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IN CONVERSATION WITH: TINTIN JONSSON (SWILIPINO)

Chef Tintin Jonsson combines influences from her dual Swedish and Filipino heritage to create exciting, mostly plant-based dishes for pop-ups and events around London.

To celebrate the launch of her menu, the fourth in our Spotlight Emerging Chefs series, we spoke to Tintin about her life in food, from how she got started as a chef, to her favourite snacks, spices and more.

How did you get started in food?

My career in food started by coincidence. I had always wanted to be a photographer but it wasn’t working out, so I fell into hospitality. After years working in different bars, pubs and clubs, and two years front of house at My Neighbours the Dumplings, I asked for a job in the kitchen.

I began working as a dumpling chef in the development kitchen and it just really clicked as a role, because it gave me a similar creative outlet as my photography. I started cooking more in my spare time too, and came up with the name Swilipino for my first supper club, which was based on dishes inspired by my Swedish-Filipino roots. My mum is a huge influence on my cooking, but I also draw inspiration from lots of other cuisines, especially Chinese and South Asian food, as well as European. 

What are your plans for the future with Swilipino? 

I have several upcoming pop-ups and supper clubs around London, including one at My Neighbours the Dumplings in June. You can find out where I’m cooking via my instagram (@swilipino). 

What piece of cooking equipment could you not live without?

That’s hard! But I’d say my wooden wok spatula, because I use it all the time.

What’s your ultimate favourite (aka desert island) dish?

My desert island dish would 110% be noodle soup!

Which chefs (or friends/family/food personalities) inspire your cooking?

The women at my work are all amazing, my friend Alex (@deadhungry) is inspiring and definitely my mum, too. 

What’s your go-to meal at the end of a long day?

Anything with rice and sauce .

What’s your favourite spice?

Cardamom.

What are your favourite restaurants in London?

Eat of Eden is banging – it does vegan Jamaican soul food and it’s really really good. They have the best mac and cheese!

My other favourite place to eat is Etles Uyghur in Walthamstow, which serves authentic dishes from Xinjiang in northwest China 

What’s your favourite city or country in the world for a foodie trip? 

I’m going to have to say the Philippines, but specifically home-cooked food from my family, rather than eating out. My dad lives right by the ocean and there’s a local guy who comes by the house with the freshest fish and seafood every day to cook with, it’s amazing. 

What’s your favourite shop-bought snack?

Lightly salted crisps. 

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