gagawin namin ang aming makakaya na pasok lahat sa panlasa at budget ng ating mga kabayan dito,” Centeno said.
Timplang Kapampangan is locally owned by the Al Shamil Foodstuff Trading. Its lunch meal packs cost from AED 16.00 (P194) to AED 20.00 (P242).