Food & Drink

Filipino American Restaurateur Nicole Ponseca Is Nominated for a James Beard Award

I Am a Filipino was nominated under the International Books Category.
IMAGE DALE JABAGAT, J. OLIVER LU, AND PATRICIA BURMICKY / INSTAGRAM/@NICOLEPONSECA
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The past few weeks have been quite a whirlwind for Filipinos in the food industry: Jordy Navarra’s Toyo Eatery took the 43rd spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, three Filipino American chefs were named semifinalists for the James Beard Awards, and most recently, Filipino restaurateur and author Nicole Ponseca’s book I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook which she co-wrote with chef Miguel Trinidad was nominated under the International Books Category for the James Beard Awards.

She wrote on her Instagram, “Wow a James Beard Finalist for Best Cookbook International! ‘If it’s a dream, please don’t wake me up. It feels so real.’” She then took the time to thank the James Beard Foundation, chef Miguel Trinidad, and the Artisan Books team as well as the “community and readers and industry folk” who supported her.

More: Three Filipino American Chefs Named Semifinalists For the 2019 James Beard Awards

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Ponseca arrived in New York in 1998, and worked as an advertising executive. “I pursued a career that was safe and offered job security to make my parents happy and at night I started dishwashing. Later I would host, serve, and bartend. The risk of opening a restaurant is 90 percent failure so I knew I needed to work at every position in a restaurant so I could understand the full picture,” she shared in T&C’s November 2012 issue.

Ten years later, she had the idea of opening a Filipino restaurant after colleagues and clients would ask her where to try Filipino cuisine. She approached every Filipino chef she knew until she met Miguel Trinidad, a Dominican-American who was open to what she had to say.

As the owner and co-founder of Lower East Side haunts Jeepney and Maharlika, Ponseca has immensely helped put Filipino food on the culinary map. She serves traditional Filipino dishes using the most authentic ingredients and her cookbook is no different.

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I Am a Filipino is a cookbook of Filipino recipes with an “unexpected and addictive” take on traditional flavors. Inside, you’ll find recipes for national dishes such as adobo, kare-kare, kinilaw, lumpia, and curries. Since its release, the cookbook has received stellar reviews from The New Yorker, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times Book Review, Houston Chronicle, PopSugar, and more.

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I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is a style writer based in Manila. He writes about fashion, trends, shopping, current news, and more for Townandcountry.ph.
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