Lord Maynard Llera and Other Filipinos Who Served Filipino Excellence at the James Beard Awards

Lord Maynard Llera and Other Filipinos Who Served Filipino Excellence at the James Beard Awards


Chef Lord Maynard Llera’s James Beard award contributes to the global prominence of Filipino cuisine, following other Filipino tastemakers who have received the same recognition

Marrying fashion and food as avenues of expression, the MEGA Ball 2024 was a night of honoring the Pinoy Pride awardees who strengthen country’s long-established relationship food as part of our history and culture. The seven-course meal that the honorees prepared for the esteemed guests attest that, just like the theme of MEGA’s June issue, our race can serve in local and and international scenes.

As the culinary craftsmanship of Filipinos reaches a wider audience, award-winning bodies such as the James Beard Foundation (JBF) are no stranger to our own talents when it comes to telling stories through food. Through their acknowledgement of the skilled culinary storytellers today, it paves the way for more voices to be heard. With that, here are three tastemakers who served up Pinoy excellence at the JBF Awards.

RELATED: The Menu: What the Country’s Best Chefs Served at the MEGA Ball 2024

Lord Maynard Llera, Best Chef California 2024

Chef Lord Maynard Llera wins Best Chef: California at the James Beard Awards 2024

The Filipino reigned supreme as Chef Lord Maynard Llera received the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef: California. Chef Lord’s mission with his fast-casual eatery Kuya Lord in Los Angeles is for Filipino food to enter the American mainstream and introduce non-Filipinos to the country’s rich, tasteful, and distinctive flavors. With a Filipino-focused menu, his recipes merge childhood memories with professional experience; one staple dish being “Lucenachon,” a tribute to his hometown of Lucena in Quezon. Over the last two years, Kuya Lord has won various awards and been listed on both Bon Appétit’s 24 Best New Restaurants for 2023 and the Los Angeles Times’ 101 Best Restaurants. As one of the highest-regarded eateries in Los Angeles’s expansive Filipino dining scene, this award puts Kuya Lord and Filipino cuisine on the international map.

Erwan Heusaff, James Beard Broadcast Media Award 2023

Erwan Heusaff

French-Filipino gastronome Erwan Heusaff turned his passion for food into FEATR Media, a full-fledged media business. His notable entry into this domain made him well-known in the digital frontier, and was then recognized as a media leader in the food industry in 2023; he took home the prize in the Social Media Account category. In his speech, he emphasized his intention to use his media company to make Filipino food “the next big thing,” and added: “This just motivates me further to keep shining the light on our beautiful country, our beautiful people, and the food that is made in our kitchen.”

Abi Balingit, James Beard Book Award, Emerging Voice 2024

Abi Balingit

On another front, under the category of Book Award Winners, self-taught Filipino-American baker Abi Balingit triumphed with her debut work, Mayumu: Filipino American Desserts Remixed. This remarkable accolade is awarded to first-time published authors whose writing has both immediate impact and lasting significance. The title was a tribute to Abi’s parents and her Kapampangan heritage, with its pages a blend of dessert recipes and essays on her cultural experiences. Her work was honored by the James Beard Foundation for its innovative and significant contribution to the field of culinary literature.

Abi’s blog, The Dusky Kitchen, was where she shared her baking experiences and laid the foundation for her book. Last June 10, she finally took the cake for a sweet victory.


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