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Meet Daphne and Dennis Daung of All Things Ube Desserts in San Diego

Today we’d like to introduce you to Daphne and Dennis Daung.

Daphne and Dennis, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Well, All Things Ube started off with a simple conversation my husband Dennis and I both had in 2018. At the time, my father had just passed away eight months prior and we had just found out we were expecting our second child. Our conversation started off with just simple memories of my father and how he would love to always offer me ube desserts when I was younger. I mentioned to Dennis that, I was fortunate enough to have him give me his recipe for his famous Ube Halaya which is our key ingredient that we use today for all our desserts. Well, because we were expecting our second child we were looking for ways to making money and making ends meet without needing to put our kids into daycare or an after school program because everyone knows how expensive that could get. That’s when that light bulb turned on for Dennis. I’ll always remember the excitement in his voice, “How about we make all ube desserts”. I sat there for a little bit, thought of things that I would be able to make and how we would come out different from the rest of the yummy desserts there are in San Diego. We went back and forth to what we would call ourselves. We were really considering calling ourselves The Ube Project but we didn’t feel like it had a life to it. So, we came up with All Things Ube Desserts.

We honestly didn’t start promoting our desserts till early this year. We actually didn’t even mean to promote it. I had just ran some ube experimenting in the kitchen and was so happy with the results that I posted it up. Until we got a text from Dennis’ barber/friend from Mira Mesa asking if he could put an order in. He ended up posting it up and from that point, everything else kept rolling in. We were literally taking order through Instagram on a weekly base and doing monthly promotions. Until we decided to step out of our comfort zone and try for events around the county. Our first event was the San Diego night market that was held at the SDCCU Stadium in July and boy was that an experience. We’ve done a few more events after, that including a few pop-ups and now currently at the otay ranch farmer’s market on Tuesdays.

Team ATU is very big on supporting local and small businesses especially in San Diego and of course, we always had the family support. But looking back at how it even started, All Things Ube wouldn’t be where it’s at if it weren’t for all the supporters during its first year. All the way from the Chula Vista, City Heights and of course, Mira Mesa. Seriously, Mira Mesa definitely knows how to hold it down. We seriously appreciate all the continued love and support everyone has given us around the county. We enjoy everything about All Things Ube Desserts but it makes it 100 times more special when we have such a great support system.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Has it been a smooth road? Of course not and that’s something we were already anticipating from the start. The 2 main struggles I must say were financial and manpower. Money was definitely a big factor in the beginning because how do we start if we don’t have money to make the products? There were times where we would have three straights days without sleep just to make more than enough products to sell and put away funds to continue baking for the next batch of orders. It was a real struggle but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Along with financial was manpower and I must say… this is still something we still struggle with from time to time. But the key to resolving that issue was really keeping up with time management. We really started off All Things Ube with seriously nothing but baking experience. So, as little as we had going, we were always so proud of it and always worked with what we had. Today, we are lucky enough to build a slightly bigger team which includes helping us with marketing, sales and photography.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about All Things Ube Desserts – what should we know?
All Things Ube Desserts, ube (origin name is dioscorea alata) is a naturally purple-colored tuberous root. It’s pronounced “ooo-beh” and is native to the Philippines and is mainly used in many desserts and pastries. This tuber is often mistaken as taro and sometimes even an Okinawan sweet potato but they are very much different. Think of them as cousins, they are from the same family but different people. LOL!

Those who aren’t familiar with ube and hears the word “purple yam” often wonders what does it actually tastes like especially in desserts. Well, let me tell you it tastes nothing like a yam. In fact, you can’t even taste the yam. I always tell others, the flavor of ube is sort of like a mystery. You can’t really explain how and what it tastes like, it kind of in-between white chocolate and vanilla. All I know is, it’s delicious!

What does All Things Ube specialize in? We’re mainly known for our tarts and cheesecakes. Our crowd’s favorites I would say would be the Ube bites (cheesecake in tart cups), Ube Mochi Bricks (our version of bibingka) and the Ube Crinkles (a soft cookie with a white outer layer that has a slight crunch and chew).

What are we most proud of as a company? I’d say, how we turned an idea to reality. My husband and I really had nothing to start this business off with and real talk we literally were down to our last when we came up with this concept. Both Dennis and I both have backgrounds in dental assisting but unfortunately we learned the hard way that it just wasn’t for us. So we pushed for what made both of us happy, to have our own business. The only thing we really started this business off with is me, baking experience and Dennis in sales. I mean, we’re far from where would like to be, but for sure further from where we started. My husband and I, we just really enjoy what we do. The craft in baking and creating delicious desserts that everyone can enjoy is what we’re most proud of.

What sets us apart from others I would say is our diversity. Although, ube is more of a Filipino treat with All Things Ube, we switch it up by adding our homemade ube halaya (ube jam) to different cultures desserts and because of that we proudly bring unity to our community.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Drive, patience and passion. Having kids gives you all the reasons in the world to work 100 times harder to be able to give them a brighter future, therefore, gives you the drive and motivation. Being patient is another valuable characteristic because no successful business happens overnight. Work hard and smart. Being impatient will lead you to make irrational decisions. This is something we’ve learned from the past and from others. Having passion gives your work quality. If you enjoy and love what you do, the outcome of your products delivers quality which leads to consumer satisfaction and that’s something we take seriously. These are the characteristics I feel are important to our business.

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Image Credit:
Sweet Day Studio, Leaf It B, chews_sandiego

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