Cebu’s Creative Tribe Series: Chip Lopez
A cheeky play on words, the founder behind The Lazy Chef Lunch Club Chip Lopez is one of the hardest working women you’ll meet. She just started her line of plant-based dishes last year, and yet she’s already been shaking the branches of the local culinary industry. The Lazy Chef caters to on-the-go people who’d like to lead healthier lifestyles, learn more about wellness, and have access to thoughtfully prepared, nutritious meals.
One of her hand drawn menus
For Cebu’s Creative Tribe Series (CCT), Chip shares with us how she found her “something,” turned her passion into a thriving business, and inadvertently changed the Cebuano dining scene. It doesn’t hurt that she looks stunning as she accomplishes all of this on a daily basis, just before you’re about to grab lunch.
Thank you for being a ray of sunlight, and inspiring us here at CCT, Chip!
1. What made you fall in love with promoting wellness, and preparing healthy dishes? (Let’s trace your roots)
In July of 2013, I decided I was going to the States to visit my brother. He knew how much I was falling in love with yoga and how it was starting to change me in all aspects. So he suggested that I should do an internship at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute for both yoga and culinary training, and luckily, I got in.
To sum up my experience in those few months:
- I met some of the most amazing people in my life
- I was treated with so much love, respect and appreciation by people I worked with
- I made the much needed paradigm shift…to make a significant change and for life to make sense, you have to go inward. You take a look at yourself, what you’re putting in your body, you choose and filter your thoughts, you learn to quiet your mind, and you go in search for your Creator and when you get do all this—you ground yourself, and hold on as tightly as you can.
Because I know what a plant-based diet did for me, I want to pay it forward. I want people to see that being healthy is not something you do overnight. It’s all those big things and little things, it’s being gentle with yourself and more importantly, it’s finding joy in what you’re doing.
Being healthy doesn’t have to feel like a punishment; making that change can be fun. And food is always a good place to start.
The Lazy Chef’s Veggie Burger
2. Please share with us what your creative philosophy is.
I started The Lazy Chef Lunch Club because I wanted to share my newfound excitement with vegetables. Most of us hesitate when trying to shift to having a healthier diet because we have this preconceived notion that healthy equals unenjoyable.
The Lazy Chef’s Eggs in Purgatory with Ratatouille
I started experimenting and just making vegan versions of my favorite dishes. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I didn’t miss the meat.
Cebuano delicacies puso and barbecue veganized
I hope that people see vegetables in a different light. I don’t want to trick them into eating their vegetables; rather, I want our plant friends to shine on their own.
The Running Vegan Corn Chowder with Roasted Garlic Bruschetta
Mushrooms when cooked and seasoned the right way can taste absolutely amazing. The sky is the limit if we only allow ourselves to step outside the box. I always say a plant-based diet is not for everybody, but blue-sky thinking is.
Wild rice with Mixed Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic Mash
3. Aside from your work, what other things are you deeply passionate about?
Yoga. Walking into my first class was the best decision I ever made. Everything just unraveled after that.
And people. The mystery of human resilience fascinates me. I want to share my testimonial that when life gives you lemons, you don’t have to make lemonade. Toss it out and make beet juice. Go and search for your Great Perhaps—however long it takes. Because when you find it, I swear, nothing else will matter.
4. What is it like to pursue and hone your craft in Cebu, and to represent the city that you’re from?
The reason why I decided to come back was I wanted to share with Cebuanos everything that I learned. I didn’t want to do it anywhere else.
The first few months after I got back was tough, a lot of doors were slammed in my face. But I fought back because I believed that those people who said “no” to change did not define Cebu. My Cebu, the city that I love so much, has the most number of blue sky thinkers than anywhere else in the world.
And after 6 months of trying, Cebu fought back with me in the form of The Lazy Chef Lunch Club.
5. To people who’d like to follow your footsteps…what would you like to tell them?
Our mission is not to force people to make that change. The best thing we can do is to live by example, share our stories and find joy in what we are doing. T.S Eliot said it best: “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”
Brave the waves,
Coming Out of The Water
I spent the past year swimming through monumental highs and lows, monstrous fears and self-doubt, and extraordinary love (magic!) to get to where I was today. Somewhere in the middle of it all, when the struggle was at its peak…I ran out of air and lost my voice. I collapsed inward, and stopped doing one of the things that I loved the most—sharing stories.
By some miracle (and lots of answered prayers, rain dances, stars aligning), I could breathe again. The words that I needed to say were patiently waiting for me; I just had to travel back to them. Funny how, even if I was halfway around the world now, regaining my voice was able to give me a sense of homecoming.
For the past month, I’ve been getting settled in the U.S., adjusting to the new environment, people, and culture. Have you ever gone through this huge a change as well? I moved here to take up postgraduate studies in the University of California, Los Angeles for a year. I’ve still been trying my best to get used to things here…Although it hasn’t been easy, undeniably, it’s been a dream realized.
The break thankfully made this clearer: Brave The Waves would continue to be about my loved ones who helped make all of this happen, the places and experiences that urged me to have more courage to swim against the tides, and the challenges that kept me grounded…
And the thrilling, life-changing milestones that have been waiting in the wings, taking shape, poised to take flight.
I have so much more to share with you. Thank you for standing by me as I strove to come out of the water, just so I could return to it once again—healed and whole.
Brave the waves,
Stopping Time at Baler
One of the many reasons why I loved growing up in the province was the drawn out, lazy sunrise that would rouse you each morning. Your body would just naturally wake up at the crack of dawn, responding to a silent alarm. As though it just knew how a disservice it would be to miss seeing the sky change colors.
In Baler, the days lasted longer, so any surf trip there was reminiscent of my childhood back in my hometown Cebu. My friends and I milked everything we could during the last weekend we had there. Nobody looked at their watches because…you didn’t have to, really.
Happy Hour had no limit, started at lunch, and stretched well into the evening. The cheaper the drinks were, the better. Tira!
And despite the countless rounds of crazy drinking games we’d have the night before…we’d always, always wake up early for this.
Gotta love Brei and Chinky, the mermaids who made our past two surf trips happen. Thank you, guapas! Chula!
Brave the waves,