Test Kitchen

The other day, I was invited by good friends Miguel and Nicole to try some Hawaiian Poke concepts in the test kitchen of their restaurant (and my favorite third space) Jeepney.

If you’re not familiar with Jeepney or it’s sister restaurant Maharlika– then you’re going to want to get familiar really soon. These two establishments have given Filipino cuisine a big boost that has attracted the eyes and palettes of New York foodies. Not to say that these are the first Filipino restaurants to exist in New York City- because there are many fine places that offer delicious Filipino Food in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. Jeepney and Maharlika stand out because of their innovative way to re-imagine the potential of Filipino cuisine.

So when Nicole and Miguel invited me to share some Hawaiian-style ahi poke recipes, I was stoked! We tested out some ideas for the upcoming “Jeepenese Night” a special Tiki Tuesday night with Japanese and Hawaiian inspired food and cocktails.  (Happening 12/1/2015 at Jeepney)

Anyway, I honestly had a wonderful time in a professional kitchen- given that I’ve never cooked in one before. I mean, I have worked in a few restaurants, but not in spaces with a supportive and exciting atmosphere. We tried some poke ideas with ahi (tuna) and tako (octopus) and settled on some concepts for the Jeepenese night.

Miguel is an amazing chef, and I learned so much from just watching him in action. The level of skill, with intention and precision is absolutely crazmazing. (crazy+amazing= crazmazing) He took a recipe and gave it life, and a sense of style.

This makes me think about the importance of presentation, plating and styling when serving or even photographing food. Things need to look good because nobody is going to be excited to eat some sloppily presented dish, despite it’s deliciousness.


I actually took the photo of the above plating concept. It’s just a test run, so I’m not sure how the final plate will look, but this one was just so pretty. I’m so proud of this photo, I’m seriously going to have it printed and framed. It’s my recipe, as interpreted and plated by Miguel, with the light coming from Nicole. (Both figuratively and literally- Nicole used the flashlight on her phone so I could get this shot. She’s also the one who spearheaded the idea of having a poke night.)

It was a wonderful test run, and I’m super excited about #Jeepense Night at Jeepney.


Me, Miguel and Nicole


Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad are the Principal and Executive Chef of both Jeepney and Maharlika, respectively. Like them here, and here. Follow them here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

No compensation was received for this blog posting.

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