guest chef series

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top: Guest Chef Humberto behind the scenes for a live cooking lesson.
middle:  Guest Chef Humberto Guallpa at work.
below:  Peking duck, seaweed-chimichurri fried rice, heirloom cauliflower, saba.

Maharlika X El Camino

Ecuadorian X Philippine Cuisine
Guest Chef Series
February 23, Tuesday
5:30pm; 7:30pm; 9:30pm seatings
reservations at 646 392 7880

6 course dinner menu; $85/person; a creative culinary experience

Guest Chef, HUMBERTO GUALLPA, Ecuador

Executive Chef, Calle Dao

WHAT IS YOUR INTEREST IN THE PHILIPPINES?

Flavors, culture, traditions, curiosity and discovering new delicious ingredients.  I met chef Miguel three years ago, and I found out he cooks Filipino food and he is Dominican.  First, this is an emerging cuisine and here was a guy doing it. It was very interesting, even more so when i tasted such bold flavors: unique in senses and textures. I wanted to cook and learn more.

WHAT MADE YOU BECOME A CHEF?

This question is one of the questions I get often. I started as a dishwasher; I never thought I would become a chef or even a cook. After a few months being a dishwasher, my chef asked me if I can or if I want to learn making salads. Immediately, I said, “Yes!”. I was done washing dishes, Since the first day, I started making salads, I had this connection with food– deeper than anything before. I developed a passion for it. So, you ask, “what made me become a chef?” It was and it is the connection, love and passion for food and the daily talk i have to my ingredients.

WHAT STRUGGLES HAVE YOU OVERCOME?

The most crazy struggles I overcome is being looked down on. True, I am not educated in school; I don’t have a cooking diploma.  So, people try to make you feel less because of your education, race, color, or language. THIS is the most crazy struggles I and every immigrant has to overcome every day!  I am strong, and I break down walls of struggle.

YOUR FOOD IS GORGEOUS…HOW DO YOU APPROACH PLATING?

Thank you. I think plating is like free drawing.  The way I approach plating is with an open mind. I imagine I am in the country where the product is from.  I try to relate to the people and to their ingredients.  I need to feel connected.  I can imagine the people and the ingredients are happy and saying thank you! Of course, i also want the customers to eat with their eyes and be happy, too.

WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR GUEST CHEF NIGHT?

Uniting two cultures and making something inventive and deliciously creative, where people can find new flavors. We want to cook and honor filipino flavors and make Ecuadorian flavors become beautiful friends. We also want to push Latino chefs further into the mainstream.  This is actually part of a documentary we are making on Latinos in the culinary industry.