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Grit + Grace: How Tim McDiarmid Built An Internationally-Known Culinary Brand Out of Her Love of Fresh, Rustic Foods

A Discussion About Tim’s Organic Professional Journey and Her Recent Boho-Chic Texas Hill Country Wedding

As I have mentioned on this site before, I have personally experienced San Antonio sometimes earning an unfair reputation regarding its culinary atmosphere. With all of the tourists traipsing down the River Walk in search of slushy margaritas to sip and bites of bean and cheese everything to sample (no criticisms, I have my favorite sloppy Tex- Mex go-to’s too), word sometimes doesn’t make it out of our city that this is, indeed, an elevated culinary destination as much as it is anything else. In most part, it’s thanks to culinary artists and entrepreneurs such as Tim McDiarmid, founder and chief chef behind Tim the Girl– a multi-disciplinary culinary company founded in 2011 on the principle that the best food is fresh, local and fun. Tim the Girl has been changing the face of the San Antonio culinary scene, and has just launched a new service under their umbrella: The Good Kind, set to open at the new Pearl Food Hall in early June.

As a proud native San Antonian and lover/eater of fresh organic foods, Tim’s name was one of those that I kept hearing in so many of my personal and professional networks. We recently collaborated during my January Fitness Challenge, and I had the opportunity to sample her artfully delicious food for the first time. (I highly encourage trying her meal delivery service. I wish I could eat good kind for every meal!) Once we became acquainted through our project, I knew I had to share Tim’s story. It is an example of how life can take you on adventures that you never imagined, and lead you to building something that is truly beautiful.

 

Tim, you are originally from Canada. Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

I grew up in a remote place called Tappen, population just a few hundred. Envision a mountain on a lake complete with 1000 miles of shorefront, that was my view. (Fun fact, my son is actually named after Tappen Mountain). We had a beautiful piece of land that my dad built a geodesic dome on, sans plumbing, etc. and then he built another dome and then eventually we got some running water and proper lighting. I’m the oldest of 5 kids. I spent most of my childhood riding my horse and figure skating. My mom grew an incredible garden that we spent much of the summer in when we were young. She also canned and froze all of the bounty she grew each year. There was nothing better than a can of cherries in the depths of winter.

How did growing up in a rural area with a family who grew their own foods influence your lifestyle habits?
I generally choose very simple high quality foods and have always made the most of my own food. I don’t shop much in the middle aisles of grocery stores because that’s where most of the junk food lives. I buy as much as I can from farmers and even did so in my 18 years in NYC. I’ve always gravitated towards the farm to table scene, even before it was one. I don’t eat “crap.”

How did you get from Canada to Texas? Tell us about your background and journey that landed you here in San Antonio.
I moved to New York City when I was 21 with my then boyfriend who was an actor and starting acting school. I came along for the ride and quickly entered the culinary community working at some great restaurants throughout the years in a variety of capacities. I took a few years off from the food scene and had an interior design company in NYC. San Antonio happened following a break up with my son’s father. We had a winter home here and I decided I wanted a change of pace and that the lifestyle in San Antonio would afford me more time with my son. He was 6 at the time and I didn’t want a nanny to raise him. Life was much more relaxed here.

Was a career in the culinary arts and catering always what you envisioned?
Not at all! I remember wanting to be a writer and photographer most of my childhood. Somehow I fell into the career and followed a crazy path that lead me here.

What inspired you to start your own business?
Honestly, I needed income and wanted to be close to my son so I worked from home for a long time cooking for people and then started taking on bigger and bigger jobs, so I had to get a commercial space and hire people. It was very organic and need-based.

What was the turning point in your career as an entrepreneur that made you decide to expand Tim the Girl and launch The Good Kind?
I was in Italy with some clients from San Antonio who were on the trip I host in the Cinque Terre and we were sitting around talking about the scene in SA and they were begging me to open a storefront where they could get my food without having a party. I had always said I didn’t want to get so shackled down but something clicked in my head and I thought “you know what? It’s time”. My mind started racing with the possibilities and what an impact I could have on the community by creating the type of place with affordable food that was actually good for you and not pretentious.

From what sources do you find yourself currently drawing your most creative culinary ideas?
Right now I’m so busy it’s from my sleep. Ha! I love beautiful cookbooks and when I can take a few minutes I will flip through them. Right now I’m loving one called “A Modern Way to Eat.” I also get a lot of inspiration when I work and travel in Europe during the summer.

You were just married on March 11th- last month. Congratulations! What was your inspiration in planning the boho-chic event?
I always swore I wouldn’t have a stressful wedding. With the amount of weddings I’ve planned and catered in my life I have learned SO many things, mostly that I didn’t want to be a stress bag crying disappointed bride. So simplicity and beauty was my main goal. I chose the best vendors that I work with often and gave them a little of my vision and then free rein. We had 260 people here from all over the world and I wanted to visit, eat great food, drink good wine, dance and enjoy.

Where were you married, and what was your favorite memory that you and Ed shared from your big day?
We were married at our house up north. Ed, my new husband, built it himself and it’s gorgeous in every way. Simple and well done. He is an amazing builder and designer and we wanted people to see his work and that part of our life. There are many great venues in San Antonio but I work at them all the time so it was nice to be in our own space. We live downtown usually so we wanted it to feel like a getaway.

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What do you find is your biggest challenge as a business owner? Conversely, what has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur?
Wow, there are so many challenges. I was meeting with my mentor today and we had the conversation about finding the right people and then backing off and letting them do their job and not feeling insecure if they do it better than you did. So true. Not taking everything on yourself and having a life is very hard. I’ve had many proud moments, I guess the most recent one was winning San Antonio Magazine’s Best Caterer of the City for 2017. It was a true honor because it completely reflected my team and how wonderful they are.

Are you still leading culinary trips to Europe? How does one sign up for your next guided adventure to sip and savor their way through the Italian Riviera?
I do and we have a couple of spots left for this summer! Check out the trips on Tim the Girl here and it will lead you to the sign-up.

If you could have lunch with any woman in the world, (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
Julia Child, because she was also a spy and that always intrigued me. And, of course, she was entertaining and loved to talk about food and entertaining.

Cheers to Tim and Ed, beginning their happily ever after.

Edited from an interview by Eleanora Morrison.

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