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Ilaw: a source of light (and in this case food).

Image: Courtesy Ilaw

Ilaw means "a source of a light" in Tagalog. A fitting name for a new, small group of local chefs who aim to be exactly that for their Filipino community here in Seattle. And what better way to do that than through food?

This coalition of Filipino chefs and entrepreneurs—Aaron Verzosa of Archipelago, Melissa Miranda of Musang, Irbille Donia and Justin Legaspi of Lahi, Chera Amlag of Hood Famous Bakeshop, and Kalsada Coffee's Carmel Laurino—are kicking things off with a collaborative popup dinner at Bar del Corso on September 24.

The multicourse meal will nod to tradition, highlight produce from Washington's own Filipino farmers, play with indigenous Philippine ingredients, and proffer modern takes of their culinary heritage—yup, all in one dinner. Think utencil-free kamayan starters, small plates like seafood kinilaw (considered by some as the Filipino ceviche), family-style courses, and a riff on the icy-creamy halo halo dessert.

Versoza says the goal is to have a conversation, a narrative of different Filipino flavors, with each chef asking, "Are we telling the best stories dish by dish?" 

The chefs joining forces—and telling that flavorful story—for this popup include Romy Dorotan and Rap Cristobal (Purple Yam restaurant in New York and Manila), Joey Serquinia (the Harvest Vine), Melissa Miranda (Musang brunch popup), Chera Amlag (Hood Famous Bakeshop), Irbille Donia and Justin Legaspi (Lahi popup), Aaron Verzosa (Archipelago popup), with beverages and pairings by Elmer Dulla (Salare), Ron Acierto (Pinoy Noir PDX popups), and Nelson Daquip (Canlis).

Ilaw was formed almost by happenstance. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is touring just five North American cities, Seattle being one of them, along with chefs Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan of Purple Yam, their restaurant in New York and Manila. To promote indigenous ingredients from the Philippines, raise awareness of Filipino cuisine, among other things, the DFA enlisted the help of these Seattle food and drink pros. And a supergroup was formed.

This Ilaw dinner—backed by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and Tourism—is just one of the many events exploring and raising awareness of Filipino cuisine from September 22–24. Stay tuned for more.

Ilaw Collaborative Dinner, Bar del Corso, tickets are $100
Sun, Sept 24, two seatings at 5 & 8pm

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