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brief biography
kingChef King Phojanakong is a native New Yorker who was born and raised in Manhattan. His early culinary influences began at home with the inspirational cooking of his Filipino mother and Thai father. Spending summers in the Philippines throughout high school furthered his interest in the culinary world and instilled the importance of community and culture. His experiences there introduced him to a celebratory, engaging style of dining, that has greatly shaped his own cooking.

Chef King received his formal culinary education from the esteemed Culinary Institute of America, and graduated in 1998. He was elected group leader of his class and graduated dean's list.

Chef King went on to train under Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniel and David Bouley at Bouley Bakery and the Danube where he sharpened his classical training and knowledge of the craft. Other New York kitchens where Chef King has worked include: Jean-Georges, The Grocery, and Cendrillon. He was co-executive chef at Beekman Kitchen in New York and executive chef at Fatapples in El Cerrito, California before venturing on his own. Since opening Kuma Inn, Chef King along with long time friend and colleague Soulayphet Schwader opened Talay in West Harlem in May 2008. Ready to tackle a new project, Chef King and Co-Chef Soulayphet have moved on to Clinton Hill, Brooklyn to open Umi Nom restaurant.

Chef King has always been involved with food, music and the environment. Prior to pursuing his culinary career, Chef King was an energy engineer involved in a weatherization program that made New York City a greener place to live. He also used to Dj weekly at clubs in New York and Berlin. He is also an avid guitar player jamming with a local latin jazz band in Brooklyn whenever he has the time.

In May of 2003, the chef opened Kuma Inn on the second floor of a Lower East Side tenement in New York. Chef King brings all his experiences together, including the flavors he grew up with, to the community dining style from the Philippines, his education with some of the world's best chefs, and exposure to the freshest ingredients to offer a unique dining experience. Within the first year, Kuma Inn was rated "one of the city's best places to eat 2004" by New York Magazine. The New York Times wrote, "It is Filipino mama food and fantastic." King has received numerous accolades from various premier publications.

 
Kuma Inn
113 Ludlow St., 2nd fl., New York, New York 10002
tel. 212.353.8866
www.kumainn.com
kumainn@hotmail.com
 
umiNOM
433 DeKalb Ave., Brooklyn, New York 11205
tel. 718.789.8806
www.uminom.com
info@uminom.com
 
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reviews
in local, national, and international publications and websites including:
The New York Times:
Dining: The Price Isn't the Only Thrill, Dec 10, 2008
Dining Out: When The Sour Note Is Just Right, July 12, 2006
The NYT Magazine, Free Ranging: Pickled Mango Recipe, Aug. 7, 2005
Good Eating/Lower East Side: Walk On The Mild Side, June 26, 2005
Good Eating/When Less Is More, Nov. 7, 2004
$25 and Under: Asian American Chef Makes Tapas His, Oct. 20, 2004
New York Magazine:
Restaurants 2006, 50 Favorite Restaurants Under $30, 2006
In Season: King Phojanakong's, Thai Chile Lime Sauce, Oct. 3, 2005
Best of New York, Dream Meals, March 14-21, 2005
Where to Eat 2004, Jan 5, 2004
Best Small Plates, Dec. 8, 2003
The Underground Gourmet: Tapas This, Sept 15, 2003
Cheap Eats NYC 2003: 100 Under $25, July 28, 2003
Michelin Guide 2008, 2009 Recommended
Zagat Survey 2005, 24 food rating; 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
Time Out New York, Eating and Drinking Guide 2004, 2005 & 2008 Editor's Choice
Departures, Eating Small in New York, Nov/Dec 2008
edible MANHATTAN, Chinatown Royalty, Jan/Feb 2009
plate, Menu Spotlight: Pucker Up, Jan/Feb 2009
New York Blade, Philippine Fusion, Sept 3, 2004
New York Post, Kuma Right In, For Goodness Sake, Aug 6, 2003
Generation Rice, Talk with Chef King Phojanakong, July 2003
Daily News, Bites: Where To Go Ape For Year Of The Monkey, Jan 16, 2004
Picky's, Choice Meal: Kuma Inn, Dec 2004
Filipinas Magazine:
When Adobo Calls To Me, Dec 2003
Expat's Kitchen: Small Plates, Huge Flavors, August 2006
IN New York:
Prepare to Feast, Oct. 2005
Off the Beaten Path, Dec 2004
F&B World, Pinoys in New York, Nov-Dec 2003
Strongfood, Andrea Strong Reviews Kuma Inn, Nov 21, 2004
Voices of Lower Manhattan, Stepping into the Markets of Chinatown: Train to be a Chef... or Just Shop Like One, Sept 22, 2003
INQ7 Global Nation, Yes, it's a 3-Star Pinoy Restaurant in New York, Nov 2004
Wine & Spirits, Tasting Flights to Asia, Small Plates and Sake, Feb 2005
Asian Food and Lifestyle, A Walk on the Asian Side in Lower Manhattan, Vol.7, May/June 2005
Foodservice, Small Plates Provide Multiple Menu Choices, Aug. 2005
Philippine News, Fil-Thai Chef Takes On Tapas, June 22, 2005
Filipino Reporter, Michelob Honors Asian American Chefs With 2006 Calendar, March 17-23, 2006
Food, King Of The Kitchen, May 2006
AsianWeek, Wrapping Taste Buds Around King's Ribs, May 26-June 1, 2006
Philippine Daily Inquirer, More Pinoy Hot Stops In NYC, July 30, 2006
Audrey, Looking for Lumpia, October/November 2006
Altra, Bites of the Big Apple, Spring/Summer 2007
 
featured chef
on television and radio productions including:
Channel 7 Eyewitness News (ABC)
The Morning Show (WB11)
Eat Out NY (NYCTV/NBC)
Yahoo Television Commercial (Network and Cable)
Good Morning America, assisted Jacques Pepin and Emeril Lagasse (ABC)
Balitang America (ABS-CBN)
Martha Stewart Living Radio (Sirius)
Chopped (Food TV)
Selling New York (HGTV)
Rocco's Dinner Party (Bravo)
Food(ography) (Cooking Channel)
Mike Colameco's Real Food (PBS)
Adobo Nation (ABS-CBN)
 
guest chef appearances
Whole Foods Market
Best Cellars
Chef's Central
James Beard House
De Gustibus
 
charity donor
for national and international organizations including:
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
AmfAR: The American Foundation for AIDS Research
Action Against Hunger / Restaurants Against Hunger
yKAn: Young Korean American Network
Grand Street Settlement / Taste of the LES
Share our Strength
Healthy Kids
City Harvest
Asian Chefs Association
Restaurants for Relief: Hurricane Katrina
Food Bank for New York City
AIWF Spoons Across America
Project TAP
Village Voice Choice Eats
James Beard Foundation Greens
 
cook book
contributing chef for:
New Asian Cuisine, Fabulous Recipes from Celebrity Chefs, Wendy Chan and Grace Niwa, International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association, 2006