Filipino chef shares culture through cuisine at Villagefest during AAPI Heritage Month
May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
Filipino-American chef, Michelle Castillo, is sharing her culture through cuisine.
Growing up in Palm Springs, Castillo has been going to Villagefest for years.
“I grew up going to Villagefest since I was like 5-years-old. So I'm a second generation Palm Springs resident born and raised here," said Castillo.
Starting the first week of May, Castillo is officially part of the weekly street fair as owner of Lola’s Kusina.
“Lola's Kusina means grandmother's kitchen in Tagalog and we are cooking Filipino food with love and care," Castillo explained.
"It's so lovely to see all the different cultures and all the different cuisines and it means a lot. You know, I think it's important to be able to share Filipino cuisine and culture.”
Serving Filipino favorites, her menu is made up of family recipes that have been passed down for generations.
“I am not a classically trained chef, but it's as if they were passing the recipes to me as I was watching them in the kitchen. So it's like memory, legacy, oral tradition and storytelling.”
Officially becoming a vendor at Villagefest during Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, has been a big step for Castillo.
“We do not have a lot of Filipino eateries out here, maybe only four or five. So I think the more the better. And it's just it's important to take up space and have representation as well," she said.
It’s taken years of hard work to become a self-made chef, but Castillo is proud to share her filipino culture through food.
“Don't be afraid to fail. take up space. It's so important to take up space as a woman of color," she said. "I think it feels special to be able to share with the local community here and anyone who stopped by at Villagefest.”
Lola’s Kusina can be found among the dozens of vendors here at Villagefest every Thursday from 6pm-10pm.