For What’s Cooking Atlanta
A Monthly Column for PACCGA
by Hope Webb
On or around 3/15 Chef Walter, Colin Gardner and I decided we had to do something for Filipino Food month in April. Colin with his big heart remembered his friend from Waller’s Coffee shop who oftentimes holds artist markets for a very nominal fee. So nominal it skews almost charity. It was at that moment the idea was born. We will support this humble supporter of the arts, while serving some fresh Filipino food.
I pitched the idea on one of our collective Filipino Food Industry Forums and without hesitation Elna K. of Baolicious and Sarap Atlanta went all in. I love me a gambler, someone that will roll the dice with you. Because the idea, at first, I’m sure, was scary to all of us. But then there are some who realize that all the magic happens when you step outside of your comfort zone. That was Elna.. meeting us on our journey of, “we have no idea what’s in store for us… but let’s do it anyway”
Soon after she pledged her brand, commitments rolled in from Gabriel T. of Barangay, and Jen A. of Three Lolas Bakeshop. All of us taking the leap of faith para sa kultura, para sa pilipinas. I think we all thought what no one really had to say, “if it’s a bust, we bust together.” Regardless, and without a doubt, we would still forge on. Still paving the way each day for a moment when the whole underground, unrecognized, under represented Filipino food loving community might feel compelled enough to come together in a show of pride for food and culture.
Turns out the world was ready and that moment was now. Chef Colin primed the public with an announcement on March 21st, save the date style, calling all vendors and artists. The wheels were spinning for us and for our followers. The headliner’s dropped on April 5th and the official post on IG pushed automatically to Facebook and within one day that post garnered 1,200 likes, was shared over 220 times, while a large number of friends tagged friend after friend after friend. I’m pretty sure we went viral locally, and vocally. The Filipino food trend was finally transcending the south in Atlanta specifically. “Finally!” chimed reader after reader. Atlanta’s First Annual Filipino Food Fest was born!
And within a day, we outgrew the venue before the party even got started. A sure sign that Atlanta was ready for Filipino food to go mainstream. In a show of solidarity by our industry kapamilya and our patrons alike, we have officially rounded the troops. The movement is here. Mabuhay!