Six young Filipino chefs from Toronto are cooking up a storm for the ILUSTRADOS Kapisanan Legacy Campaign Fundraising Gala Dinner, as part of the 8th annual KULTURA Filipino Arts Festival. Get to know each of them, and get your bellies ready for a festive Filipino Treat!
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ILUSTRADOS Kapisanan Legacy Campaign Fundraising Gala Dinner @ Lamesa Filipino Kitchen 669 Bathurst St. West
SEATING TIMES: 6pm, 730pm, 9pm
The Ilustrados Dinner is a special event hosted by Lamesa Filipino Kitchen (#1 Prix Fixe Menu in Toronto – BlogTO 2013) that shines a light on Filipino culture, history and cuisine.
RESERVATION CONTACT INFO: Email: (subject line Ilustrados) firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (647) 346-2377
Daniel Cancino – Lamesa Filipino Kitchen
Where do you currently work? Lamesa.
What is your position there? Sous Chef.
What dishes will you be preparing for Ilustrados 2? I will be making a Rhubarb Sinigang, Duck Bopis, and a Peach Taho.
What are the inspirations behind these dishes? I chose to do Sinigang because it is the most indigenous dish that the cuisine has to offer. Every region has their own variation of it based on the ingredients that are specific to that place. Following in that tradition, I would like to showcase the same approach as our ancestors did. Being a Filipino-Canadian cook, it excites me to think of all the possible ingredients I am able to use that are currently in season and grown here in Ontario to make my Sinigang.
When I lived in the Philippines, I loved to hear the obnoxious yell of “Tahoooo,” that soothed our ears every morning. My brothers and I used to drag my Mom out of the house for this treat. Nothing is more nostalgic to me than tasting that warm tofu, syrup, and sago in a plastic cup.
Offal has always been a big part of Filipino cuisine. So I’m cooking a version of Bopis that showcases bold Pinoy flavours and how our cuisine treats ALL CUTS of the animal. I’m taking what I have learned from my Mom and Lola who worked hard every day making delicious food with these uncelebrated cuts.
What do you love about Filipino food? I love the bold flavours of our cuisine and that we have influences from other cultures and made them our own. It gets me excited talking to other Filipino cooks in the city about our food. I am very lucky to work alongside Kevin, Jorel, Julian, Joaquin, and Joesh for Ilustrados 2 because I have already learned so much from them inside and outside of the kitchen. None of this would have been possible without the love and pride for Filipino food and culture from Kapisanan, Lamesa, and everyone involved in making this event happen. I could not be more grateful to these folks for giving me this opportunity.
What do you see as the future Filipino cuisine? I see a bright future for this cuisine. There are a lot of talented Filipino cooks who are passionate about pushing the boundaries for our culture and cuisine. I was lucky enough to help and work under some brilliant Filipino chefs for Ilustrados 1 and that inspires me to work just as hard to bring our cuisine to new heights.
Julian Ochangco – Union
Where do you currently work? I work at Union restaurant.
What is your position there? I’m a line cook .
What dishes will you be preparing for Ilustrados 2? I will be making charcuterie with Filipino flavor profiles.
Sopas terrine and dried dinuguan sausage. Then Curried ginataang manok in the form of a deviled egg.
What are the inspirations behind these dishes? Sopas is usually a meat broth with macaroni noodles. Dinuguan is savory stew of offal simmered in pork’s blood and seasoning. Ginataang is any dish involving coconut milk.
I got a call from Rudy a month ago asking me if I wanted to cook for ilustrados 2. I got excited immediately and didn’t hesitate to say, “yes!” I had already been incorporating Filipino cuisine at Union. Being part of this event was the opportunity I was looking for. I’ve always loved sopas and dinuguan. So I wanted to play off these dishes and showcase the skills I learned at Union.
What do you love about Filipino food? I love how diverse Filipino food is; not just the dishes themselves but the specific way each family prepares them. My Mom only makes sopas twice a year; once for thanksgiving and the other for Christmas. She uses the leftover cooked ham to make her sopas and won’t make it any other time of the year. Through the combined lenses of family, regional specificity, and our scattered cultural influences throughout the centuries, it is amazing to see how culturally unique we are.
What do you see as the future Filipino cuisine? To me the future of Filipino cuisine will always be the generation ahead of us. I strongly believe it. I don’t know how or what they’ll cook in the future. I just know that food trends always change, so the ideas and common interests of groups of Filipino chefs will change along with it and adapt, creating a whole new interpretation of our food without losing our sense of tradition. Filipino chefs in Toronto right now are at the forefront of bringing our food into the public eye. I’m just glad to be a part of it.
Joesh Dy – Raw Bar/Black Hoof
Where do you currently work? What is your position there? I currently work at The Drake Hotel doing pastry.
What dishes will you be preparing for Ilustrados 2? What are the inspirations behind these dishes? My snack is a Longanisa Corndog. It’s inspired by growing up eating breakfast longaniza at Mcdonalds in the Philippines and I’ve always been nostalgic for corndogs because it reminds me of family trips during childhood. For my appetizer I’m preparing cured mackerel with sinangag . It’s inspired by Filipino breakfast. I’ll always remember waking up and getting out of bed faster when I’d smell dried fish and garlic fried rice.
What do you love about Filipino food? What do you see as the future Filipino cuisine? My interest in Filipino cuisine is very rooted in nostalgia, like all memorable experiences with food. That’s inspired me to learn more about it in depth. Filipino cuisine is slowly starting to emerge in the Toronto food scene thanks to all the chefs that are spearheading this movement. I hope to be part of this movement.
Kevin Diaz – Lamesa Filipino Kitchen
Where do you currently work? What is your position there? Lamesa. Jr. Sous.
What dishes will you be preparing for Ilustrados 2? What are the inspirations behind these dishes? Goat kaldereta roti and pear Bubble Tea. My Trinipino (Trinidadian/Filipino) Family.
What do you love about Filipino food? Everything sour/sweet.
What do you see as the future Filipino cuisine? For it to become a well-known and appreciated cuisine.
Jorel Claudio – Food Dudes
Where do you currently work? What is your position there? Executive Pastry Chef at Bloke and 4th.
What dishes will you be preparing for Ilustrados 2? What are the inspirations behind these dishes? For Dessert I’ve prepared an Ube Macapuno Cake. It’s chiffon cake filled with ube halaya (Purple Yam Jam), topped with ube mousse, and macapuno (coconut sport) strings. Ube is perhaps the most recognizable Filipino Dessert. I love that every time you eat it, it brings a childhood memory to life. For my snack I’m serving Banana-Q. That’s Filipino bananas deep fried and coated in Palm Sugar. It’s a snack my Mother loved to eat.
What do you love about Filipino food? What do you see as the future Filipino cuisine? The future of Filipino food will change in time. New ways to recreate the dishes using different techniques will change the way we eat it. Though it’s of utmost importance that the origins of a dish are honoured no matter how much it’s changed or deconstructed.
Joaquin Cruz – Hudson
Where do you currently work? What is your position there? I am the entremétier at the soon to be open Hudson Kitchen under Chef Robbie Hojilla (Ilustrados I).
What dishes will you be preparing for Ilustrados 2? What are the inspirations behind these dishes? I'm handling one of the desserts and I’m doing my take on a cheese plate. My dish incorporates Ontario cherries, pistachios, brioche and riopelle, a Triple cream cheese from Quebec. My snack is going to be a very classic Filipino sweet called polvoron, which is almost like shortbread, but with my twist.
I wanted to do a dessert that would be sweet and savory as well as incorporating seasonal fruits. The inspiration came from something that all Filipinos grew up with, cheese ice cream. I used that concept as the starting point and developed the flavours from there.
My snack was inspired primarily by my childhood. Polvoron was one of my favourite sweets growing up and I have been tweaking my grandfather's recipe to give it a modern touch.
What do you love about Filipino food? What do you see as the future Filipino cuisine? I love Filipino food because of all the memories that I associate it with. It is the reason why I was interested in cooking in the first place.
I see that Filipino cuisine could be the next big Asian cuisine to grab the public’s attention. It's only been in the past 5-10 years that cooks in North America have been trying to introduce modern Filipino food to diners. It will take time but Filipino food will get the attention it deserves.