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Real Pinoy By The Top Filipino Chefs in the U.S.

Posted: 11/30/2016 06:13:00 PM
The rise of top Filipino chefs are putting the spotlight on Filipino Food.

As you know, Filipino food is America’s new dish. Endorsements by celebrity chefs–such as Andrew Zimmern–are pushing pinoy food into the spotlight, rivaling other, more popular Asian dishes. Here at FilStop, we have put together a list of chefs serving up real pinoy food from around the country.

One of the best things to happen to Filipino food is the rise of several Fil-Am chefs. Austin-based chef Paul Qui won Season 9 of Top Chef. Los Angeles is represented by chefs such as Chad Valencia and his brother Chase Valencia; they started the LASA restaurant project and are determined to expand Filipino cooking in L.A. Then there is Tim Luym, a San Francisco Chronicle three-star chef and a former San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chef. He is now the executive chef at Buffalo Theory in San Francisco and consultant chef at Attic Restaurant in San Mateo.

We at FilStop are excited about these Fil-Am chefs and are salivating at the pinoy food they are bringing to the table. Plus, with the spotlight on filipino food, we are excited at the growth of the pinoy community the world over. Here is some background on these chefs and how they’re increasing the profile of Filipino cooking in the U.S.

Fil-Am Chef Paul Qui

Paul Qui was born in Manila and trained in classic French and Japanese cuisine. He is now the owner and chef at East Side King in Austin, and he plans to open another restaurant called Kuneho on the site of his former restaurant, Qui, in late 2016.

Qui has received a number of awards including the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest for his work in the kitchen at Uchiko in Austin; he also won the San Pellegrino Cooking Cup in 2013 and was also named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 2014 Best New Chefs and Top 10 Empire Builders of 2012.

Qui is perhaps most famous for being the winner of Season 9 of Top Chef. Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio said Qui was the most talented chef to ever compete on the show.

Fil-Am Chef Chad Valencia

Chef Chad Valencia and his brother Chase Valencia are behind several popular pop-up restaurants in L.A called LASA, which the brothers launched in 2013. Prior to this project, Chad, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu, was a chef at L.A.’s Canelè, Contigo, and Sqirl.

LASA reflects their background as second-generation Filipino-Americans with Pampanga ancestry. Their stint at venue Elysian in Frogtown was often booked solid; in fact, 120 seats sold out within minutes after opening reservations to the public. LASA still has a weekend residency at Unit 120, which is located at the Far East Plaza in L.A.’s Chinatown.

Adobo Wing Superstar Tim Luym

Lyum has helmed a number of restaurants including the popular Poleng Lounge, which featured Filipino- and Asian-inspired street food, as well as the Wow Silog food truckAttic RestaurantFrozen KuhsterdNeighbor’s Cornerand Mekong Kitchen. At these primarily Asian-themed restaurants he successfully integrated Filipino dishes and flavors into the menus.

Poleng, Lyum’s first restaurant, was named one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 10 New Restaurants of 2006. It was also awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand and named one of the Chronicle’s Top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area in 2007 and 2008. His Crispy Adobo Wings made it on 7×7’s “100 Things to Eat in San Francisco Before You Die” list. Luym also works with the community, and he was recognized with a CAAMFeast Trailblazer Award.

Luym is currently the executive chef at Buffalo Theory on Polk Street in San Francisco, a 33-taproom beer bar with an Asian-American-inspired bar menu.


With the increase of Filipino restaurants, Filipino grocery stores such as FilStop, and the continued rise of Filipino chefs in the U.S., Filipino cooking will continue to soar in popularity and get its much-deserved time in the spotlight, which we at FilStop believe is a long time coming! Be sure to hit these chefs’ restaurants when you’re in San Francisco, L.A., and Austin. And if you can’t find any real pinoy in your neighborhood, visit for all your Filipino food needs.

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