Locavore Kitchen & Drinks is not your typical Filipino restaurant – and it has quickly become known for its unique take on local cuisine. Now with 5 branches, Locavore has become a favorite stop for families and friends who want the comforting sense of Filipino food with an added zing.
We caught up with Locavore co-founder Tin Magsaysay-Matic at their tropical-inspired S Maison branch where she shared with us how her ‘experiments’ in the kitchen turned into bestselling dishes and why she believes it’s important to pursue seemingly unrelated passions.
How did you come up with the idea for Locavore?
"My partner Alta Lyttle and I had the idea to open a restaurant. During our meetings, we discovered that the recipes we knew how to make weren’t traditional or conventional Filipino recipes – everything had a twist. We didn’t really plan Locavore to have that kind of concept."
Tin wearing the Montura prism in aventurine layered with her own necklaces
Have you always been passionate about food?
"I’ve always loved food. I started cooking when I was 8 years old. Our family would always cook together and we would spend almost every weekend in Zambales."
"Growing up, I learned how to make do with what we had at home. I didn’t really have a lot of money to buy groceries because I was still in school so I would just use whatever I could find in the kitchen."
"That’s how a lot of the recipes on Locavore’s menu came about. I used to be addicted to caldereta and I would add different ingredients to give it a twist each time like ginger, hoisin sauce, or a lot of raw garlic."
Locavore's Ginataang Kalabasa, one of Tin's favorite dishes
Locavore's take on the classic Filipino merienda champorado made with cream cheese mousse and fish floss
"Most of the time, I had to improvise and that’s how I came up with the recipes for the Sugpo con Mayonesa, the Ginataang Kaldereta, the Garlic Baby Squid and the Lumpia."
What’s your philosophy when it comes to cooking?
"I get a lot of inspiration from my dad. I recently watched Samin Nosrat of ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’ and I really like her. I like relaxed cooking – not so serious, not so scientific. For me, it’s more about the gathering of people or the social aspect than the science behind it."
Tin wearing the Aquina earrings
What does a typical day look like for you?
"For Locavore, my partners and I usually spend 3 to 4 consecutive days in one branch. If I’m at S Maison, my sister Carla would be in Brixton and Alta would be in BGC. We opened our Eastwood branch recently so we’re giving that location more focus."
Can you share some of your self-care rituals?
"I feel like it’s self-care when I spend time with my kids because I love being with them. Aside from that, I love going to the beach and surfing."
Are you planning on putting up other business concepts?
"Aside from Locavore, I have a resort wear line called Quiver, which is available online and in Rustan’s, Kermit in Siargao, LU Open House and Vessel Hostel in La Union, and at Aliya Surf Camp in Baler. I also have a sunglasses line called Fin Sunnies available in those locations, too."
"Right now, I’m working on a pop-up for babi guling or Balinese lechon. I want to test the market first because a lot of people don’t know what it is. I’m thinking of doing 3 or 4 pop-ups this year. I also want to open a sustainable take-out counter where you can bring your own bags and bottles to raise awareness about single-use plastic and promote a zero-waste lifestyle."
What are your tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?
"If you have an interest, whatever it may be, even if you think it’s useless for business, just keep doing it. It’s never useless. As long as you continue to work on things that you’re passionate about, I believe it will lead you to something bigger."
Visit www.locavore.ph for more information.
Follow Locavore: @locavore.ph
Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)