Photo by Neal Oshima, designed by Chef Romy Dorotan. This photo is from the cookbook "Memories of Philippine Kitchens," by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan

Chef DOMINIC AINZA (Mercury Restaurant, San Francisco)
AMY BESA and Chef ROMY DOROTAN (Purple Yam, Brooklyn)
Chef KING PHOJANAKONG (UmiNOM, Brooklyn and Kuma Inn, Manhattan)
Chef TIM LUYM (Attic Restaurant, San Mateo, Calif.)
Chef PERRY MAMARIL (UmiNOM, Brooklyn and Kuma Inn, Manhattan)
Chef COCOY VENTURA (Cocoy Ventura Culinary Services, San Francisco)

Moderated by RANDY GENER (Curator, Filipino Mundo-NYC)

Friday, September 28, 2023
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
RSVP is required. Please email
Or sign up at

CULINARY DREAMS: clockwise, from top left: Chefs Dominic Ainza, Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, King Phojanakong, Tim Luym, Perry Mamaril and Cocoy Ventura
CULINARY DREAMS: clockwise, from top left: Chefs Dominic Ainza, Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, King Phojanakong, Tim Luym, Perry Mamaril and Cocoy Ventura

BROOKLYN, N.Y. |  A meal becomes an event through the addition of great conversation. FILIPINO CHEFS’ WEEK at Purple Yam Restaurant runs from Thursday, September 27 to Sunday, September 30, 2012. Throughout the week, the country’s outstanding Filipino chefs from the West and East Coasts will take turns as guest chefs at this popular restaurant in Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park. During their assigned days, the chefs will serve menus that represent their individual thinking. One special evening, however, will give them the opportunity to articulate why they cook what they cook.

Purple Yam and Filipino Mundo-NYC cordially invite everyone to join us for this downright enjoyable feast. On Friday, September 28, 2012, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., Purple Yam will open its kitchen for CULINARY DREAMS: Filipino-American Chefs’ Forum and Dinner Party. This hybrid event is an open dialogue, a scrumptious dinner, a bicoastal culinary exchange and a kind of experimental performance. From a place “setting,” CULINARY DREAMS hopes to inspire cravings, generate food for thought, debate ideas, and reveal our cultural dreams.

Three of Northern California’s most successful chefs — Chef Dominic Ainza of Mercury Restaurant & Lounge in San Francisco; Chef Tim Luym of Attic Restaurant in San Mateo, Calif; and Chef Cocoy Ventura of Cocoy Ventura Culinary Services in San Francisco — will prepare their signature dishes for New Yorkers. These West Coast chefs will join their New York counterparts: Chef Romy Dorotan and Amy Besa (owners of Purple Yam and authors of the award-winning cookbook Memories of Philippine Kitchens), as well as Chef King Phojanakon and Chef Perry Mamaril (both of UmiNOM in Brooklyn and Kuma Inn in Manhattan). In CULINARY DREAMS, all six chefs will share real-life tales and exchange experiences about the joys, the heartbreaks and the aesthetics of bringing Philippine cuisine to the American table.

Randy Gener, the Nathan Award–winning editor/writer/artist, serves as moderator of the savory conversation. Curator of Filipino Mundo-NYC, he is a Nominee for 2012 The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York Award. Please follow this link and LIKE his photo:

According to Amy Besa, “The three things I want to accomplish with this FILIPINO CHEFS’ WEEK are: to show solidarity with and highlight fellow Filipino chefs and restaurateurs showcasing our culinary heritage in the West Coast, to exchange ideas and experience one other’s food sensibilities and aesthetics, and to broaden Purple Yam’s reach and share the love for our food to the rest of the New York dining market. Romy and I would love to learn from the Bay Area chefs and share whatever wisdom we have acquired from running a restaurant for 18 years in New York City.”

Photo by Neal Oshima, designed by Chef Romy Dorotan. This photo is from the cookbook "Memories of Philippine Kitchens," by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan
Photo by Neal Oshima, designed by Chef Romy Dorotan. This photo is from the cookbook “Memories of Philippine Kitchens,” by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan

What’s on the menu?
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 — Cocoy Ventura will be the guest chef. Growing up in Isabela in the northern Philippines, Ventura relishes the simplicity and freshness of everyday food. At Purple Yam, he will serve a modern-day Filipino cuisine that embraces California’s wine-country culture. From 2005 to 2007, Ventura worked for Rubicon Estate, Francis Ford Coppola’s winery. Along with stints at Alimango and Intramuros Restaurants in San Francisco, Venture also worked with the renowned Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, where he honed his knowledge of food and wine pairings. He owns a culinary service company and serves as chef for the family estates of Maria & Dado Banatao.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 — Dominic Ainza, Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan, Tim Luym, King Phojanakon and Cocoy Ventura will gather together for CULINARY DREAMS. Dorotan will show off the enticing Purple Yam entrées that have received lavish praised from the New York Times, Time Out New York and New York magazine. King Phojanakon, a native New Yorker, will talk about what it means to be chef-owner of two of New York’s favorite restaurants: Kuma Inn in Manhattan’s Lower East Side (since May 2003) and UmiNOM in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn (since summer 2009).

Meanwhile, Ventura will airlift from California fresh live Dungeness crabs, fresh coconuts (for pancit buko), fresh kalamansi, Asian vegetables straight from California’s farms and organic stone fruits in season. (Dungeness crabs cooked in coconut milk and guava, anyone?) Ainza and Luym will contribute their classic dishes from Poleng Lounge — a taste of the daring Asian-fusion dishes that had transformed this Filipino/Pan Asian restaurant into a media sensation in San Francisco. Luym will likely serve his famous sisig (pork belly) dish.

SATURDAY and SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 & 30 — This weekend will reunite the team of Dominic Ainza and Tim Luym in Dorotan’s kitchen. In 2006, Luym and a group of investors opened the storied Poleng Lounge, a fledgling restaurant that became a Bay Area darling when it received a three-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle. Before starting his own restaurant business, Ainza had worked as sous chef for Poleng Lounge under the wings of Luym, the executive chef. In fact, Poleng Lounge was named San Francisco Chronicle Top-10 new restaurant of 2006. In 2007, Luym was declared a San Francisco Rising Star Chef and a James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef nominee. Luym is the principal behind the WoW Trucks (Windows on Wheels), including the WoW Silog Truck, which has been dishing out silog-inspired plates and dishes in the Bay Area.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 ONLY — Perry Mamaril will work hand-in-hand with Dorotan to prepare Mamaril’s signature dish: chicken binakol (baby chickens cooked in bamboo tubes. (Aside from his exceptional culinary skills, Mamaril is a well-renowned bamboo master artist and light sculptor whose craftsmanship and designs parallel the inspirations of Isamu Noguchi.) Mamaril and Dorotan will cook a whole-roasted goat lechon over charcoal in the backyard. The goat meat will come from Heritage Meat Shop, the first shop Patrick Martins opened in 2011 in the Essex Street Market for his Heritage Foods USA, an online retailer (

The dinner party is designed to facilitate conversations. “CULINARY DREAMS will take the form of a long table — a participatory dinner/discussion, inspired by Marleen Gorris’s film Antonia’s Line and developed into a performance format by Lois Weaver,” states Randy Gener. “In that film, the central image is a dinner table that grows longer as the community accepts and accommodates more people. It is a private party held in public, a dining room for informal dialogues on serious topics with space for listening or talking or eating or making statements. The core diners are the members of Filipino Mundo-NYC (a Meetup group of visual/performing artists and young professionals) and prominent members of the Filipino American community in New York, whom Amy and I have invited in advance. The general public is invited, of course — that’s the Filipino way.”

CULINARY DREAMS is a long table on entrepreneurship, Filipino innovation, culinary discoveries and mainstream advocacy. “Are there any differences and similarities between the East and West Coasts?” adds Gener. “What does the future look like? Amy Besa’s lifelong passion has been to lead us collectively toward a greater appreciation of Filipino-American heritage and culture through cuisine.”

The cost for CULINARY DREAMS on September 28 is $50 per person. Drinks, tax and gratuity are extra. To RSVP, please email Or, you may RSVP via

The other days of FILIPINO CHEFS’ WEEK, featuring the chefs’ cooking, will charge a la carte.

Purple Yam is located at 1314 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn, NY 11226 ( For directions and other information, call (718) 940-8188.

  • Culinary FEAST 2012 in Portland Oregon (
  • COI Restaurant Hosts Top International Chefs (
  • Making Philippine food more mainstream (
  • Pakistani Woman Makes It Big as New York Chef (
  • Come home, sons and daughters (
  • Stinky, Spicy, and Delicious: The Radical Reinvention of Asian American Food (
  • New History Park exhibit seeks to showcase diversity of early Filipino American experience (
  • San Francisco’s Biggest Food Event - A Preview of SF Chefs (
  • Dems dispute Filipino vet support for Heller (
  • Photo exhibit showcases diversity of early Filipino-American experience (
About Admin is a NYC-based production, event and media project devoted to U.S. news, foreign diplomacy, cultural issues, innovative art projects and journalism in the public interest. Learn more about the proprietor at

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.