When one mentions Michelin Stars, for sure Gordon Ramsay would be the first thing that would come in mind. The higher levels of the culinary industry is always associated with figures like Ramsay, as well as the prestigious and elusive Michelin Stars.
For those who don’t know, Michelin Stars are the term used for the stars awarded from the Michelin Guide, which started publishing since 1904 as a guide book for drivers which eventually became an award-giving body for restaurants and food establishments. It is considered as one of the most prestigious accolades in the food scene, where the more stars an establishment earns, the higher the prestige.
Filipinos would take pride for a neighborhood restaurant and bakery in Chicago’s East Ukrainian Village: Kasama, the first restaurant that focuses on Filipino food to ever snag the first Michelin star for Philippines.
A huge achievement for owners and chefs Tim Flores and Genie Kwon, they mentioned that they could not believe having won the coveted award considering that they just opened at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“It is still hard to believe what this industry has been through since the beginning of 2020. To make it here and to be recognized by the @michelinguide is truly beyond anything we could have ever imagined. Thank you to our team, past and present. Thank you to our wonderful patrons. Cheers to you all!”they captioned their Instagram post after hearing the news.
Among Kasama are three other restaurants in the Chicago area that were awarded with the prestigious Michelin Star.
As noted by the 2022 Michelin Guide, the restaurant has now evolved to represent the true vision of what the couple had in mind for Kasama with a dinner tasting menu that emphatically displays this talented team’s training, experience and heritage for an experience that is ambitious, clever, and distinct.”
“The chefs have taken traditional Filipino cooking and given it a creative, contemporary spin in items such as maitake mushroom adobo sauced with mussel emulsion; ‘pancit’ reflecting Spanish influence with thin squid ink noodles, scallop conserva, and shaved Serrano ham; and Chef Kwon’s elegant take on ‘halo-halo’ combining Asian pear granita, pandan ice cream”,the international award-giving body added.
Cementing their status as world-class restaurant, Kasama and Archipelago, a Seattle-based Filipino fine dining restaurant, were named on The New York Times’ 2021 Best Restaurants list.