Olongapo-born chef Tom Cunanan wins big in top US culinary awards
Chef of Filipino restaurant Bad Saints wins prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
May 7, 2019
The chef and owner of Washington D.C.-based modern Filipino restaurant Bad Saint was hailed as the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic by the esteemed James Beard Awards, which is often dubbed by international media organizations as the “Oscars” in the culinary scene.
Tom Cunanan’s big win came after the third time he was nominated in the Restaurant and Chef Awards, which is annually given by the James Beard Foundation. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be up here,” Cunanan said in his acceptance speech.
Cunanan, who was born in Olongapo City, has always seemed to be in touch with his heritage, as proven by Bad Saint’s menu he and co-owners Genevieve Villamora and Nick Pimentel conceptualized. It was mentioned in a March 2019 article by USA Inquirer that Bad Saint has “captivated both diners and food critics alike.” Some of the many critics it has impressed is popular American food magazine Bon Appetit which earned the number two spot in their 2016 Hot Ten New Restaurants list.
New York Times food critic Pete Wells also commended Cunanan for his laing which Wells find “so luxuriously flavorful, I can’t get it out of my head, and I don’t want to.”
In 2018, Cunanan was also named Star Chefs D.C.-Chesapeake Rising Star.
Header image courtesy James Beard Foundation
Get more stories like this by subscribing to our newsletter here.
Free online courses and workshops to keep you productive during quarantine
Watch and learn: YouTube channels to tune into for food, film or art knowledge
Hone your photography and videography skills with online classes from Fujifilm
Neil Gaiman, Paulo Coelho and other ebook collections you can read for free
6 documentaries on art and history that you can watch for free