Prior to his Workshop debut in November, Cagalanan worked with Janice Hudgins from Little Miss Ha, Kaitz Holbrook from Desayuno, and Brandon Olson from Jackrabbit Filly (just to name a few).
Moving forward at Workshop, the Filipino-born chef is planning several of these dinners starting with a Filipino and Korean yakitori pop-up with Butcher and Bee chef de cuisine Alison Cates. The a la carte dinner takes place this Fri. Dec. 13 starting at 5 p.m., with menu items like kimbop (kimchi rice and pork belly), tocino (marinated pork), Korean wings with sticky spicy sauce, and hodduk (sweet fry bread). Merrow's Garden Bar provides the libations.
- Nikko Cagalanan
Cagalanan met Cates and her husband Sam Chong at the Friends of Abaco Benefit dinner earlier this fall. They began discussing collab ideas and eventually landed on a street food-inspired offering featuring a mashup of Filipino and Korean creations. The rising chefs felt like a Yakitori-style meal would be a more exciting way to engage customers who might be trying certain dishes for the first time.
Cates is the chef de cuisine at Butcher and Bee, but she also has an interest in Korean street food originating from her time in Washington, D.C., when she lived in a Korean neighborhood. Upon relocating to Chicago, Cates worked at restaurants like Longman & Eagle and Perennial Virant, and began to frequent a Korean barbecue spot called San Soo Gab San with other young line cooks. Cates shares this interest with her husband Sam (a line cook at Butcher and Bee), who is first generation Korean, and they hope to someday open a small, late-night Korean spot.
Cagalanan and Cates want guests to try multiple dishes, so most of the menu items will be priced at $5 or $6. Yakitori preparation most commonly features skewered meats, but both chefs are also creating some veg choices.