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Peep ‘Kasama’: The First Filipino Restaurant to Receive a Michelin Star

Kasama restaurant
James Francisco

The month of May sees the celebration of Asian-American Pacific Islander heritage, with over 24 million inhabitants on the United States mainland. Whether venturing on foreign soil provides a means to an end or seeking individual progression, achieving the American Dream continues to steer the hearts of aspiring Filipinos.

With poverty and lack of sustainable income posing a cause for migration, retreating to neighboring nations and searching for better opportunities poses an ideal course of action. Despite the difficulties present as minorities distant from the Philippines, the value of pakikisama (togetherness) binds and connects people—as “home” may not be such an alienated concept.

Perusing a menu that hits home (arguably very well), Kasama basks in the heightening of locally-bread flavors—evidenced by being the first Michelin Star restaurant to champion Filipino culture. The Michelin Guide credits Kasama for its ‘ambitious, clever, and distinct” takes on meals such as sinigang, kare-kare, and halo-halo. As a product of a Filipino-Korean couple: Tim Flores and Genie Kwon emphasize the uniqueness of Asian (more specifically Filipino) cuisine, which may stereotypically be defined as “something cheap, ordinary,” and not favored by many.

“Our dream was to highlight Filipino food and bring it up to the mainstream and kind of do away with the stigma that Asian cuisine has to be a cheap cuisine. We’re still using modern techniques with incredible ingredients,” Kwon tells TODAY Food.

Earning their stripes by straying from conventionality, Kasama encompasses modern techniques with remnants of tradition. Integrating rich Filipino flavors and French-inspired pasties, the nook opened its doors in 2020, situated as a premier dining location at the East Ukrainian Village in Chicago, Il. The TODAY Food’s featured restaurant prides itself in its delectable flavors and the convening of colorful pallets—with the ability to foster togetherness and ingenuity miles apart from the motherland.

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Mary Jane De Guzman
Mary Jane De Guzman
10 months ago

You both are amazing and i wish i could pick up your techniques in cooking❤

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