Can you share a bit about your business and what you two do?
Aimee: I am a sommelier by trade. Before mid-March, I was the lead sommelier at Californios, SF. Concurrently, I ran a side-gig selling Filipino food via an online platform. How I got from there to here has been a true journey of personal growth. Currently, and pardon the jump lol, I am the lead baker at Churn, SF. The goal is to further my ice cream & pastry abilities while focusing on our pop up.
Brett: Hi! Brett here. I’m a sous chef at Liholiho Yacht Club. Together we run a pop-up called Hunnybee. I have to credit Aimee 100% for getting us up and going during the COVID shutdown. She is the most motivated and inspiring person in my life. After those first few quiet and crushing weeks in March, I quickly realized that putting on an apron every day and making food was good for everyone involved, especially for my own mental wellness. Those were some really difficult months. Hunnybee was not only an outlet, but an avenue to connect with people was incredibly encouraging. Since then, we’ve created a robust, flexible pop up that can be as nimble as the environment or circumstances require. We focus on Southeast Asian flavors and vibes. Hunnybee is simply the cutesy, romantic name we call each other. Hopefully, our love is translated into the food and feeling every time we show up.
How did you two decide you wanted to start this new venture?
It all started as a “pandemic hustle” as an out-of-work chef and somm from San Francisco restaurants. The beginning of quarantine was a whirlwind of a time, kind of like sitting in a purgatory state–never knowing what would come next, never having any answers. We found solace in what we knew we were good at. What carried us through those times can always be tied back to our love for sharing a table together with delicious food and good conversation.
Some of our best memories are cooking meals together on our days off and drinking simple wines/beverages as a way of unwinding from the chaotic restaurant life. We wanted to continue that tradition.
What do you love most about running your own business?
To be honest, we have no idea how to run our own business. Neither of us comes from finance or business backgrounds. Making people happy through delicious food and hospitality has been our profession for years. Business sense and costing savvy were not exactly a part of the curriculum. BUT this experience has proven to be an amazing learning experience. We’re learning through the guidance of trusted mentors from Liho and Churn. The encouragement and support from our employers have been remarkable. Eventually, you realize that you’re never going to learn how to run your own business unless you just put yourself out there and try to do it yourself.
What are your goals for your business?
Whether or not this becomes anything long-lasting, we know we’ve learned so many lessons that can carry on to our next project. Also, to prove to ourselves that we can manifest something we’ve thought about for so long.
How do you go about figuring out who you’ll be collaborating with next? (Love the collabs!!!!)
What’s your favorite dish/meal to create so far?
Aimee: Dishes my mother made in her past like guava sinigang, okoy, or halo-halo. It connects me to her. Cooking Kapampangan dishes she once cooked makes me feel a sense of harmony. Although not living together (she passed when I was 13), our lives are a simultaneous binding of our legacy.
Brett: Personally, I loved our “greatest hits Asia” bundle, which consisted of sticky fish caramel ribs, garlic noodles, tea leaf salad & pineapple upside-down cake. It was a fun mosaic of my favorite dishes that I could probably find at four different restaurants, splashed into one.