Metro Boston: 'Queer Kitchen' puts a spotlight on local LGBTQ chefs

Metro Boston, April 11, 2018

The Olio Culinary Collective is hosting a "Queer Kitchen" event to benefit the Boston Alliance of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Youth.

According to organizer Ellie Tiglao, who is also the chef behind Filipino pop-up PAMANGAN!, the gathering will serve as showcase of LGBTQ chefs and businesses, addressing the experience of "what it's like to be in a kitchen as someone who isn't a cis-male."

"We wanted to create a space that was different from the other LGBTQ spaces that are available for people to gather that wasn't necessarily focused on alcohol, and so we saw that around food," Tiglao says.

Taking place at ONCE Somerville, the event will have a special menu created by Boston-based cooks, featuring their best-known dishes. Tex Mex Eats will serve up braised-pork tamales, Tanám will supply Filipino American bites and 7ate9 bakery will end the night with decadent mini-cheesecakes. Vibes will be provided by musical artists Black Venus, Quisol, Paper Citizen and DJ Whysham.

Tiglao is a worker-owner of the Olio Culinary Collective, a co-op of chefs who service catering, non-profit dinners and educational events. They infuse their dining experiences with a specific attention to socially-engaged storytelling, such as their latest function, which was a 7-course meal based on a trip to Palestine taken by Rain Abdelrazaq, another worker-owner.

When the shopping and dining plaza Bow Market opens in Union Square later this spring, Tiglao hopes it'll house Tanám as Olio's first restaurant. She's been crowdsourcing and raising donations for the effort, receiving amounts ranging from $10 to $4,000. She wants her culinary offerings to be more about the people eating than the food itself.

"We've always been interested in being the culture, making the culture," Tiglao says. "Something that people really found memorable was being able to connect in unexpected ways when people go out to eat, and having connections with strangers."

SHIRLEY WANG