The Fattened Caf

Origin: MO | Grant Awarded: 2022 | Status: Active

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What is The Fattened Caf?

The Fattened Caf started through a series of game nights. It was a way for Darren to perfect his BBQ skills and a way for Charlene to introduce Filipino food to her STL community. Since then, it has grown into a pop up restaurant inside Earthbound Beer. At the height of the pandemic, Charlene and Darren had to figure out a way to pivot the business to stay afloat. They started working on a smoked longganisa recipe and packaging them for people to cook at home. It was a way for their customers to still get their Filipino food fix from The Fattened Caf in the comfort of their own home. When the opportunity came to put their packaged goods in Schnucks, they took the opportunity to get Filipino food on the shelves on mainstream grocery stores. Today they can also be found in Fresh Thyme City Foundry, United Provisions, and Old North Provisions.

Company Leadership

Charlene Bakunawa Young

co-founder & vp of operations

Charlene is a transplant to STL from Los Angeles, California. Before living in STL, she was in Melbourne Australia getting her Masters in International Relations from the University of Melbourne. She’s worked for the fundraising development field team of UNHCR, as a Policy Analyst for Project Respect, and then a Data Analyst here in STL. Since Sept 2020, she left full time work to pursue The Fattened Caf.
Charlene is a mom of 2 (3 year old and 8 month old). She considers STL her home and is empowered by all the Filipino American chefs in STL’s food scene. Even though her passion is still in humanitarian work, her mission through The Fattened Caf is to bring authentic Filipino food into grocery stores.
On her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family, Sunday family days, being outdoors, cleaning her home, and traveling.

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Darren Young

Co-founder & CEO

Darren Young is a transplant to STL from Santa Clarita, California. He has devoted over 16 years in non profit management and community development. He has a degree in Urban Missions. Currently, he is the Area Director of Young Life, a youth development and outreach program, in Saint Louis City. When he isn’t program planning and strategic thinking, Darren loves all things BBQ and is the grill master of The Fattened Caf. He enjoys recipe development and sausage making the most! Darren also enjoys feeding people. In his free time, he loves hanging out with his family, grilling for friends, and watching a great movie.On her spare time, she loves to spend time with her family, Sunday family days, being outdoors, cleaning her home, and traveling.