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JP Anglo's Kooya Aims To Bring Elevated Filipino Food To The UAE "Our main idea is really to bring good Filipino food to countries outside of the Philippines."

By Aby Sam Thomas

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

JP Anglo, chef and owner, Kooya

As a celebrated chef in the Philippines, JP Anglo doesn't need much of an introduction to the Filipino population in the UAE, and that may well explain why there has been a lot of love and support pouring in for the launch of his first F&B venture in the UAE, Kooya Filipino Eatery. With its name being a derivation of the Tagalog word kuya (meaning "brother"), the restaurant aims to be a celebration of Filipino cuisine.

And Anglo, who is perhaps best known for being the man behind the hugely popular Sarsa Kitchen concept in Manila and bringing an irresistible twist to the cuisine of The Philippines, hopes that the fare at Kooya will wow not just his fellow kabayan, but also those who may not be as familiar with it. "Our main idea is really to bring good Filipino food to countries outside of the Philippines," Anglo says. "Not "elevated' Filipino food per se, because Filipino food is already great. It just needs to be presented differently for those who have yet to experience it. Why can't we have good quality Filipino food that people would have access to, much like Vietnamese food or Thai food?"

Located in Dubai Marina, Kooya is currently in its soft opening phase as a business, but the food Anglo has been serving at the restaurant has already been getting a lot of rave reviews. Kooya's beef kalderata and chicken inasal appear to be its biggest hits, but praises have been aplenty for its inihaw na adobong tokwa and pancit palabok as well.

Source: Kooya

Commenting on the reception he has seen to Kooya so far, Anglo says, "So far, it's been good. We've also been seeing a lot of different nationalities eating at Kooya, and it's great that they like it. Most people have no idea what Filipino food is, even though they have so many Filipino friends. It's time to start bringing Filipino food to the world. The campaign I am really pushing is to push #FilipinoFoodForward, because it's time that people realize how good our food, culture, and heritage is."

And that ties into Anglo's advice for anyone wanting to follow his lead in becoming an entrepreneur. "Don't be afraid to break barriers and stereotypes," Anglo says. "Go for it, and go for it through and through. There is nothing worse than half-baked anything- make sure your "why,' or the reason for wanting to do something, is on point."

Related: Vietnamese Foodies Owner And Executive Chef Lily Hoa Nguyen On Growing Her Business From Strength To Strength

Source: Kooya

EUREKA: JP Anglo explains how to make an idea a great one

1. You need to be inspired "Find your inspiration, and follow your gut feel. Of course, do your research too."

2. Choose the right partners "Choose allies based on their values, visions, and abilities. They should complement yours, and make up for the things you lack."

3. Hire a good team "The one thing you should invest in are your people. Invest in your key people, and your life will be so much easier."

Kooya is one of the companies included in the 2022 edition of our annual 10 Great Ideas feature, which celebrates individuals and innovations that impress with their ingenuity. Check out the full list of 10 Great Ideas in our print issue here.

Related: Neha Mishra's Kinoya Aims To Change The Japanese Cuisine Narrative In Dubai

Aby Sam Thomas

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.

Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.  


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