How can I not *love* seafood? There are 7,107 islands in the Philippines.

I lived by the beach. The area was known to be the Center of the World’s Marine Biodiversity. And I loved swimming in the open water around the island with my crew before studying in Japan (whose food I adored).


After I lost my mother to cancer, I moved with my young brother to Manila then to Boracay Island where we’d live a hundred steps away from the South China Sea. We’d wake up by the beach, walk and talk with the locals before the mad rush of tourists from all the world woke up to the Top Island Resort in the planet.
This special place is where I learned how to cook. My father and stepmom would share with me recipes passed over from the previous generations of the Filipino family I never had the chance to meet living in the Gulf Coast. There, at Boracay Island, my family became whole again and a new horizon that would lead me to my culinary journey.

Robards Steakhouse

Some of the best food experiences I’ve had is from growing up in the beaches of Boracay and the seaside neighborhood of Roxas Blvd in Manila. From delicious Cantonese Seafood dishes from the world’s oldest Chinatown (outside of China) to grilled dampaan Pilipino BBQ, these are the anchors of my culinary approach.

Executive Chef Taylor Virina, Woodlands Waterway in integrating Chinese-Filipino influences to his professional training in Japan and Houston.
Houston: Culinary Hub of the Gulf Coast