Tiro begins to sell socially-conscious sweets at the Hop

by Jimmy McColgan | 10/7/16 12:30am


For Emmanuel Hui ’17, business is more about social good than it is about making money. 

With this ethos of social responsibility in mind, Hui and Dominic Filiano ’14 founded Tiro, LLC, a company whose tiramisu-like products debuted in two flavors yesterday at the Courtyard Cafe. At least 20 percent of the company’s revenue will be given to a local charity.

The company’s product does not seem to fit any established food type, Hui describes it as “tiramisu, but without the bready parts. So it’s also like a pudding. But it’s also like a yogurt. But it’s not the same type of cheese.” Its origins lie in a botched recipe. Last fall Filiano attempted to make Hui’s favorite dessert for his birthday, but did not let it set and mixed up the proportions. The pair decided to eat this new concoction anyway, and found it delicious. Hui, with a variety of entrepreneurial ventures under his belt, saw this as a opportunity to further pursue his business interests.   

With ingredients bought at the Hanover Co-op, Hui and Filiano undertook a painstaking trial-and-error process testing different ingredient amounts and proportions until they found the best seven potential recipes. From there, the duo worked with the DEN to conduct taste-tests, eventually narrowing their recipes to two. 

After perfecting their recipe, the team faced a number of bureaucratic challenges. After a short series of meetings and relatively little paperwork, Dartmouth Dining Services agreed to carry Hui and Filiano’s product — given certain insurance and other requirements were met. The real obstacle was attaining state approval, Hui said. Due to the product’s uniqueness, months of back-and-forth phone calls ensued as the state needed to ensure that the product was safe for consumption. After receiving governmental authorization, the two still lacked a kitchen. After contemplating producing in Manchester, Hui and Filiano decided to reach out to local restaurant owners to find a kitchen for twice-weekly morning production.

Following rejection by several restaurants in town, Hui and Filiano were welcomed by the owner of Tuk Tuk Thai Cuisine, Pannipa Pace, who agreed to rent the restaurant’s kitchen from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. twice a week. Tiro has promised the owners a share in the company in the case of expansion.

Although this is the first student-run food company operating through DDS, Hui notes that plenty of food companies have roots on college campuses, citing Nantucket Nectars (founded by Brown graduates) as an example. Tiro is permitted to sell anywhere within New Hampshire, and there are several investors lined-up in the case of the company’s success. 

While Hui hopes to expand beyond Hanover, the company owes its existence to local support from organizations like DDS and Tuk Tuk. All of its ingredients are locally sourced, with its milk coming from Vermont Creamery, for example. Hanover lawyer Ned Whittington completed Tiro’s legal work free of charge. The charities the company is considering are also local. 

Steve Edes, manager of the Courtyard Café, worked with Hui and Filiano through the process of getting their tiramisu cups on the shelves, 

“They worked hard to get their product out,” Edes said, adding that he is excited about the new selections. He noted that tiramisu cups were well-received by customers on the product’s debut day of sales.