The Main Meal with Woldy Reyes
Chef + Content Creator @woldykusina
Hailing from New York by way of California, Chef Woldy Reyes merges his Filipino culinary roots with the essence of California to create food that’s unique, vibrant, and celebratory of who he is as a person and chef. In November, our founder Camilla and Woldy co-hosted a west~bourne dinner celebrating togetherness. Here, Woldy shares the magic behind the meal, how he defines being a chef, and the importance of telling a visual story.
What does being a chef mean to you?
Food has always been my way of connecting with people; I'm a big believer in collaborating and cooking from the soul. Through my work, I hope to redefine what chefs can be – inclusive, understanding, empathetic, caring, and soulful – and that they can impact people through the food we make.
What was the magic behind the west~bourne collab dinner?
While I live in NYC, I'm originally from California and have long since been drawn to west~bourne's values, sensibility, and California aesthetic that celebrates freshness and lightness through produce. Therefore it was a dream to collaborate with Camilla, connect with people I admire, and exchange nourishment and conversation. I was also thrilled to introduce my approach to Filipino food, paired with the abundance of fresh food available at the Santa Monica farmer's market.
What did you serve for dinner?
Celebrating the local produce from the farmers' market and Smallhold mushrooms, we had a beautiful array of mushrooms, from sculptural decorative elements to the hero of the meal. The menu included grilled mushrooms layered with adobo sauce and coconut milk with warming spices such as star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom. Plus, we served a bowl of humble jasmine rice with crispy garlic-shallot oil alongside open-fire charred eggplant coated in west~bourne Refined Avocado Oil. To finish, the dessert featured an interactive chocolate bar with pollen and dried rose petals placed on the table for people to break apart by hand and enjoy.
Where can people experience your food?
My dishes are available through Hungryhouse, a company that works with up-and-coming chefs to make their menus accessible to the public. Together we created several plant-based Filipino dishes that can be ordered via orderhungryhouse.com or at their Brooklyn Navy Yard or Lower East Side locations.