Award winning restauranteurs will cover the basics of Filipino cuisine with history and preparation techniques of many Filipino food staples. Filipino cuisine is a unique and overlooked food with an array of flavors and dishes by its Spanish, Chinese, Malaysian, American and indigenous heritage. Recipe demonstrations included in the class are Kilawin (ceviche), adobo (soy sauce/vinegar marinated pork or chicken), puqui puqui (grilled eggplant) and maha blanca (coconut pudding).
Miguel Trinidad, Executive Chef of Maharlika Filipino Moderno, brings a new perspective to Filipino cuisine. With his Dominican heritage and New York upbringing, Chef Miguel understands that pushing Filipino food forward in the culinary spotlight means thinking outside the box. Formally trained at the Institute of Culinary Education, he was a “rookie” chef when tapped to be the Executive Chef at Soho hotspot, Lola. However, it is his 20+ years experience in the restaurant industry that has made him an integral member of Maharlika. He has worked in nearly every capacity of the restaurant and bar business ranging from bar back to maître ‘d. At Lola, he boasted a 22-19% food cost on average and cooked for to a 200 party seating area. Miguel articulates that “food is living art and is constantly evolving” and keeps simplicity and quality as cornerstones of his cooking philosophy. “I like to keep the energy positive in the kitchen, it has an impact on the food,” says Miguel. Returning customers and rave media reviews are a testament to his dedication. Miguel honed his skill and love for Filipino cuisine on a two-month exploration across the island nation. He met with notable Filipino chef, Claude Tayag, who inspired him in creating one of Maharlika’s critically acclaimed dishes, Sisig. The dish was featured in the New York Times, Timeout NY and The Huffington Post for its savory flavor and its distinct use of offal. Chef Miguel now resides in Long Island City, New York.
Nicole Ponseca is a restaurateur and owner of Maharlika Filipino Moderno. She is a former advertising and production executive for Saatchi & Saatchi, Euro RSCG and worked on brands including Oil of Olay, Coppertone and with directors like Michel Gondry, Unhappy with her career as an ad executive; she worked two jobs for a decade to fully understand the restaurant world. Her goal was simple: put Filipino food on the culinary map and make pinoys proud. Under the tutelage of Danny Abrams, Ponseca grasped streamlining business practices and systemizing all aspects of FOH and BOH operations. Systemizing, as Ponseca learned, allows the management to focus on food and the customer’s experience. Coupled with Ponseca’s expertise in ad marketing strategy and brand identity, this aided the development of Maharlika Filipino Moderno. Maharlika has garnered much attention on New York’s culinary scene from its initial opening last year including a glowing review in the New York Times and the award for “Best New Resturant” by Metromix. Maharlika Filipino Moderno has been a trendsetter in the food world and is recognized by Timeout NY (Best New Food/Critic’s Choice), Tasting Table (Top 10 Cocktail with Pacquiao Punch), Complex Magazine (Top Restaurant for 2012), Inc.com (Entrepreneurship) and The Huffington Post (Best Cuisine/Women Entreprenuers) as a major player in the dining scene. With Maharlika Filipino Moderno, Ponseca aims to combine her professional background and her cultural values to the success of the venture. Ponseca attended the University of San Francisco earning her B.A. in Business Administration. She now resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Evaristo Noel Cruz is owner of Maharlika Filipino Moderno and currently manages Maharlika Province at Dekalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn. He graduated with honors from Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He is certified by the American Sommelier Association having completed the Vinification & Vitification course along with the intensive Blind Tasting Program. He also earned a degree, and subsiquently taught, in Classic Pastry Arts from Manhattan’s famed French Culinary Institute. After culinary school, Noel travelled across the Pacific Ocean to the island of Maui, learning Pacific-Rim cuisine at renowned chef Roy Yamaguchi’s flagship restaurant, Roy’s Kahana Bar and Grill. Returning to New York with the intention of cooking, Cruz’s love of wine pulled him to the front of house. He worked managerial positions at the popular Moomba Supper Club in Greenwich Village, and later at the famed institution, Tribeca Grill. His interest in wine then led him to the Asian-inspired restaurant, Tanda, where he served as beverage manager, and finally to Celebrity Chef Tom Colicchio’s New York Times three-star flagship restaurant, Craft. Cruz opened Craft’s sister restaurant, Craftbar, where he first met Chef Akhtar Nawab, his future business partner. In 2003, he left Craftbar to work on a variety of consulting projects with Chef Don Pintabona, whom he first met at Tribeca Grill. He assisted in opening Trina Restaurant and Lounge in the Starwood Luxury Property, The Atlantic Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and consulted on Pintabona’s line of food products. Additionally, he assisted the prepared food menu revamp of Gourmet Giant Citarella as well as the launch of Citarella East Café in East Hampton, New York. Noel brought his varied experience to open his own establishment, Elettaria Restaurant. In 2010, Cruz was the managing consultant on the opening, his tenth, of Ryehouse Restaurant/Bar in the Flatiron District of NYC. Cruz earned a Microbiology degree and Chemistry Minor at the University of Florida. He now resides in Brooklyn, NY.
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