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Daily Inspiration: Meet Stacy Bareng

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacy Bareng.

Hi Stacy, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I hail from a Filipino immigrant family so food has always been a big part of my identity. I grew up in about 3 hours north of Los Angeles in Porterville, a small city with a big farming community. As a kid, I helped my grandma or “lola” in Ilocano grow organic vegetables, butcher animals and experiment with recipes in the kitchen. I knew that’s where I belonged.

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu of Culinary Arts with a specialization in French, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, I worked my way up in kitchens and honed skills such as mastering whole animal butchery, pasta making and more. I’ve had the fortune of working at alongside award-winning chefs like James Beard Nominated, Casey Lane at The Tasting Kitchen and two-star Michelin chef Josiah Citrin at Melisse.

Once the pandemic rocked our industry, I knew I had to think on my feet to survive. I went back to my roots and opened up “Tagalog Takeover”, a Filipino-fusion food pop-up. It was one of the most challenging periods of my life but has made me stronger than ever. I feel like I can tackle whatever life throws my way and am so excited for what the future holds.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The male-dominated culinary world is a challenge to any woman who dares demand a seat at the table. But also, being of Asian descent added an extra layer of struggle for me to be accepted as a chef of different cuisines. I, unfortunately have had work experiences where I was discriminated against because I didn’t look the part. I think we need to step away from the notion that your chef must be the ethnicity of the food they expertise in because you never know what talent you are overlooking. You also might be missing out on a killer meatball 😉 .

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My culinary friends tease me and call me “the food whisperer” because I can break down every ingredient in something with one taste- on my good days. I do feel like I have an understanding of food and think I’m most proud of my versatility. I love experimenting with different types of cuisines.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
When I started my food pop-up, I started reading “I am Filipino” by Nicole Ponseca & Miguel Trinidad. The whole book reminded me of my childhood and brought up memories of my lola and mom cooking the very same dishes. It warmed my heart and helped inspire me during the pandemic when we were all separated from our loved ones.

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