Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pipino: Watercolor Crafternoon

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

For those of you who haven't been to this gem of a place, you are definitely missing out. The interiors are lovely and the vegetarian/vegan food selection is delicious, guilt & cruel-free, and easy on the wallet, too! Think about getting a whole lotta good karmic points when you dine there. I've been there on several occasions, usually with my co-yoga teachers and FLOW partners because they're mostly vegetarians so this place is a life-saver because we don't have to worry the menu. 

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

I've known Alessa since we were in High School (or even younger?) because she is the cousin of my good friend and business partner, Noelle. After the workshop, I drilled her with some q's to find out more about Pipino. 


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

Twitter: @PipinoVeg

1 comment:

Ara Chawdhury said...

I love pipino! Everytime we're in town, my partner and I go there as a treat to ourselves. He's the vegetarian, but Pipino is my favorite Manila restaurant. I wish they'd open in Cebu soon, we'd be frequent customers. ^__^


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