Yamashiro's executive chef, Vallerie Castillo Archer, is bringing her culinary heritage to the famed Hollywood restaurant, not only to highlight Filipino cuisine but to showcase the warm, hospitable nature Filipinos far and wide embody. Credit: Sthanlee Mirador.
October may be designated Filipino American History Month, but Filipinos make history every day. When bamboo ceilings are broken, especially by a Filipina chef in a male-dominated industry, there is much cause to celebrate. And that’s exactly what chef Vallerie Castillo Archer did when she became the first female executive chef at Yamashiro. This month, she brings her culinary heritage to the famed Hollywood restaurant, not only to highlight Filipino cuisine but to showcase the warm, hospitable nature Filipinos far and wide embody.
“Chef Val,” as the community likes to call her, was born in her grandparents’ bakery in the Philippines. Her Ilocano roots shine through in the melt-off-the-bone pork rib adobo she’s prepared as part of the prix fixe menu that will be offered at Yamashiro from Oct. 25-28 for Tikim Fest, a month-long celebration of Filipino cuisine organized by FilAm Arts. Adobo is best served alongside piping hot rice and, depending on the regional influences of who’s making it, can differ slightly. She attributes the recipe to her Daddy “Lakay,” her “lolo,” or grandfather, who raised her in the Philippines.
“Someone who has never tried Filipino food would love the aromatic adobo, which is a nice complex mix of vinegar and soy sauce, traced back from the Spanish influence on Philippine cuisine.”
The special menu at Yamashiro will also feature the Filipino breakfast of champions, otherwise known as “tapa,” made with thinly sliced American wagyu beef fried to a crisp and served with a spicy vinegar sauce and garlic fried rice, and sisig, a traditional Filipino dish made with pork ears and snout, topped with quail eggs and calamansi and served on a sizzling plater.
Earlier this month, chef Val made her way to Compton to meet with Richard Garcia, a Filipino farmer and executive director of Alma Backyard Farms, to procure fresh produce straight from the vine. Being on the farm brought back memories of her childhood, like picking vegetables from the garden to prepare with her grandfather. Her spin on adobo fairy tale eggplant was a mouthwatering, orgasmic treat, even if we just got to experience it on social media.
Chef Val’s cuisine is undoubtedly intertwined with memories of family. When you walk through her establishment, she treats you like one of her own and always makes an effort, no matter how slammed she is running around, to say hello. Accessible and friendly, chef Val wins the most congenial chef award in Hollywood hands down.
Along with Yamashiro’s stunning picturesque views of Los Angeles, chef Val provides the perfect kind of atmosphere to make your dining experience unforgettable, featuring delectable dishes with an ambiance that feels familiar and, most importantly, familial. Make sure to send your compliments to the chef when you dine at Yamashiro.
Chef Val’s Filipino Menu is available from Oct. 25-28 at Yamashiro for $50. Reservations are highly encouraged; call (323) 466-5125 to book yours today.
Yamashiro Hollywood — 1999 N. Sycamore Ave., Hollywood, CA 90068
Vallerie Castillo Archer is one of Tikim Fests’ featured chefs. She’s prepared a special prix fixe menu, with proceeds benefiting FilAm Arts. Los Angeleno is a proud partner of Tikim Fest 2021, co-presented by Farmfluence.