Ang Kasama restaurant sa Chicago ang kauna-unahang Filipino restaurant na nabigyan ng prestihiyosong Michelin Star.
Pagmamay-ari ito ng Filipino chef na si Tim Flores at ng misis niyang si Genie Kwon, isang Korean pastry chef.
Itinayo nila ito noong 2020 o panahon ng pandemya, at noong April 2022 ay pinarangalan ito ng Michelin Star.
Hanggang ngayon ay pinipilahan ang Kasama Restaurant—sa umaga para sa pastries nito at sa gabi for reservation naman para sa Filipino dishes.
Ayon sa Michelin website: “A Michelin Star is awarded to restaurants offering outstanding cooking.
“We take into account five universal criteria: the quality of the ingredients, the harmony of flavours, the mastery of techniques, the personality of the chef as expressed through their cuisine and, just as importantly, consistency both across the entire menu and over time.”
Filipino chef Tim Flores with his wife Genie Kwon, a Korean pastry chef
Kamakailan lamang ay naitampok ang restaurant nina Tim at Genie sa The Today Show, isang long-running morning talk show sa U.S.
Napakalayo na ng narating ni Tim na nagsimula ang interes sa pagluluto ng Filipino food dahil pangit ang lasa ng pagkain sa cafeteria noong estudyante pa lamang siya.
Ang Kasama ay culinary collaboration ni Tim sa Filipino dishes at ni Genie sa pastries.
Hindi nga raw makapaniwala si Tim na nabigyan sila ng Michelin Star.
“It was insane," sabi niya sa The Today Show nitong May 22, 2023.
"We weren’t even thinking about that. We just wanted to do a tasting menu and try to make it.”
May nakatatawa pang kuwento si Tim nang makatanggap sila ng tawag para sa Michelin Star.
“We got the call, and I said, ‘Genie, I think this is it!’ and as we were like getting together to answer the phone call, we missed it,” ani Tim.
Sabi naman ni Genie tungkol sa kanilang award: “It’s just kind of validation for all of our work that our team has put into it.”
how KASAMA came to be
Natanggap nina Tim ang Michelin Star limang buwan nang ipakilala nila ang kanilang tasting menu na 13-course meal “inspired by Tim’s Filipino heritage and features creative takes on traditional dishes,” ayon sa the Today Show.
Ang kuwento ni Tim, “When we were sort of thinking about Kasama, I was thinking what food would set us apart.
“I needed to do something that meant something to me and something I grew up eating, and that’s Filipino food.”
Kasamang na-interview ang ina ni Tim na si Lolita Flores at amang si Regalado Flores.
Ani Tim sa ina, “I started cooking because the cafeteria food was so bad, and so I started asking you about the adobo recipe and, like, bistek recipe.”
Sabi naman ni Lolita, “And the college friends, every time he cooked, like, ‘Gosh, what did you put in your food?’ They think it’s amazing.”
Sinabi naman ni Regalado na “very, very proud” siya sa kanyang anak.
Tampok sa menu ay version ni Tim na Filipino dishes, tulad ng adobo, bistek, kaldereta pati na rin ang Filipino pastries.
Bistek and Egg
Pork Belly Adobo and Fried Rice
Ani Genie sa kanilang resto: “Our dream was also to just highlight Filipino food and bring it up to the mainstream and kind of do a way with the stigma that Asian cuisine has to be a cheap cuisine.”
Mas lumawak daw ang kaalaman ni Tim pagdating sa pagkain nang maging professional chef siya.
“When I started cooking professionally, Filipino food was just not what I learned at all, so I never envisioned cooking Filipino food professionally, until we decided to open our own place.
“I’ve always thought I don’t wanna open the best Filipino restaurant in the world. I wanna open the best restaurant that we can possibly operate.”
Roasted Pineapple and Rhum Basque Cake