THE year she turned 40, Mimi Vergara-Tupas thought of learning something new.
"I do not have any formal culinary education. However, I am a person who is ambitious and enthusiastic to always learn a new skill as long as it allows me to be my best creative self," she reveals.
Mimi used to be in clothing and retail for 10 years and was founder of a homegrown fashion brand, a multiway dress label, and swimsuit label for women of many shapes before venturing into pet wellness and food.
Desiring to elevate their food brand sparked her interest to take a Raw Vegan Certification in Ubud, Bali in 2018.
The mother of three explains that the raw vegan way of eating means "consumption of food exclusively from plant sources and is not processed, refined, pasteurized, nor heated above 48 degrees to preserve all of their living enzymes for optimum nutrition."
Staying in Bali, eating raw, and mindfully listening to her body for 21 days straight opened her heart and mind to conscious consumption.
"It didn't just provide me an optimum foundation for whole and plant-based food. It also opened up purposes that are bigger than just purely business. Right after my course in 2018, there was no way to stop me from carving a dream of a 100 percentplant-powered cafe for Davao," shares Mimi enthusiastically.
Mimi clarifies, however, that her family is not vegan. Neither is she. But she has lovingly created several plant-powered dishes over the years for her family. She believes that there must be a more conscious way of consumption that is better for our health, our planet, and the environment.
Her noble aim is to create plant-based dishes and make them magically taste just as indulgent without having to rely on meat, eggs, dairy or processed food.
Clean Café has three principles in creating their dishes: health, flavor, sustainability.
"We can't serve it if it's not better for your health, or flavorful or better for the environment. That's what clean food is all about," explains Mimi, who runs the café along with hubby Jun for the financial and business development side and son Uno for the culinary aspect.
"We live by our purpose -- to encourage people to love living clean. We made sure this was carried on to every aspect of our design, the cafe's feels, live plants, our music, our restroom, our merchandise, and most especially, on our food - 0 percent preservatives, 0 percent meat, 0 percent animal by-products, 100 percent natural, 100 percent whole, and 100 percent nutritious," Mimi enthuses.
Family game changer
"My weakness in the kitchen is filled by our son Uno, who had formal training from culinary school. He is 22 and puts order in the chaos that I do in my kitchen! He also helped establish the cornerstone of our menu -- which are the breads and the doughs for our very popular bread baskets, toasts, and pizzas," says the proud mom.
Clean Café's dressings are made in-house, from scratch. It makes its own bread and life-changing vegan butter.
"We even whip our own cream from coconut milk. We press our juices &nutmylks daily," she details.
Mimi admits that the plant-powered café is double the hard work compared to other commercial kitchens because it practices farm to table, and sources organic produce whenever possible. It also keeps close ties with the farmers and lets them know of the consumptions so they will be better informed of what to grow more of and better sense of purpose.
"I am sure I am not the only one in this day and age struggling to feed their family with healthy fare in the middle of all this city rush," points out Mimi. Only a month into its operations, the hardworking mom was inspired to know that some families have joined her plant-based food advocacy in their own homes after experiencing her vegan dishes at the cafe.
This time, the tables have turned though because, amazingly, it's the kids who have been clamoring for healthier options.
What a family game changer, indeed!
Special thanks to Mimi Tupas, Angel Go, and Natalie Wee for the photos.
E-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view more photos, please visit http://momabouttowndavao.blogspot.com/.