Yana Gilbuena is a pop-up chef. From rotating venues in Brooklyn, she has expanded her scope: The SALO Series is her journey to promote Filipino cuisine and culture throughout 50 states in roughly 50 weeks. The project is in partnership with Feastly.com, a private meal-sharing service that's a little bit like AirBnB for meals instead of lodgings. Feastly is mostly available in bigger cities right now, but through promotions like the SALO Series the service's reach ought to increase. The Maine edition of SALO was hosted at a Munjoy Hill apartment (that of Jay Lombard, founder of Finest Kind Tea). Gilbuena relies on the kindness of strangers and the power of social media in finding a host for each meal. She also travels light, adapting to whatever equipment she finds at her host's house and seeking out ingredients available in local markets (to be clear, not all the ingredients are local, but they're sold locally). Her friend and travel companion Cassandra Sicre assists with the entire process, as do others who are interested.
The unusual food (including candied anchovies and chef's surprise "balut," or fertilized duck egg) and "kamayan" style of eating (without utensils) is challenging and entertaining. This served to increase the camaraderie obvious amongst friends and strangers gathered around large tables, eating family style from banana leaves. Events are BYOB; Rising Tide Brewing Company also provided beer pairings for this edition.
See more details of the Maine event here, including a rough version of the menu. Veteran Portland pop-up chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly of Family Feast complimented Gilbuena highly on her ability to make such daring food work in a pop-up setting. To give a sense of the efficiency with which she accomplishes her work, Gilbuena's next dinner is Sunday, June 15 in Portsmouth, NH, and she doesn't leave Portland until Friday, June 13. $50 tickets included more food than anyone could hope to consume, and even leftovers for those who wanted them.
· More information and tickets for SALO Series: New Hampshire [Feastly.com]
· SALO Series [Official Website, Facebook]
· Eater Coverage of SALO: [-EME-, -DC-, -PHILLY-]
· All Eater Inside Coverage [-EME-]
· All Pop-Ups Coverage [-EME-]