Chef Leah Cohen is working to get the cuisines of Southeast Asia out into the dining world, at her New York City restaurant. At Pig & Khao, Chef-owner Leah taps into her Filipino-American heritage, her travels and professional experience in Southeast Asia to showcase Filipino cuisine alongside its Southeast Asian counterparts.
"I remember my mom cooking it for dessert to follow dinner, but we'd always sneak in a few spoonfuls before dinner. We were living with my grandparents, aunt, and older sister in this memory. The only thing I remember is the smell and taste because in all cultures, when the people are quiet you know the food is good."
Though she is best known for her accomplishments in New York City, restaurateur Nicole Ponseca’s roots reach back to California. Last autumn, Nicole shared stories of her SoCal childhood with Filipino Kitchen. In this edition of Pinoy Food for the Soul, Nicole relates how her earliest memories of Filipino food replay today at Jeepney, and tells us the new memories they’re making at both restaurants that she loves most.
Seeing and Being: Kiam Marcelo Junio Fuses Genderqueer Identity and Filipino Food Culture in Web Series and Cookbook
Ellie Tiglao and her brother RJ of Kulinarya have been hosting their Pamangan! Filipino pop-up dinner series in the Boston area since August 2014. The dynamic duo of sibling chefs holds down a coast-to-coast collaboration: RJ lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and commutes to Boston once a month for each event.
Genevieve Villamora's description of the build-out phase of their new restaurant is an apt metaphor for the 'Bad Saint' way of doing things: opening up to a community and inviting them in with two pop-ups and the crowdfunding campaign; digging in deep in researching our cuisine and history and finding the right team to tell those stories with food.
Genevieve Villamora is co-owner of Bad Saint, Washington DC's soon-to-be newest restaurant, alongside co-owner Nick Pimentel and chef Tom Cunanan.
Who is Chef Rob Menor, the man behind the Benjamin-printed bandana, the culinary artist who fights traditional standards on Balitang America? The Stockton-born chef says that he spent a decade cutting his teeth in Chicago; it was where he paid all his dues and learned the industry. He credits Chicago with making him the culinarian he is today, calling it "his graduate school." And while that is all true, there's also the side of Chef Rob that is very much rooted in Stockton, where he returned in 2014, looking for growth.
Nothing is safe from instant documentation; everything from a morning cup of coffee to a day at the laundromat is grist for the “pics or it didn’t happen” mill. I got the distinct impression that people were so concerned with preserving the moment for posterity that they would plum forget to look around and experience it while it was happening. So imagine the identity crisis of trying to reconcile my Luddite tendencies with the reality of dining with food bloggers.
If we truly are what we eat, then I'm Bangus- otherwise known as Milkfish. But I'm not that sanitized, boneless small version you see at restaurants. I'm grown. I'm full-flavored and I'm prickly as hell. See that's the thing with me and Bangús: It will take some patience and effort to enjoy the unique taste we bring.
Though all our meals of 2014 were amazing in their own right, a select few dishes stood above the rest. Whether the dishes were new-to-us Filipino dishes, interesting twists on familiar classics or the classics done masterfully, certain ones we replay in our memory with a genuine desire to experience those dishes again and rejoin with friends, new and old alike. Natalia and I are hungry for more of these top Filipino dishes of 2014.