‘I Am a Filipino’ cookbook launches in San Francisco
WATCH: I Am a Filipino cookbook launch in San Francisco
Long before Anthony Bourdain declared Filipino food “the next big thing in America” or the New York Times claimed the cuisine was finally finding a place in the American mainstream, Nicole Ponseca was working hard to make that happen.
Committed to establishing the bold and bright food of her heritage as a celebrated cuisine in a modern, competitive restaurant market, Ponseca and chef Miguel Trinidad opened their first restaurant, Maharlika, in downtown Manhattan in 2011. Soon after, they opened the gastropub Jeepney to a wealth of critical praise, crowning them the arbiters of Filipino food in New York.
Now Ponseca and Trinidad have brought their passion and expertise to home cooks with their first book, I AM A FILIPINO (Artisan Books; Pub: October 30, 2018; hardcover; $35.00), both a cookbook and a manifesto with over 100 classic and modern recipes from signature adobos and soups to curries and sweets.
Chapters are divided by style and influence, be it the addictive nature of crispy, salty street food, the myriad ways to cook with vinegar, or the five distinct flavors that remain the hallmark of Filipino cooking.
Readers will also learn how traditional recipes and flavors have been shaped by colonialism, pulling influences from Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, and American fare.
Ponseca and Trinidad break down the basics of Filipino cooking, and since much of Filipino cuisine was created in home kitchens, the techniques taught in the book (like boiling, grilling, and pickling) are easily learned and re-created.
Dishes like the savory rice porridge Arroz Caldo (p. 184) and the chicken and tomato stew Afritada Manok (p. 224) are aromatic and flavorful, made with ingredients home cooks will likely have in their pantry. Other national dishes like the oxtail stew Kare Kare (p. 22) and the noodle and shrimp dish Pansit Palabok (p. 167) are sure to become new favorites.
Nicole Ponseca is the founder and creative director of Maharlika and Jeepney restaurants. A native of San Diego, Ponseca moved to New York City to pursue a career in advertising. It was during this time while trying to find authentic Filipino food in Manhattan that she found her true calling.
Together with skilled chef Miguel Trinidad, she opened Maharlika and Jeepney in New York City’s East Village. Both restaurants are recognized by critics and top publications as Filipino trendsetters. Ponseca is a motivational speaker for young Filipino adults and an active fund-raiser for charities in the Philippines, and she represented Filipino American leaders during the Obama administration.
Follow them on Instagram: @nicoleponseca @chefmigsnyc @marhlikanyc @jeepneynyc