“An ambitious, clever and distinct meal.”
This was how Michelin Guide, a hub for Michelin-starred restaurants, described the food of a Filipino restaurant in Chicago that received its first Michelin star on April 6.
Kasama restaurant, a Filipino bakery and modern Filipino restaurant, was among the four establishments that earned its first Michelin Star in the state of Chicago for that day.
A Michelin Star is a prestigious accolade in the culinary community.
The Filipino word “kasama” means “included with” or “with” in English.
Michelin Guide described the place in its review posted on its website.
“The dinner tasting, which is an evolution of their wildly popular café, reflects their training, experience and heritage,” the review reads.
“Naturally, the result is an ambitious, clever and distinct meal, where traditional Filipino food is given a creative spin in such items as maitake mushroom adobo with mussel emulsion; “pancit” reflecting Spanish influence with Serrano ham; and an elegant take on “halo-halo” combining Asian pear granita, pandan ice cream and freeze-dried mandarin,” it added.
The guide further described the restaurant’s design as “an impressively equipped kitchen framed by a counter where diners watch the action unfold.”
“Banquettes tucked under the windows make for plush seats,” it said.
Kasama later took to Instagram to thank their patrons and their teams for this amazing achievement.
“It is still hard to believe what this industry has been through since the beginning of 2020. To make it here and to be recognized by the @michelinguide is truly beyond anything we could have ever imagined,” they said.
“Thank you to our team, past and present. Thank you to our wonderful patrons. Cheers to you all!” they added.
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Kasama opened in July 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is owned by a married couple—chefs Timothy Flores and Genie Kwon.
The establishment also topped the list of “Best New Restaurants” by Chicago Magazine.
Other first-star recipients
On its Instagram post, Michelin said that its inspectors found the restaurants to “maintain a high level of quality and creativity in fine dining experiences.”
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Aside from Kasama, here are the following three restaurants that received Michelin Stars:
- Claudia Restaurant
- Esmé Restaurant
- Galit restaurant
According to the Michelin Guide, any restaurant can be awarded its much-coveted Star.
They also do not have a set criteria on the style of cooking, food and even service.
“There is no secret, mathematical formula – we’re just looking for really great cooking. Some Michelin Stars are innovative, some traditional; some offer set menus, others à la carte; some are casual places, others formal,” the guide said.