My family in the US started their NYC roots as with most Filipinos: at an apartment in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens. It’s named after the famed author Washington Irving’s home in Westchester, where coincidentally my father would eventually move to from Manila joining my grandparents who immigrated to the US in the 1980s.
Washington Irving’s stories of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle were what we grew up on when we were living in Boracay Island after my mom’s passing and I would imagine returning back to Westchester where I was born, as I tend to explore when I can connection points in the circularity of life.
When I joined Life House’s Faraway Hotel to open up their 2 new concept restaurants, the 1st thought of mine regarding its seaside location was how my mother would spend her summers in Boston and Marblehead from her studies at Bowdoin College. I once asked her why she chose to go to school in the area only to be given the short reply, “It was the farthest I can go for school without going to another country.”
I was really too young then to understand how people at times simply need to leave everything behind, and find that escape when it presents itself.
My father Kyle and second mother Rose brought us to Cancun to open up this year’s slate of “new beginnings”. Brothers Ron and Blaze joined me in checking out the popular restaurants of Playa Del Carmen, scouting out the highlight dishes of the area’s top talent.
Rose is a hotel director for a global hospitality brand and was actually the one who gave my brothers and I our shoe-in into the industry. As my brothers and I relished the seafood spread at NAVÍOS Cancún, I looked around the table and couldn’t help but feel so proud of my family overcoming the trials and tribulations we experienced (being a family of hospitality professionals) during the years of the pandemic that decimated our industry.
This 2023 Year of the Rabbit is off to a good start and I’m excited for what lays ahead the horizon.
Being at Martha’s Vineyard coming from the Gulf Coast brought about a sea-change of flavors I’m so excited to integrate to our new restaurant openings.Faraway Hotel Executive Sous Chef Taylor Viriña on how growing up in the Philippines enabled him to have a rich background in #CoastalFare that’s bookended by his childhood in New York and studies in Japan.
“I was born in Westchester County by the Hudson River and weekends would be spent in Chinatown, while dinners would be at either Koreatown or Chelsea. When I moved to Manila and eventually Boracay Island, I was lucky enough to be exposed to friends and neighbors from all parts of the world. And with those happy hours and brunches by the beach, so too would be the dishes they would cook, share, and most importantly talk about with their precious gift of time.”
Started 2023 wanting to do a deep dive on Fish & Chips, and it doesn’t get any more of a real-deal than London. Checking out Gordon Ramsay’s Herron Street at Piccadilly and of course, The Savoy.
Grew up at #1 Island Resort in the World (Travel + Leisure). When fish vendors knock at your front door at 7am after the day’s catch comes in from local fishermen, you know what you’re having for lunch or dinner.
Studied in Kyoto and Tokyo pursuing film studies. Then finished at New York Film Academy, but continued my love and fascination for Japanese culture… and cuisine!
Oldest house in the Island, seeping with history and the legacy of serving the community since 1742. Excited to be part of the fantastic Life House team and being part of the opening crew for the various launches planned for Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and throughout the region.
Galveston Island and Texas’ Gulf Coast is a surprising aspect of the Lone Star state to out-of-towners whose idea of cowboys seems like such a contrast to the reality that Houston is actually a port city.
As gateway to Central and South America, Houston has historically been the port of entry for the region, and therefore comes as no surprise for Houstonians when it recently received the accolade of Most Diverse City in America.
My brother Ron in the beginning of 2023 leaves active service in the US Army and joins the Army Reserves here in the Greater Houston Area after being stationed at Fort Drum at New York’s border with Canada. I meanwhile will be heading off to Cape Cod to help launch the restaurants in Edgartown and Nantucket, and I can’t help but think that I’m heading as far away from family without leaving the country.
How life does come full circle, and as such, I need to remind myself returns and farewells are simply part of the journey and the fare.
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RECIPE | BORACAY ISLAND
• Pork Belly
• Pork Jowl, Ears
• Chicken Liver, Hearts
• Calamansi, Thai Chili, Onions
CHICKEN & PORK ADOBO
• Chicken Thighs, Carnitas
• Bay Leaves
• Peppercorn, Soy Sauce, Vinegar
• Quail Eggs
FILIPINO SI-LOG BREAKFASTS
• Cooked White Rice
• Garlic, Onions