VJ

“I was born in Italy to a Filipino family and moved to NYC in my teens; my career began as a busboy – I didn’t go to culinary school which meant I worked my way up the hard way, from dishwasher to prep cook and around every kitchen station; I learned from my father and inherited his passion for the craft.

Having come from such a diverse background has opened my eyes to the beauty of the world, I grew up with street food and fell in love with the easy prep, its fast service and its affordability for everyone to enjoy. I spent a long time working my way up in restaurant kitchens, learning every section and honing all my skills – but then the door was closed on me when they rejected me for an executive chef position. My dreams crumbled and I decided to move out of fine dining and instead open a Filipino street food cart in the middle of the pandemic.

I value tradition and believe that kitchens should be open canvases where anyone can express their love for food, and cooks should cook whatever they feel like cooking; as much as I take pride in my heritage I believe in exploring unusual foods and earning people’s trust in your community so they are willing to expand their horizons and try new things.

You can let this pandemic hit you, or you can let it make you. The choice is ultimately yours.”