San Francisco, CA
The first thing I learned to cook was my Filipino father's chicken adobo. He never wrote down anything. He taught me how to stew down the vinegar and soy sauce to make the perfect coupling of flavor. What stayed in my memory was the strong savory chord with mellowed vinegar notes, and how the meat released from the bone with pure submission. Later, while traveling, the people that passed on the recipes filling my notebooks followed the same method. Taste, smell, touch were indispensable tools for learning and remembering these dishes. There are a lot of places in my notes that don't use measurements or names of ingredients, but instead say, 'ingredient tastes like really sour grapefruit' or 'add until it smells like sea water.' Many years ago, I had a meal in a Moroccan home with a group of women. We shared this sublime tagine of pigeon and raisins massaged with the colors of the various spices, shared the experience of making it together, and this took the place of a spoken language. Experiences such as this compel me to invite others to share a common table. I've traveled to collect and inform my knowledge of different foods, owned a pastry business, cooked for intimate groups of 10 and larger groups of 50. I host dinners on a frequent basis to enjoy food, share it with others and to just do some good cooking. I want to open a place one day that will be part of the Oakland community and that will reflect and embrace our diverse culture, serving the foods that represent the home kitchens from myriad cuisines that make up our world.