Here’s something you may never have tried before. Filipino food. It’s brought to you by 26-year-old entrepreneur Zosima Fulwell, who has a three month residency at Hatch, the eclectic Oxford Road venue just under the Mancunian Way.
She launched Mama Z there on the last weekend in July.
“Moving to Hatch was a dream of mine since last year and it feels amazing to have done it the way I envisioned,” says Zos.
“The business idea came from my love of cooking for many years and a need to look after people – particularly through their stomachs.
“My name is Zos, so it just became Mama Z from then on. I suppose Mama Z just stuck with the business because it was a true representation of me and what I was about.”
She has a degree in Contemporary Art History but decided to pursue one of her other passions – a love of cooking – which has taken Mama Z from concept to a functional food business within the space of a year – thanks to a little help from her friends, Manchester Youth Market and the Princes Trust.
She began trading as Mama Z last summer and applied to the Manchester Youth Market in December.
“I first heard about Manchester Youth Market through a friend of mine and seeing as doing street food events was what I wanted to do. It definitely did help. There is SO much advice, a grant that helped me get equipment and to get started, as well free pitches for trading, which really helped me to get stuck in.
“I then went onto the Princes Trust too which also further helped me in getting to grips with running a business. I think everyone should definitely do it if they can because the support and help is just incredible.”
Zos is half Filipino and half English and grew up in the Middle East, so the food at Mama Z incorporates an array of influences, including the home cooking of her mother and grandmothers.
“It’s a taste of Manila in Manchester,” says Zos.
“I think Filipino food is just so unexplored and Manchester is ready for something new and delicious. I often find that I meet so many mixed Filipinos and Filipino people in the city and just always thought it was bizarre nobody was representing our culture.
“I am basically cooking things I love to eat and dishes I have memories of enjoying.”
Manchester is a place Zos is certainly thankful for when it comes to foodie inspiration. “I love to switch it up but definitely have my favourites here. In China Town it has to be Happy Seasons, just for their roast duck. Bundobust for cheap no-frills Indian street food and most recently, Salvis for Italian.
“I also really love the food in Levenshulme, we are lucky to have really amazing bakeries and little eateries there. Watch out for Jandol for delicious Lebanese Mezze and Levenshulme Bakery for the best shawarma ever – and this is coming from someone who has eaten a fair few growing up in Saudi!
“You also have to get Oh Mei Dumpling whenever you see her, as her dumplings are the best I have ever eaten. Places like Grub and Hatch were my go-to places before I started working here myself.”
Mama Z not only celebrates fabulous foodie culture, but is an ethically-minded business too.
A number of vegan dishes are available and if you bring your own container for street food, you will receive a discount. This helps to cut down on plastic waste. Zos also sells reusable tote bags.
And when it comes to the food, Zos has particular recommendations:
“Dishes to look out for are Adobo, Sisig, noodle dishes like Pancit or Palabok, as well as desserts such as Turon or Cassava cake,” she says.
“My favourite dish on my menu, which will be a special every now and again, are definitely the Lumpia (spring rolls). I just love the simplicity of them and I always have these memories of my mum making them and just dipping them in Suka (spicy vinegar dip) and absolutely loving them when I was a child. They are such perfect bar food too and really compliment beer.”
Her advice to anyone who is thinking of starting up their own foodie business?
“Just go for it,” she says. “Talk to someone about your idea and just see what’s out there and explore your options. I was so scared about doing about it but if you are passionate and have a great idea, then there are so many ways you can go about it. If I can do it, so can you.”
Catch Mama Z at Hatch Oxford Road Mon-Tues 11-3pm; Weds-Sat 11-9pm; Sun 12-6pm