Pop-up case study: Yummy Choo
Selina Periampillai, aka Yummy Choo, has been part of the fast-growing supperclub scene for just eight months with the aim of bringing Mauritian cuisine to the fore.
“I had the passionate aim to get authentic Mauritian home cooking out there to educate people, if you will, as not a lot of people know what it consists of,” says Selina Periampillai, a Mauritian cook now finding her supperclub business branching out into the world of pop-ups.
Selina began running the supperclubs from her home in Croydon, but given its location and the growing popularity of her events, demand lead her to expanding through South and Central London and seeking out perfect locations for a Mauritian pop-up. Her first pop-up outside her home was set against the backdrop of a cosy cafe in Brixton. With the extra space and covers allowing for more diners and entertainment, it also allowed her to get closer to replicating a laid back Mauritian vibe, Selina says. It’s clearly set a precedent as she’s preparing for her next two pop-ups in Warwick Avenue and Covent Garden, again allowing for added quirks including themed Sunday dinners and Palm House dining for a tropical feel.
A self-taught cook who grew up around food has led Selina to where she is now, through experimenting, eating out, dining in and taking inspiration from restaurants has helped her business evolve. Not to mention, as she puts it, “having the motivation and determination to learn new things and read more cookery books.”
But besides the freedom to tailor each occasion to suit your theme, what can go wrong?
“Lots of small issues can come up,” says Selina. “From not having enough space or having to fit people in, last minute cancellations and having a Plan B in case things don’t work out last minute food-wise. It means you always have the creative hat on to make something out of nothing. You need to delegate in the kitchen for it to be successful and check food goes out on time. Being organised is a must!”
So for a keen home cook, the model of a pop-up has led to Mauritian cuisine gaining good word of mouth and evolving into a full-time business in the form of supperclubs, cooking classes and collaborations with other chefs from the street food market scene and beyond.
“Pop-ups have become more about the dining experience as well as the food and everyone offers something unique. There are still so many restaurants to go to, but the amount of pop-ups and supperclubs is increasing and people want to try something different,” says Selina. “It’s great for people who can’t afford to set up a restaurant or just want to test the market. And social media opens a perfect avenue for marketing, advertising and communicating with potential customers.
“People are tired of conventional restaurants. Pop-ups can give you budding hot new talented chefs and cooks creating menus in quirky spaces — there’s nothing not to love!”