The Gals

Monessa Maria Esquivel

TIM THE GIRL

In the hands of Tim McDiarmid, even the most rustic vegetables transform into alluring, delicious and even sexy creations. This world traveler, Canadian by birth, San Antonian by choice and steeped in the ultra-hip artisan culture of Brooklyn, produces culinary and artistic creations that fit perfectly with any type of event or business. A seemingly simple dish she created for a coffee shop, avocado toast, combines a buttery lushness with a crisp heartiness and ties them together with a touch of cumin, sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil. In less than a year, that dish has turned into an obsession for many that’s second only to a craving for chocolate.

Fresh produce provides the base and inspiration for her range of culinary creations, which include influences from Greece, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Morocco, as well as Portugal and Mexico. Her skill in evoking complex taste sensations from only a few ingredients began in Western Canada, evolved through her travels in markets around the world and during nearly two decades in what was then the burgeoning culinary scene in Brooklyn, New York.

She grew up in what she called a “small hippie and farming community” north of Vancouver, British Columbia. Her mother cultivated an organic garden for the family, and bought meats and dairy products from neighboring farms. For McDiarmid, terms such as fresh, local and sustainable were a way of life. At 18, her first culinary job was cooking for 50 hungry men and two women in a very remote bush camp, where she cooked three meals a day from scratch over campfires. Also as a young adult, she began traveling, including spending two months in the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, and visiting markets throughout the Mediterranean.

For much of 17 years, she lived in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn as it developed into the world’s epicenter for creative artisan food. She worked at several restaurants in New York including The Odeon in TriBeCa, Lucien, Diner, Annisa, Kiosk and others, honing her culinary skills and her sense of design.

Looking for a slower pace, she came to San Antonio in 2007, and soon created her company, Tim the Girl, which combines catering, event planning, meal delivery, cooking classes and consulting. In 2011, she teamed up with furniture artist Peter Zubiate to launch the Special Projects Social, a series of pop-up restaurants and art events throughout San Antonio. It now takes place three times a year and features guests seated around Zubiate-designed tables, plates, menus and centerpieces from other local artists and dishes from McDiarmid presented family style. In San Antonio, she has embraced the wide availability of Latin American ingredients and incorporated elements of healthful eating.

Her most high-profile consulting clients include menus for Uncommon Faire, a high-end grocery store inside the Cevallos Lofts and the food menu for Rosella Coffee in the fast-growing River North area. As Tim the Girl continues growing and expanding into new endeavors, McDiarmid finds future as wide open as those Canadian skies of her youth.

dee
D MARTINEZ

D came to work at Tim The Girl when Tim needed extra help for a party. Tim’s friend said she knew someone who could help and would send her over. Not long after, Tim walked into the room and saw this feisty, fabulous woman swiftly doing dishes and making space for everyone to work. This was the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.
D was born and raised in San Antonio.  Over the years, she has worked in a variety of restaurants and bars in San Antonio, including The Esquire Tavern when it was still the old fashioned dive. D enjoys everything about food: from prepping to cooking to eating. Over her time working at Tim the Girl, she has learned to appreciate and create many different cuisines that were previously foreign to her. She has learned about eating healthier food and using fresh herbs and spices. She brings her knowledge back to her family and enjoys the fact that she can show them what she has learned. Her family is the most important part of her life and she has always celebrated the importance that food plays in nourishing and bonding them. 

 

Joria
JORJA HOWELL

Anyone who knows Jorja knows she loves food, as it is usually a topic of conversation. Jorja started at Tim the Girl when her friend Sarah Holman-Mathis asked if she would like to help out at an event. From that moment, she was hooked. Since working with TTG, she has expanded her palate and learned the importance of really good, super fresh ingredients making all the difference in each dish 
Her favorite part of being a member of the TTG team is working with and learning from talented, energetic “gals.”
Jorja loves to help out in any way she is needed, whether at a TTG event, her part-time job at a small local business or as a volunteer at her kids’ school.

 

Melissa
MELISSA MCDIARMID

Melissa grew up in an urban setting surrounded by cuisines from all over the globe. She took her palate to the country and got to work on a half-acre garden that supplied plenty of material to freeze in the root cellar. Summer and winter kitchens allowed for many social gatherings where food and community came together to celebrate the bounty, sense of place, self and others. While these may have been her transplanted roots, like many who nurture and bring to life what they know in unknown places, it’s where Melissa learned to cook and appreciate the deep connections forged by growing and preparing one’s
own food. So here she is  in San Antonio ​with her daughter Tim, whose roots also run deep in another place, on another adventure!

 

monessa
MONESSA MARIA ESQUIVEL

Monessa is a native San Antonian crafted artisan and a food assistant for Tim the Girl. Her first food memory is of being in her Abuela Esther’s small but cozy kitchen, grinding ajo and comino together in a molcajete to make arroz con pollo or calabaza. She remembers her Abuela saying ” I’ll teach you how to cook and you can teach me English.”
Many years later, after honing her craft as a performing and visual artist, she found her way back to the kitchen when she started working with Tim The Girl. Working alongside Tim gave her the freedom to learn and experiment with new foods and recipes, sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing but trying again until she she knew “Yeah, this is delicious and I get to share!”. In Monessa’s words: “Food, some say, is a reflection of the soul. It is magical and I put much love and pride into making it. I love making comida for the masses, beautifying the tradition of what we place inside us and the tools which give us strength and power to function.”

 

sarah
SARAH HOLMAN-MATHIS

Sarah came from a small town in Ohio where good food was hard to find. Exposure to finer cuisines through her travels while serving in the U.S. Navy led Sarah to get a degree in culinary arts through The Arts Institute of California, San Diego. Sarah’s experience with catering, corporate cooking and teaching cooking classes coupled with a desire for a unique opportunity landed her with Tim the Girl. Since joining TTG, Sarah has been exposed to new ideas, flavors and adventures in creating food on a more personal level. Sarah says of working in an all-female environment, “The power we have together is what makes us a unique team!”

 

thea
THEA SETTERBO

Thea’s love of food has evolved from stuffed crab as a ‘special meal’ for every birthday dinner to a deep love affair with artichokes and daily experimentation with sweet potatoes. She spent her formative years working for a catering company in Fredericksburg, land of outdoor weddings and indoor barbecues, and now assists Tim the Girl during special events in addition to full-time media relations for the City of San Antonio. As a member of the TTG team, Thea loves being surrounded by intelligent and passionate individuals creating unique culinary experiences for events and occasions of all sizes.

 

ERICA WONG

Erica grew up in Chicago’s Little Village. Her first memory of food stems from watching Rick Bayless shows on PBS and visiting the many hot dog stands around town.  As a child, Erica would pester her parents to take her to Little Italy, Chinatown and Greektown for the best authentic eats. She moved to San Antonio in 2006 and quickly gained an appreciation for modern American cuisine and the local food industry.  Her favorite dishes can be summed up as “carbs and cheese,” with pierogies, a killer grilled cheese, spaghetti and pho taking the top spots. Erica’s Marketing degree from UTSA married with a passion for food, event coordinating and meeting new people serves her well as Director of Operations for Tim the Girl.