Filipino cookbook by Maharlika restaurateurs vies for top US food award
I Am A Filipino by Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad is nominated for the 2019 James Beard Foundation Book Awards
Mar 30, 2019
This week has been big so far for Filipino cuisine. Jordy Navarra’s Toyo Eatery debuted at this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list at no. 43, and now I Am a Filipino and This is How We Cook a cookbook written by the duo behind New York restaurant Maharlika, Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad, is nominated for the 2019 James Beard Foundation Book Awards.
Just how big is this recognition? If you are not familiar with the award named after American cook, writer, personality James Beard, it’s an award given annually to the best of the culinary scene in the US. Some would even call it the Oscars of the culinary world.
The book published last year chronicles many Filipino recipes from the months-long travels of Ponseca and Trinidad throughout the Philippines. These include variations of adobo, classic Filipino fare from kare-kare to kinilaw, and Spanish- and Chinese-influenced.
Prior to being nominated for the James Beard book award, the book was recognized by The New York Times and the New Yorker as one of the best cookbooks of Fall 2018.
Ponseca who previously worked as an ad executive founded Marharlika restaurant in East Village, New York in 2011 and Jeepney Gastropub the following year along with Trinidad who was a chef.
“We have the responsibility of how we talk about the people and refer to the food so much that we wouldn’t appear as a sideshow or exoticized,” Ponseca said in an interview with Salt + Spine podcast.
She also said that what pushed her to put up two Filipino restaurants and consequently a book was the non-representation of Filipinos in the US, despite the fact that we are the second largest Asian population in there next to the Chinese.
The 2019 James Beard Awards Gala is happening on May 6 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. I Am a Filipino and This is How We Cook is competing under the International category together with a book about Islamic cuisine and another on Thai food. Winners for the book awards will be announced on Apr. 26.
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