Last Saturday I was finally able to to attend Alessa's Watercolor Crafternoon workshop at Pipino, a quaint vegetarian restaurant in Teachers Village, Quezon City. It's not everyday that you get a mix of good food and art so this one was a special treat for me :)
|Oh-so-cute cupcakes, muffins and cakes on display ready for munching|
|Beyond Yoga Anti-Gravity teachers w/ Aerialist & Jivamukti teacher Sandhi Ferreira|
|Here's a shot of the FLOW girls during our FOOD Magazine photo shoot in Pipino|
|Alessa teacher-mode explaining different techniques of Watercoloring|
So I had no expectations from the class and was so impressed at how informative Alessa's talk was, complete with powerpoint presentation. This was a serious art workshop! For materials, some watercolor sets were on sale, she gave out some paper and lent brushes and colors to people like me :P She explained the basics of Water Coloring and we had plenty of time to practice.
|Good to see Audrey of Googoo & Gaga|
|Artist-surfer Noelle with her son Kai|
|My son Santi knows how to smile for the camera :) |
|Kai proudly shows off someone else's activity sheet :P |
|My sheet while having vegan lasagna with a refreshing lemongrass cooler|
|There's always room for dessert: Pipino's coconut ice cream is made with love!|
|Some participants showing our work for the day|
Monica: What is the story behind Pipino?
Alessa: It was in 2004 when I studied in New York after college (to take up continuing education classes in graphic design at Parsons and NYU) when I got exposed to amazing vegetarian & vegan cuisine there. That was when my dream of owning my own vegetarian resto was born.
My family's always been in the restaurant industry, but growing up, I didn't imagine myself doing what my dad was doing. Lucky for me, my parents allowed me to pursue the arts, but I guess being an entrepreneur runs in the blood and it was part of my destiny as well.
In 2008. I started dating my then boyfriend (now husband) PJ and he had just opened Pino in Maginhawa (together with Chef Edward Bugia and Star Jose). I shared with him my dream of opening a vegetarian resto. In 2010, when Pino moved to Malingap street, we decided to launch Pipino as a 6-item vegetarian line alongside Pino's menu. People were coming for just the vegetarian dishes, and after 6 months, we opened Pipino restaurant on the 2nd floor. (october 2010)
Monica: I know you had vegan/raw training in the USA, what certification do you have in the kitchen?
Alessa: Last September-October 2011, I took up some classes at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York. I'm not a chef, but I like experimenting in the kitchen!:)
Monica: Are all the recipes in Pipino by you? I know you have a partner who is a chef. I'm sure he isn't vegetarian :P
Alessa: I work with Chef Edward Bugia on the dishes. He's not a vegetarian, but he's really, really creative. There are some items on the menu which I created myself, such as the pasta dishes, including the vegan lasagna, and all our desserts, baked goods and ice cream :). A lot of it was born out of trial& error and success in the kitchen ;)
Monica: Aside from doing Watercolor and Calligraphy, what other crafts do you do?
Alessa: I used to teach art through a mobile art school that I put together after graduating from high school. It was called Art Adventures. I've always loved art as a kid, I did textile paint, mixed media, calligraphy, oil pastel drawings, paper quilling, and other crafts as early as 5 years old. Right now, though a lot of my work is focused on watercolor and calligraphy, I also find the time to do stamping & printing, silver clay jewelry, and most recently, book binding. :)
Monica: What made you decide to do Crafternoon Workshops in Pipino?
Alessa: The main restaurant Pino supports local fine art and photography, so I decided that Pipino focus on Crafts. I started the Crafternoons because I dream of having a regular craft club that can meet and make different projects each time. It's a gathering of like-minded people, and is also a great way to share the love and appreciation for delicious vegan food.
Monica: Since Pipino, Pino and Burgr Project has achieved its successes in the span of how many years? Anything else you are working for?
Alessa: We're opening a Brgr Project branch, our first franchise, in Taft this August. In September, we're opening Burger Proj, Pino and Pipino in Jupiter st, Makati! Pino is turning 4 (August 8, 2008), and both Pipino and Brgr Project are turning 2 this year.
Congratulations on your expansion, Alessa! I'm so happy about this. There is definitely a demand for healthier food choices in Manila, by the looks of it! And what a wonderful marriage you have of conscious food and a haven for crafts work. I look forward to more craft series in Pipino!
Pipino Vegetarian Restaurant
#39 Malingap, Teachers Village, QC
Open Mondays to Saturdays 11am - 12mn
Sundays '11am -10pm