Meet The Chefs
South East Asian Fusion
Jolorene brings creative dishes, fusion cuisine, unique ingredients, and a joyful personality to our space. Cooking for her is a family tradition. Growing up, she remembers playing chef and running around in her parent’s restaurant. That DNA and her experience working in multiple Japanese restaurants influenced her to cook and serve others.
We are excited to welcome Jolorene into our space, and we wish her a successful transition!
We spoke to Jolorene about her background, her influences, and what she will be offering at Spice Bridge. Read our Q&A to learn more about Jolorene.
How did you learn how to cook?
I’m self-taught. I also grew up in a restaurant. My family owned a restaurant and sold it when I was 5. As much as my family influenced my career choice, I feel like there’s always been a connection for me. I also have a background in Japanese cuisine; I kind of radiated towards it throughout my career because it’s something that I enjoyed.
Tell us about your background?
So I grew up here in Seattle. My family is from the Philippines. Pretty much since I was a kid, I was surrounded by my aunts and my parents cooking in the kitchen. It influenced me to be in the kitchen, too, even though they didn’t really teach me how to cook the dishes. I kind of learned on my own.
I also worked in restaurants throughout my career. Working in many Japanese restaurants is where I got a lot of my skills in sushi, which is what I showcased during the pandemic. I feel like, through all this experience, I have connected to my culture and my heritage.
What’s Jolorene’s Kitchen cuisine, and what kind of food you’ll be offering?
Many of the concepts I have behind Jolorene’s kitchen are my cultural background of being Filipino and my husband’s Cambodian-Viet background. So I’m fuzing the three of those backgrounds into something new and something that I can showcase in a new, innovative way.
During the pandemic, I started a catering business. I got laid off at both jobs, and I didn’t really know what I would do. So this just fell in my lap as a happy accident. Sushi was what everyone wanted during that time because restaurants were closed and whatnot.
So sushi has been in high demand since I started. But I feel like this is my opportunity now to grow my menu and show what else I can do. So I do want to fuze my culture by doing Filipino sandwiches or a twist on a Bahn Mi with some Filipino meat, sliders, and some tacos. I won’t be only focusing on just Filipino food. I want to welcome other backgrounds to my kitchen; anything that’s inspired by my travels, things that I’ve tried in L.A. or New York, things that aren’t really here in Seattle.
How did you hear about the Food Incubator Program?
I think it was just kind of word of mouth, and an article showed up, and I read into it more. It felt like something that I needed to be a part of. I was looking for the next step for me, and I felt like I was at a standstill. I wanted to grow more in my business. So I thought that this was the best opportunity for me to grasp that and try to move forward in my business.
It’s great that I will be able to work in a bigger kitchen to reach more masses. And as far as business and growing, from here I feel like this is just the next step and a leap toward where I want to be eventually.
I’m excited to serve everyone. I’m hoping that you people will visit me up Spice Bridge. I’m excited to put out a menu that you’ve never tried before—I am also excited to be bringing back sushi that everyone loves. So hopefully, everyone can visit here and see what I have in store.