The October issue of Food and Wine Magazine is a celebration of restaurants but it also raises a glass to the year’s best new chefs led by Tim Flores and Genie Kwon of Chicago’s Filipino restaurant Kasama. Tim and Genie are among “the most exciting emerging culinary talent in the U.S. today,” the magazine says, “whose food is highly personal, unapologetic, and extremely fun.”
Genie, in fact, appears on the cover tending to her wide array of well-loved pastries which are described as “unskippable” when one is at Kasama. “Kwon's selection of baked goods somehow manages to marry elegance with Midwestern portion sizes, and she has engineered each pastry to provide diners with an eating experience that offers maximum flavor and minimal mess.”
Kasama is an all-day restaurant and a pretty successful one. Not only did it earn its first Michelin star early this year, less than two years before it opened, but the couple and their team have built a pretty supportive community that keeps the business thriving. “Lines form down the block most mornings, and the tasting menu sells out well in advance,” reports Food & Wine.
According to the magazine, Kasama serves “extraordinary breakfast sandwiches” and a mushroom adobo silog. Come evening, the casual atmosphere gives in to a more refined setting and Tim begins his dinners with his version of kinilaw and caps it with his interpretation of the halo-halo.
Tim was born in the US to Filipino parents—his father is from Pampanga and his mother is from Cavite. Tim got his training as a line cook at Senza restaurant under Chef Noah Sandoval—with whom Tim and Genie eventually partnered and started Oriole, a two Michelin-star restaurant. Genie is from New Orleans but grew up in Boston and Upstate New York. She took up culinary management in Massachusetts and honed her baking prowess at Flour Bakery & Cafe, Nobu Fifty Seven, and Eleven Madison Park in New York.
Tim and Genie started dating in 2014 and got married four years later. With Kasama, says Food & Wine, they are “reinventing Filipino cuisine through a jubilant bakery and a destination-worthy tasting menu.”
If you want to know more about Tim and Genie’s love story, click on this link.