Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
I’m most influenced by my Lola (mom’s mom) and her love of cooking. She immigrated to the U.S. when my mom was young and worked in NYC for a couple of years to save up enough money for my Lolo and their four kids to come. She loved cooking and gardening and just creating in general. When I cook Filipino food, it is more than just cooking to me. It is a way to connect with part of my heritage and preserve the memory of my Lola in some way.
What's your least favorite kitchen task?
I was fortunate to grow up with a dishwasher, so when we moved to NYC I really hated having to hand-wash the dishes and large pots and pans! I’ve gotten more used to it now, though, and genuinely think the dishes come out cleaner when hand-washed.
Your favorite kitchen tool?
My bright yellow Dutch oven! I could cook everything in there.
What is a recipe that's on your list of things to try this year?
Although a bit ambitious, I would love to make homemade croissants!
What's the recipe you're most proud of?
Probably pancit molo (a Filipino wonton soup). After wrapping those dumplings, I always feel so accomplished!