I started PK after the death of my father Pepe. He was and still is my inspiration in life. He did not have everything he wanted and he made many mistakes but he never gave up on life even when people gave up on him. He taught me how to cook and it was our bonding moment together. My mum worked abroad and my papa was both my mum & dad growing up. Setting up PK was…I guess a way for me to cope and to mourn for my papa. Remembering our good and bad times together.
It was summer in London when I got a call from my sister who gave me a terrible news that he collapsed while working and was taken to the hospital. They diagnosed him at first with a stroke because he couldn’t speak properly after the incident. He was given medicines to take but his health did not get better, it was getting worse and there was swelling on his throat that continued to grow until he couldn’t eat anymore and had to be aided through a tube. The diagnosis was then confirmed as Throat Cancer. After only months his health deteriorated, we gathered as much money as we could to fly the whole family home. Thank the universe we did go home, introduced my youngest who he hadn’t met yet and was nearly 2 at that time. Sadly he couldn’t speak to us anymore, he saw us and I know from his eyes he was happy to see us. We understood.
That trip was to be the last time I saw and spoke to my papa. A week after we returned to London he passed. Sadly I was not able to go home for his funeral, forcing me to deal with my grief here in London. I felt I owed so much to him and the guilt of not being able to go back made me look at how I could create a legacy for him. For him to be remembered not for how he died, or his mistakes, but for what he did for people and what he gave to people…for what he meant to me. In parts Batangas and parts of Quezon provinces, he was known as Tio Pepe, but to me he was my papa. Preparing and cooking food was our happiest time we shared together and soon after his passing, I created PK with one goal; to promote Filipino food in London. I started with catering Philippine inspired canapés then I created a Filipino Supper Club, with a theme that was trending in New York and was slowly moving to London. PK monthly pop up was born, serving traditional Filipino food. It’s been running for 5 years and still going strong.
I think I have reached the point where Pepe’s Kitchen is ready to evolve to something bigger, brighter and something that expresses not only my creativity but my passion too.
I will be rebranding from Pepe’s Kitchen to focus on me and my food. My Papa helped shape my food ideas and memories, now I have created my own food identity.
I’m not saying goodbye to Filipino food or to you my lovely diners. I’m taking this opportunity to be reborn!
Any branding and name suggestions are duly welcome…who knows you may have the same idea as me! WATCH THIS SPACE PEEPS!