Michelin Guide celebrates Kasama as its 1st starred Filipino restaurant

Michelin Guide Filipino restaurant
The kitchen at Kasama. Photo: Kristen Mendiola for Michelin Guide.

Chicago’s Kasama has been featured as the world’s first Michelin-starred Filipino restaurant in the iconic dining guide, just two years after it opened during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

The recommended dining destination on 1001 N. Winchester Ave., Chicago, Illinois managed by husband-and-wife chefs Tim Flores and Genie Kwon recently received the Michelin Star rating for its Filipino cuisine with a contemporary spin.

The Michelin Guide feature article by Digital Editor Mikka Wee of MICHELIN Guides Asia introduces Kasama chef-owners Tim Flores and Genie Kwon as flying the Philippine flag high with their restaurant in Chicago getting recognized as the first MICHELIN-Starred Filipino restaurant in the world.

“Together with Kasama, the World’s First MICHELIN-Starred Filipino Restaurant” published on May 30, 2022, reveals how its Filipino and Korean chef-owners successfully partnered in life and at work to make the dining place befitting the Filipino view of gathering around food as a symbol of togetherness.

Husband-and-wife chefs Tim Flores and Genie Kwon have made the Filipino “Kasama” concept of togetherness and partnership a recommended stop for world travelers. Photo: Michelin Guide.

The article also celebrates Filipino pride in food served by the newly-starred contemporary restaurant.

In the interview with Chicago-raised Flores whose mother hails from Imus, Cavite in the Philippines, the chef notes the rise of Filipino food with more and more chefs across the United States and the world creating modern versions of traditional Filipino dishes like what Kasama has done with its nilaga, mushroom adobo dish, kare-kare, among many other offerings.

“I want to push along with the other Filipino chefs around the country and in the world, as much as I want to push forward with Filipino cuisine,” says Flores. “I want to change the stigma about Filipino food being cheap and a little overwhelming, while staying true to the culture. I also want to emphasise the togetherness that food brings, like family and giving back to people,” he adds.

“I want to see more Filipino food; I really do want to see more of it. I want to see more people doing what we are trying to do at Kasama. And hopefully, what we do leaves an impression.”

The much sought after quality rating which traces back its beginnings to 1889 in France and now rates more than 30,000 establishments in over 30 territories around the world using a unique “mystery diners-restaurant inspectors” to visit and review restaurants anonymously, awarded one star to Kasama and placed it among restaurants with “high quality cooking, worth a stop” recommendation.

The best-selling Michelin Guides named Kasama among the four newly-starred Chicago restaurants revealed in April, a major step up from receiving the 2021 MICHELIN Guide Bib Gourmands – the rating that recognizes friendly establishments that serve good food at moderate prices.

The Michelin Star recommendation notes how the chef-owners of Kasama opened their own restaurant during the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak and have since guided the dining place into a showcase of “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 Michelin Guide wrote.

Kasama serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with in-dining reservations made through this link.

Kasama is also featured in the New York Times’ Best Restaurants guide.

SEND CONGRATULATIONS to Kasama in the comments below for the recognition it has received as the first Michelin-starred Filipino restaurant in the world!

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Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.