Meet TikTok’s Lumpia Queen, Foodie Creator of the Year 2
One of Abi Marquez's most watched lumpia video is the peach mango lumpia. Screenshots from Abi Marquez's TikTok video
Food & Drink

This girl now has 2.9M followers on TikTok — and it all started with lumpia

Here’s how you can be a successful food content creator according to TikTok Awards PH 2023 Foodie Creator of the Year Abi Marquez
RHIA GRANA | Oct 05 2023

There are many Filipino food content creators on TikTok but one young cook stands out above the rest, according to this year’s TikTok Awards. She is 23-year-old Hotel Restaurant and Institution Management (HRIM) graduate Abi Marquez (@abigailfmarquez) also known as internet’s “Lumpia Queen.” 

Marquez’s rise as a content creator is nothing short of meteoric, considering that she only started uploading food videos on TikTok less than two years ago. Her following is now 2.9 million strong and her videos have garnered 72 million likes. 

Which is not surprising since this foodie creator is fun to watch, relatable, engaging, and her recipes are easy to follow. Another proof of her success is the fact that she is one of the most sought-after talents for brand collaborations, with numerous brands choosing to partner with her. 

Abi profile shot
When creating cooking videos, she ensures to provide a fresh perspective or unique twist on the recipes to keep viewers engaged.

Marquez became famous for her lumpia series hence the moniker “Lumpia Queen” given by her followers. This young cook’s superpower is she can transform anything into a lumpia dish — peach mango pie, cheesy tuna pie, apple pie, buco pandan, buco and ube, Hawaiian pizza, cheesy potato, fruit cocktail, California maki, truffle cheese, mac and cheese, even siomai, s’mores and suman

How does she feel about being called “Lumpia Queen”? 

Noong una I did not like it kasi para siyang pangalan ng business, like Lugaw Queen,” she says with a laugh. “But people coined it for me. Eventually na-appreciate ko naman siya kasi at least nagkaroon ng recall.” 

What kickstarted the lumpia series was a video where she rolled marshmallows and chocolate in lumpia wrapper, hoping to achieve a choco mallow pie effect. “Nag-fail siya. As in nawala ang marshmallow [sa loob ng lumpia wrapper],” she recalls. 

 marshmallow lumpia
Abi's first choco mallow pie experiment was a fail. 

After posting that video, suggestions started pouring in at the comments section, prompting her to try them out and make more lumpia videos. “Pinatulan ko lang ang mga suggestions and that continued for 4 to 5 videos. Then after that, lahat na ng ginawa ko pinapabalot nila sa lumpia wrapper,” she says. 

But her lumpia videos aren’t the the only ones that became viral. Some of the videos that did exceptionally well in terms of the number of plays include her corned beef submarine sandwich (57.5 million), fried ice cream (27.7 million), suman malagkit (23.7 million), leche flan (18.4 million), kanto-style fried chicken (18.1 million), chicken curry (12.9 million), and tortang talong (11.6 million) videos.

 fried ice cream
Abi and her fried ice cream. 

How did she learn to cook? 

Marquez, who hails from Sta. Rosa, Laguna, started exploring the kitchen when she was a young kid. “Kapag busy ang mga tao sa bahay and I was hungry, I would cook for myself. Never akong natakot to get my hands dirty in the kitchen,” she says. 

One of the very first meals she prepared was bread with adobong mani. “I just pressed the peanuts on the bread and then toasted it. Para siyang peanut butter pero hindi binutter up ang peanut. It’s like crunchy bread. Masarap siya for me,” she swears.

As she was growing up, making and selling food became a part of her school life. During her grade school years, she sold cookies and brownies that she herself made. She learned to make them by reading recipes on the internet. 

While other kids her age were watching Cartoon Network, Marquez voraciously consumed cooking videos in Food Network. YouTube wasn’t a popular platform yet at that time. “I would sell the baked goods to my teachers,” she says. Then when her classmates would visit their home for a group project, Marquez would also cook for them. 

young Abi
Abi showed interest in food pretty early. "Instead of Cartoon Network, I'd watch Food Network." 

In high school, she sold pastas like mac and cheese, baked macaroni, and bacon carbonara. She can’t remember exactly what prompted her to start selling food, but it wasn’t to earn money. Perhaps it stemmed from the sense of satisfaction she derived from mastering this fundamental life skill. Marquez says she possibly got her entrepreneurial skills from her father, who runs a construction materials business. 

“I would wake up earlier than what’s required of me at school. I would cook for three hours and pack them into these small containers. For some reason, wala akong shame,” she fondly looks back. “Even the teachers would buy. They would ask, ‘Ano ba’ng ginawa mo dito? It’s so good.” 

Abi in UP Diliman
Abi took up HRIM at UP Diliman

When Marquez moved to college at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, she lived in a dorm, which had no kitchen. So what she did was buy and sell baked goods. “I would order red velvet crinkles from a shop then sell them. I’d put an assortment of crinkle flavors in a container and pass them around in class. Then my classmates would buy. My teachers would buy for the whole class,” she says. 

Marquez decided to pursue HRIM because she dreams of becoming a food and beverage manager or a food business owner. “Very corporate ang pagkakaintindi ko sa industry,” she says. 

She was supposed to complete her internship in a hotel or restaurant as a final requirement for her course. While awaiting approval for her internship, she began experimenting with content creation, producing short-form videos for TikTok. As the application process for her internship faced delays due to specific document requirements, she sought advice from her professor on how to proceed. The professor suggested using a previous endeavor — her college lasagna business, which was a legitimate business — as a case study.

Abi cooking
Her goal is to consistently upload high-quality videos and refine her culinary skills. 

However, she wasn't entirely convinced by the idea. “Parang 'di ako masaya kasi I can't stop thinking about what if 'yung content creation na lang ang gawin kong practicum,” she recalls. Given that content creation is an unconventional profession, she wrote a letter to her department head, requesting to pursue content creation as her practicum instead. Thankfully, she got the nod of the department. 

Since it’s an academic requirement, Marquez made sure everything was executed professionally — applying everything she learned from the university. “I even had financial projections for each of the platforms. Then I wrote a case study about my brand collaborations,” she says.

When it comes to video production, her prior interest and background in filmmaking from high school proved advantageous. She actively participated in workshops and competitions, achieving success in several of them. 

Doon ko na-gain ang confidence ko to write, shoot, and edit. Naging skilled ako sa filmmaking because of that era,” she reflects. Furthermore, she gained experience producing videos for others during the pandemic as a side gig.

 grad pic
Abi on her college graduation day.

The initial video she created before her internship featured a gyudon recipe. It was a simple cooking video without any narration or dialogue. “I made that solely for my enjoyment kasi nag-enjoy talaga ako sa process ng pag-film at pagluto,” she says. 

But the first video that gained significant traction online was her cooking demonstration of tuna pasta, which she shared in January 2022. “That viral video motivated me to pursue content creation more seriously,” she says.

What’s the secret to becoming a successful food content creator? Marquez approaches the creation of TikTok videos with a high degree of professionalism and shares some valuable insights: “The concept should come first, especially the hook. Kasi kahit gaano kasarap ang recipe, kung walang hook, hindi papanoorin ang video. So inaral ko talaga kung ano ang most likely way to go viral on platforms and I found out na for TikTok dapat 'yung first four seconds ng video mo really engage the people to watch the rest of the thing,” she shares. 

Her prior interest and background in filmmaking from high school proved advantageous in becoming a food content creator.
Her prior interest and background in filmmaking from high school proved advantageous in becoming a food content creator.

This same principle applies to Instagram reels, Facebook reels, and YouTube shorts. For YouTube videos, it's essential to craft compelling thumbnails and captivating titles. Additionally, when creating cooking videos, she ensures to provide a fresh perspective or unique twist on the recipes to keep viewers engaged.

The young content creator typically shoots her videos at night, starting from 9 p.m., extending to the early hours of the morning. “Since I used to shoot at my parents’ kitchen, I’d do it late at night para tahimik at walang taong gising. And it’s also because talagang night owl ako since grade school,” she says. 

She also takes charge of editing her videos and posting them online. She adds a realization, “All the best achievements I’ve earned, they have originated from the work I put in during the nighttime.”

It's been an incredible journey for this culinary enthusiast, and she's happy to say that she’s immensely enjoyed the work she engages in. “I love working in this industry kasi it’s very exciting and dynamic. Hindi siya paulit-ulit. And it also fulfills my thirst and hunger for doing creative work thru filmmaking,” she shares. 

Abi Marquez
Abi's advice to food content creators: "The concept should come first, especially the hook. Kasi kahit gaano kasarap ang recipe, kung walang hook, hindi papanoorin ang video."

Her goal is to consistently upload high-quality videos and refine her culinary skills. “Kasi wala naman talaga akong culinary background. I did not attend culinary school. Everything I know about cooking is self-taught and I’ve learned by researching recipes. So this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to delve deep into learning and take the study of dishes seriously so I can share that knowledge with others.” 

Marquez isn’t certain yet about her long-term plans. At 23, she’s simply enjoying and making the most of the opportunities coming her way. 

Photos courtesy of Abi Marquez