Guest Chef Ashley Lujares
Dear Friends, Family & Neighbors,
This week, we are very excited to bring you the food of my friend and talented fellow chef Ashley Lujares. Some of you may know her from her time as executive chef of Myers + Chang, which is how we know one another. Recently, she's broken out with her own pop-up concept featuring Filipino food, which she grew up cooking and eating. Read on about the dishes we're featuring this week, as well as more about the chef herself, below.
Order Chef Ashley's Filipino Pop-up Package here!
Menu: We have a trio of dishes from Ashley that are being offered as a tasting menu package: each package contains dinner for one, and includes all three of these dishes:
Oven-roasted Chicken Inasal with Atchara (Filipino Pickled Papaya)
Also known as Lechon Manok, chicken leg and thigh are marinated in a mixture of citrus, lemongrass, pepper, coconut vinegar, and annatto. Chicken is then roasted in the oven basted in luscious annatto butter and quickly broiled for that beautiful charred skin Inasal is famously known for. Atchara is a pickle made from grated green papaya originating from the Phillippines. This dish is often served as a side dish for fried or grilled foods. Nut-free, dairy-free, shellfish free.
Pork Belly Pinakbet
A colorful medley of local vegetables, pork belly, and shrimp paste, this classic Filipino stew is perfect as a main entree or as a side dish to fried fish or grilled meat. This is a vegetable-forward dish. Can be made without pork belly or shrimp paste on request. Nut and dairy-free.
Pandan Crunch Tres Leches Cake
Pandan is an herbaceous tropical plant that grows abundantly in Southeast Asia. In Southeast Asia, pandan leaves are used to lend a unique taste and aroma to flavor desserts and drinks as well as savory dishes. Pandan is used similarly to vanilla. Pandan flavors cake and three variations of milk are soaked overnight. Nut-free.
I mean....wow. I can't wait to get mine. We were trying to figure out how to pull off something cool and different before it became Thanksgiving week, and Ashley has brought us the answer. Besides, you don't have time to cook this week, right? GET THIS. While you can.
About Chef Ashley, in her own words:
From the time I can remember I’ve participated in the making of every meal in my Filipino family gatherings. My Grandma owns a noodle company, My Aunt ran a meat stand at the city market, and my grandpa raised ducks and sold the famed delicacy balut to the local community. Little did I know I would be garde manger for the family’s kitchen. Washing, peeling, slicing, learning. I remembered constant instructions to “taste, taste, and taste” some more. But what I recall most clearly is my mom’s constant reminder that “we eat with our eyes first!” That remains a seminal lesson in a lifelong education: color, presentation, and technique all matter in how a dish tastes.
I spent 3 years in San Diego cooking, grinding, gaining my line experience at a slew of underground ethnic joints learning a mishmash of cultures and learning my fundamentals in cooking. I quickly rose up the culinary totem pole and eventually earned the Executive Chef position at Myers+Chang after 2 years as Sous Chef under Chef Karen Akunowicz followed by 2 years as Chef running one of the busiest kitchens in the Flour Bakery collection, under Executive Chef Frank Francione and Joanne Chang.
Most recently, I worked as a recipe developer for the Purple Carrot, a plant-based vegan meal kit and prepared food company. During my time at Purple Carrot, I focused on recipe writing, ideation, and food styling. I also spent some time being a private chef, creating and focusing on Modern Filipino cuisine. When I'm not in the kitchen, I spend my time with my niece and nephew, Lydia and Lucas.