We began this journey in May of 2016 with the trademark of our “identity.” We then traveled to the Philippines to explore the land of our ancestry, and though we found the islands make up a part of who we are—they did not define us fully.
In the US they call us Filipino, in the Philippines, they call us American. We exist in this in-between of identities, always looking one way or the other. But on this long journey, we learned that we are the product of our parents’ struggles. The product of our creative adventurous parents, who left the Philippines to expand and grow their islands—to create their own culture and identity in this Pacific Northwest land that we call home. Together, along with so many others, our experiences have shaped this region. We and the land are synonymous. We are here and now, we are Filipino Americans.
“It is only when we have plenty to eat—plenty of everything—that we begin to understand what freedom means. To us, freedom is not an intangible thing. When we have enough to eat, then we are healthy enough to enjoy what we eat. Then we have the time and ability to read and think and discuss things. Then we are not merely living but also becoming a creative part of life.” - CarlosBulosan
Aaron is a Filipino American chef born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. After graduating from the University of Washington, Aaron attended the Seattle Culinary Academy while working in the Basque focused Spanish restaurant, The Harvest Vine. In 2010, Aaron then joined Intellectual Venture’s Modernist Cuisine team lead by Nathan Myrvohld, working as an R&D Chef for over five years. During his time with Modernist Cuisine, Aaron had the opportunity to travel to Paris to stage with Michelin-starred chef, David Toutain, as a means to understand the Modernist approach through the lens of French gastronomy.
Aaron has been engaged in the Filipino American community for many years and has been able to focus his activism in the food industry as a founder of ILAW: A Coalition of Filipino Food & Beverage Professionals in the Pacific Northwest. Established in 2017, Aaron and his ILAW colleagues work to empower Filipino-owned food and beverage businesses by providing opportunities for collaboration and promotion of Filipino cuisine.
Through Archipelago, Aaron has been able to marry his love for the craft of cooking with the flavors of his Filipino roots.
Amber is a Seattle-based artist and designer-restaurateur, focused on creating joyful and meaningful experiences. Graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in fine arts, Her work has been featured at the San Francisco Indie Film Festival, the Filipino American Film Festival and locally at SIFF. Amber has also spent the past ten years creating experiences for companies such as Nordstrom, Pokémon, and Mattel. She received an Honorable Mention from Fast Company’s Innovation By Design Awards for her work on Your Look. This award honors “a commitment to solving problems, no matter how big or small, as simply and as beautifully as possible.”
Amber has been a vocal advocate of under-represented communities, with a focus on empowering Filipino Americans. As an active volunteer for the Seattle's Filipino American community, she uses her professional skills and experience to encourage others to “dream big.” Amber regularly works with local organizations such as ILAW: A Coalition of Filipino Food & Beverage Professionals in the Pacific Northwest, the Filipino Community of Seattle's STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math) Youth Program, the Seattle Asian American Film Festival, Kalsada Coffee, and Pista sa Nayan, Seattle’s annual festival celebrating Filipino culture.
At Archipelago, Amber is excited to finally merge her professional skills and passion for Filipino American history, while honoring her family and exploring the beauty, creativity, and resourcefulness of her culture.