Natasha Acuba – Telly’s Manila Kitchen

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  • When Filipinos think of a business opportunity, most of the time it deals with food. This is
    because our primary language of love is feeding people. So, when a young Filipino
    entrepreneur begins a business, it is their memories of food shared within their families, passed
    down from one generation to the next, that inspires them to embark on an adventure for
    themselves.

    Natasha Acuba is one of those entrepreneurs. Her signature product, Adobo Flakes is a recipe
    from her grandmother who was from Pateros, Metro Manila where balut is from. It is a family
    recipe that has been passed down to their family and her mom has been serving the adobo
    flakes at all parties and celebrations.

    “Our Adobo Flakes can be used as ulam with garlic rice, fried egg and tomatoes like a ‘silog’ or
    you can use it as a topping to any dish like mac and cheese, baked potato. It is like the love
    child of beef jerky and pork floss. Our flakes are authentically Filipino but can also be a versatile
    topping to western and other Asian cuisine,” Natasha shares. As it is fully cooked already, the
    adobo flakes can be heated up for 30 seconds in the microwave and added to rice for a ready
    meal.

    Her journey to her business started from having been in retail for a while. Their family migrated
    to Canada in 2003, where she attended College of St. Benilde prior to moving. She was only 19
    years old and was fascinated in the world of retail and client service so most of the jobs that she
    applied for were in client servicing. She worked in various companies such as Starbucks,
    HSBC, Banana Republic and most recently Sephora Beauty Canada where she stayed for 11
    years.

    I was employed with Sephora for 11 years with various management roles under my belt when
    I decided to take Telly’s Manila Kitchen full time and retired from my retail career in January
    2022.”

    Her inspiration for her business is her mom Telly and my grandmother Teresita, who graces the
    logo of her products. Natasha says that they are her icons, both strong willed women,
    empowered and kind to everyone around them.

    “When my grandmother suffered a stroke in 2018, we got to see her but with the pandemic and
    increasing need for medical care, we decided to start selling our Adobo Flakes from home so
    we can send some money to her even in a small way as she needed 24/7 nursing care,” she
    shares.

    Natasha knew her product was unique and no one else in Canada was offering anything like it,
    so they took the business to heart and began to market it in community events and farmers
    markets.

    Natasha says that she is proud of their product and that more similar products should flood the
    Canadian market.

    “As Filipinos, we know our food is good but it needs to be introduced more. We need to let
    people know that Filipino food is very diverse as we have 7107 islands and different regions that
    have their own unique dishes and flavours,” Natasha says. She also says that it is important for
    Filipinos to be proud of the products that we have and we offer as they are unique, and we need
    to take a stand that our food can be on the same level as other Southeast Asian and Asian
    dishes.

    “Our flavour palette came from not only the Spanish but also the Malay, Chinese and
    Indigenous roots,” she adds.

    Natasha believes that it is important to impart our heritage to the next generation of Filipinos in
    Canada. She says that she is proud of her heritage and that through our food, it can be known
    and appreciated by the rest of the country.

    (Telly’s Manila Kitchen Adobo Flakes can be found in Manila BBQ Supermart in New West,
    Eat Kanadiyan inside Lucky Supermarket in Surrey, Dalina in Main St and City Avenue
    Market in New West Quay. You can also follow them on Instagram @manilakitchen_yvr for
    events and promos and order online through our website
    www.manilakitchenyvr.com for pick
    up and deliveries in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. Delivery is free.)

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