MANILA -- When the new cloud restaurant Wok With Yap, owned by eventologist Tim Yap, officially rolls out on Monday, August 17, millennials will understandably have no association to the popular ‘80s cooking show, “Wok With Yan,” hosted by Chinese chef Stephen Yan.
However, the older generation will perhaps easily remember the title and hence, will readily agree to Yap’s choice of name.
“When I was a kid, I was glued to the TV,” recalled Yap in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News. “Aside from Nora Daza, ‘Wok With Yan’ was my first exposure to food and cooking on TV with this Asian man presenting easy-to-make recipes at home.”
Wok With Yap is Yap’s latest business venture. He attests that he had little learning from watching cooking shows. “But I eat a lot,” Yap insisted. “Javi [Martinez] cooks better.”
Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yap and chef Carlo Miguel, the restaurant’s culinary director, had been planning to open Wok With Yap.
“After the planning stage, we were supposed to launch pre-COVID, but this pandemic happened,” Yap explained. “We purposely delayed the opening and concentrated to supply food to 20 hospitals for the frontliners at the start of the lockdown.
“That gave us more time to develop and improve the menu of Wok With Yap. Javi and I did more food tasting. We got a chef. Pinasarap pa namin all that we’re offering.”
Hainanese chicken. Handout
Kung pao chicken. Handout
Beef with broccoli. Handout
Hummus and tabbouleh salad. Handout
Not that they merely downsized due to this pandemic. Even before, Wok With Yap was originally planned to open as a cloud restaurant. Lately, cloud kitchens are booming, as restaurants redefine their operations and more people opt for the safer and more convenient way to enjoy their food in the comfort of their own homes.”
“Actual restaurants are operating as cloud restaurants,” Yap pointed out. “It’s either they simplify their operations or originally launch as a cloud kitchen, with mobile-driven delivery service. That’s a more realizable venture to start with.”
Yap did not wait for the pandemic to taper off before he opened Wok With Yap. The quarantine period allowed him to carefully scrutinize everything, from the food and menu to the design and logo, as well as the photo shoots.
Last week, Wok With Yap did a dry run of its services with FoodPanda and GrabFood. “I’m really excited for the opening,” Yap enthused.
To start with, Wok With Yap offers eight Filipino rice bowls with Asian twist, all served with a choice of brown rice, quinoa or adlai. The menu consists of Hainanese chicken, kung pao chicken, kani mango, hummus and tabbouleh salad, soy ginger salmon, beef and broccoli, spicy salmon and orange chicken.
“Everything is hearty, healthy and flavorful,” Yap said. “I love flavors, so the rice bowls will offer that to our customers.”
Wok With Yap will operate five kitchens around Metro Manila – Pasig, Makati, Manila, San Juan and Quezon City. “Eventually, we are looking at having 10 kitchens before the year ends,” Yap said. “I will not deny we are even planning to expand.
“We’ll see how it goes. I’ll take it from there. We plan to develop more dishes that we can add to the menu. Wok With Yap might even be an actual restaurant eventually.”
Aside from the opening of his new cloud restaurant, Yap is also pre-occupied with his weekly online show. “That has kept me sane and in touch with colleagues. My catch-up time with them,” he said.
As the president and CEO of Yaparazzi Events, he has online events that make up his schedule, too. “I am busy with a lot of online hosting,” Yap said. “I don’t even have to dress up. I only need to put a nice top and I can do the job.”
Moreover, Yap is launching a new app for celebrities that will happen before the year ends.