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April 27, 1:00 P.M.  Brunch: Merienda! An Afternoon Celebrating Filipino Food Month

April 27, 2024 01:00 PM

Featuring Chefs Dale Talde, Leah Cohen, Woldy Reyes, Diana Manalang, and Nicole Ponseca    

25 11th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA

A champion of Filipino food culture, Nicole Ponseca joins forces with the best Filipino chefs in New York City for this epic afternoon. Chefs Dale Talde, Leah Cohen, Woldy Reyes, and Diana Manalang are coming together to create a Merienda to best all Meriendas during Filipino Food Month. This family-style brunch will include bibingkas, noodles, dumplings, and more (!) that will blend Filipino culinary tradition with innovative twists. Highlighting the Filipino diaspora, every dish shares the heritage and creativity of this incomparable group of chefs.  
Savor the magic of Filipino food as you celebrate the Philippines’ rich culinary tapestry, vibrant colors, and bold flavors in honor of April’s Filipino Food Month. 


Dining Table $95 | Internal Chefs Counter $105  




Chef Dale Talde
Pancit Palabok with Blue Crab Gravy, Smoked Trout Roe, and Chicharrones  

Chef Woldy Reyes
Bibingka with Mango Glaze and Black Salt  

Chef Lj Almendras
Pandesal and Keso> Black and White Sesame Bread with Unaged White Cheese, Calamansi Marmalade, and Beef Jerky 

Chef Woldy Reyes
Sinangag Frittata with Herb Salad  

Chef Lj Almendras
Tortang Talong > Japanese Eggplant with Oysters, Olives, Watercress, Oaxaca Cheese, and Shacha Barbecue Sauce  

 Chef Diana Manalang
Beef Kaldereta and Chicken Adobo Toast > Simmered Shredded Beef and Classic Chicken Adobo with Blistered Pepper, Pickled Carrot, and Crispy Potato Strips  

Chef Leah Cohen
Smoked Bangus Toast  

Chef Nicole Ponseca
Salmon Kinilaw>  Salmon with Atchara, Coconut Milk, Pinakurat, Ikura, and Bitter Melon Chimichurri 

Chef Nicole Ponseca
Classic Lumpia with Pork, Shrimp, Carrot, and Cilantro 

About Nicole Ponseca:
Born in Philly and raised in California and New York, Nicole Ponseca is a respected thought leader and a noteworthy trailblazer in the Asian/Pacific American (APA) and Filipino space, as well a hospitality veteran. First with Maharlika, and then with Jeepney, Ponseca was widely regarded for her contribution exposing discerning New York diners to Filipino flavors. The popularity of her two restaurants translated into a best-selling debut cookbook called I Am a Filipino, which was published by Artisan and received a James Beard Award nomination for Best International Cookbook in 2019.
She has leveraged her advertising background to wake up a dormant conversation about identity and Filipino food in the United States, as well as the global foodie community and Filipino diaspora. In her past life, she was an advertising executive working with Fortune 500 clients by day. At night, she was moonlighting as a restaurant hostess/bartender/server/manager, determined to learn as much as she could about the restaurant business.
She has dedicated close to 20 years exploring the 7,100+ Philippine islands looking for ancestral recipes, tools and clues to a culture that had little documentation. The result is a seminal work in Filipino history and the culinary world. Currently, she splits her time between Manhattan and Miami, as she pivots her business and personal life. Her journey has opened her up as a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) speaker, food journalist, and experienced restaurateur. She is an outspoken advocate for the APA, Black and LGBTQIA communities and is known for her uncanny perseverance. 

About Dale Talde:
Dale Talde is the host and producer of Tastemade’s All Up In My Grill, the executive chef/owner of Goosefeather at the Tarrytown House Estate in New York, and the co-founder of Food Crush Hospitality, a full-service hospitality consulting firm. His latest project is the opening of Talde Noodle and Dumpling in LaGuardia Airport’s newly renovated Terminal B Headhouse. Dale was also named a semifinalist for the 2022 James Beard Awards in the Best Chef: New York State” category, and he is the author of the Asian-American Cookbook, which was released in 2015.
His passion for cooking began at a young age in his native Chicago where he learned to prepare meals alongside his mother in the kitchen. The proud son of Filipino immigrants, he grew up immersed in his family’s cultural heritage, while also enjoying the life of a typical American kid. Dale applies this distinct Asian American experience to his menus and hospitality concepts. His tie to culture and the arts is a strong and subtle thread in all his creations. Beyond Asian American food, Dale has opened and consulted on projects focused on Cantonese cuisine, Japanese cuisine, Italian cuisine, traditional bar and grills, rooftops, and nightclubs. He is a builder and inventor at heart.
Aside from his work in the kitchen, Dale is a three-time cheftestant on Bravo’s Emmy Award-winning culinary series, Top Chef, and is remembered as one of the show’s most popular cast members. He competed in Season 4: Chicago, Season 8: All-Stars, as well as Top Chef Duels, later returning as a guest judge on Season 18: Portland and Top Chef Amateurs. Dale has also competed and judged on Food Network’s Chopped, Iron Chef America, and Beat Bobby Flay, as well as Esquire’s Knife Fight.

About Leah Cohen:
Leah Cohen is a renowned chef and owner of two highly acclaimed restaurants in New York City, Pig & Khao in the Lower East Side, and Piggyback NYC in the Penn District, and the author of cookbook Lemongrass & Lime, published in 2020. She gained recognition as a TV personality, getting her breakthrough on Bravo's hit show Top Chef, and has since appeared on various Food Network shows including Beat Bobby Flay, Guy's Grocery Games, and Tournament of Champions.
Early in her career, Cohen honed her skills in Michelin-starred establishments, working alongside some of the world's most esteemed chefs. Her Filipino heritage and regular visits to the region heavily influence her cooking style, which combines authentic Southeast Asian flavors with classical Western techniques.
In 2012, Cohen opened the intimate Pig & Khao, a 74-seat restaurant that has garnered praise from reputable sources such as The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post. In January 2020, she introduced her second restaurant, Piggyback NYC, which offers a unique Pan-Asian dining experience like no other. The establishment features a spacious bar and a private event space called the Wayback Bar, discreetly nestled behind the main dining area.
Beyond her success on Food Network, Cohen also appears as a culinary expert on popular morning shows like The TODAY Show and Good Morning America. She has also showcased her talents on seasons 1 and 2 of PBS's Great American Chef.

About Woldy Reyes:
Woldy Reyes is a chef and founder of the boutique catering company, Woldy Kusina, based in Brooklyn, New York. Woldy Kusina’s cuisine is centered around a simple philosophy—to provide good food and good experiences, with sustainability and culture at the heart of it all.
As a first-generation Filipino American, Reyes effortlessly infuses contemporary dishes with vibrant flavors and colors that are inspired by his roots. Using only seasonal sourced ingredients, his menus are best described as fresh, natural, and fulfilling.
Woldy Reyes is recognized as one of New York’s top chefs and has been featured in VOGUE and The New Yorker, with a noteworthy clientele that includes brands like 3.1 Phillip Lim, West Elm, Kosas, Well+Good, and J.Crew. His cooking has been highlighted on the TODAY Show and deemed by the New York Times as an invigorating culinary experience that is “more about passion than precision.” His first book, In the Kusina,published by Chronicle Books will be on sale Spring 2025.

About Diana Manalang:
Hospitality industry veteran Diana Manalang brings more than a decade of experience to her two Long Island City businesses, Little Chef Little Kitchen and Little Chef Little Café. Building on expertise developed in marketing for brands like Swarovski and restaurant management, Manalang brings a passion for food and customer care to everything she does. Prior to launching her own businesses, she helped develop restaurant and food hall concepts while also playing a pivotal role in the success of the Bareburger Group, where she rose to the position of Managing Partner. Ready to build something of her own, Manalang started working as a private chef and caterer, launching Little Chef Little Kitchen in 2018. Working as her own boss allowed Manalang to take a personalized approach to creating dishes and menus that are tailored to every type of event from intimate celebrations to large catered affairs. Launched in 2019, Little Chef Little Café brought a new breakfast and lunch option to fast growing Long Island City, where she also introduced dishes drawing on her Filipino-American heritage. Showing Manalang‘s resilience in the face of business challenges, she pivoted to selling prepared meals for adults and kids during the pandemic while the café became a to-go destination. Building on the success of the prepared meals, Manalang now supplies healthy lunches to a number of neighborhood schools.
Manalang‘s charity work includes sitting on the board of The Chocolate Factory Theater, an organization dedicated to artistic expression and as a current member of the junior board of the Food Education Fund, a nonprofit supporting culinary-focused public high school students in New York City. 


Tickets to events held at Platform at Pier 57 by the James Beard Foundation cover the cost of food, education and a unique dining experience. Meals are prepared by culinary masters from all regions of the United States and around the world. Unless otherwise stated, alcoholic beverages are provided on a complimentary basis and are not included in the ticket price.

James Beard Foundation events permit guests age 21 years and older to attend events where alcoholic beverages are served.

Event Policy

Reservation Policy:

All reservations are non-refundable and must be made in advance. Should the event be cancelled due to any unforeseen circumstances, including COVID-19, JBF will offer a range of options, including ticket exchanges, the option to donate tickets, or a full refund. For more information, contact

Alcohol Disclaimer:

James Beard Foundation events permit guests age 21 years and older to attend events where alcoholic beverages are served. 

Dietary/Food Restrictions Policy:

Events at Platform by JBF are special one-night-only menus and we do not offer a la carte menus. If you have serious food allergies, we will work with the visiting chef team to do our best to accommodate but cannot guarantee that alternate options will be available for every course.

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