With no professional chef training, a next-to-none budget, and a passion to spread her love for Filipino food, Yana Gilbuena took on 50 American states, and she’s just getting started.
It was a long con getting me to my Salo. When I first met Yana in 2014, she was less than 10 states into her mission to have Filipino dinners all over the continental US. And she had already finished her New York leg. It meant I’d either have to follow her across the country or wait for her instead. We decided on both. I followed her on social media and supported her through Homegrown, and she promised she would return to New York.
A year and three months later, I found myself in Brooklyn, sitting at the head of a table covered in banana leaves, and trying desperately not to get the broth of my batchoy onto my camera, my phone, or my dress. Batchoy, a soup from Yana’s province of Iloilo, was the first of many happy courses that evening, which may not reach Michelin standards, but they definitely exceeded those of Filipino hospitality, family-style cooking, and—for lack of a complete English word—being malinamnam.
From the get-go I knew I wanted her feature to be a video feature. It would be the only way to capture the spirit that Yana brings to her dining tables.
Next, Yana plans to take on South America before trekking through Europe. Follow her and her dinners by visiting The Salo Project today.