ULAM: MAIN DISH
Directed by Alexandra Cuerdo
Chicken adobo with heirloom tomatoes. Guyabano sorbet. Egg noodle pancit. This ain’t your lola’s Filipino food. It’s the culinary imagination of the Amboys and the b-girls, the second-generation Filipino American dropouts and dreamers who found in cooking a way to document their personal journeys.
In this mouth-watering documentary, chefs and restauranteurs from across the U.S. reminisce on their professional pathways and envision a new food landscape in which Filipino cuisine is no afterthought. They are united by the ingredients and methods from the homeland, but also common stories of immigration. Their parents didn’t come to the U.S. for them to be chefs, and yet it was that uniquely American entrepreneurial spirit that instilled in them the belief that they could break the rules. They are united too by similar beginnings in kitchens washing dishes and peeling potatoes at American or European restaurants while asking a common question: what about Filipino food? To which they all responded with a common answer: why not?
Filmmaker Alexandra Cuerdo captures the implications of that response through interviews with some of the top Filipino American chefs in the country as they reflect on how the second generation imagines home, be that in terms of cultural pride or the memory for that which is no longer there: people, places. What emerges is a glistening snapshot of what one chef calls the “culinary narrative” of a generation, as well as a network of mutual support that extends a seat at the table for all who remain hungry for new ways of exploring Filipino and American identity. –Brian Hu
Co-presented by: House of the Philippines, Silayan Filipina, San Di-Asians, Asian Business Association, Council of Philippine American Organizations, UCSD Eleanor Roosevelt College, I-House and the Outreach Coordinators, Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture, Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of San Diego County, Convoy District Partnership, Kuya Ate Mentorship Program of San Diego , Miramar College Filipino Studies, The Worldview Project
Executive Producer: Paul Puzon, Mia Manlunas
Producer: Alexandra Cuerdo, John Floresca, Rey Cuerdo
Writer: Alexandra Cuerdo
Featuring: Alvin Cailan, Nicole Ponseca, Miguel Trinidad, Romy Dorotan