Meet the Maker: Mama Z

Following on from my first Meet the Maker post where I spoke to Ancoats’ latest restaurateur Nelson of Viet Shack, I also went to see the lovely Zos of “Mama Z” to find out more about her food and what brings her to Manchester.

Zosima – bringing Filipino food to Manchester

Zosima is a very well-travelled lady. She was actually born and bred in the Middle East (Saudi) where she went to an international school, made friends from all over the globe and spent time going back and forth to see family in the Philippines – where her mum is from.

She moved back to the UK 10 years ago to study and has lived here ever since. But, it’s during her uni days that she began to cook the flavours from her childhood. Recreating the dishes made by her mother, aunties and grandmother brought back comforting memories of childhood holidays in Bataan. And not long after, Mama Z was born.

Cooking vibrant, Filipino food and feeding her flatmates exciting and delicious feasts from her youth she found her passion.

A taste of the Filipino province

If you’ve been to Manila recently, you’ll see that (like many other cities) it’s a concrete jungle, over Americanized and bursting at the seams with fast-food joints.

But out in the countryside (particularly Bataan, a province on the Filipino island of Luzon) families like Zosima’s feast on veggies, homegrown meat, grilled fish and zingy salads.

This is the true inspiration for Mama Z’s menu. But, if you do find yourself in Manila and fast-food is on the agenda, Zos recommends Jollibee with their crispy fried chicken and fries 😋🍟.

Breaking misconceptions: Filipino food is NOT all meat!

Although she admits it wasn’t easy pulling together a menu that caters to all and showcases the best of Filipino food, Zos came up with an offering that’s accessible without being too ‘unknown’. But you’ll recognise the flavours; Thai basil, coconut, chilli and coriander come together perfectly and show how complex the cuisine really is having influences from Spain, China and Thailand.

Zos was keen to cater for vegans, mostly to challenge the misconception that Filipino food is all meat. She wanted to showcase how fresh produce also plays a huge part in the foods of the province in this vast, stunning country.

“Manchester is ready for Filipino food,” she says, and I couldn’t agree more. “The city is a melting pot of different cultures” and she’s right, the people of MCR have really warmed to the food the Philippines and are hungry for more!

Mama Z at Hatch, Oxford Road, Manchester

You could (and should) catch Mama Z at Hatch on Oxford Road, Manchester. She’s there for the next few weeks and her menu changes weekly.

Give her a follow her on Instagram @cookingwithmamaz to keep up with the latest menus and supper clubs 😋🍴🌿

Dishes picture (from the top down)

Veggie Sisig. Slow-cooked aubergine and golden egg yolk. I ate sisig many times in the Philippines but Mama Z’s version is full of veggies and served with a perfect yolk. Add chilli sauce for an extra kick.

Chicken Bicol Express. A lush chicken dish from the Bicol (coconut) region. Salty, creamy and slow-cooked with a richness and umami flavour. She also does a pork belly version.

Adobo Jackfruit Bites. Served with sriracha sauce these are vegan-friendly and utterly delicious!

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