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Pink Salt

What a crazy spring it has been.  I’m beyond speechless and so moved from the memories that you guys have shared of my cooking. It has always been a dream of mine to open a restaurant and its hard to believe that it came true.

Around February of last year, I found myself in a very dark headspace. I was 30 and not doing the things I loved in the capacity I wanted to. I felt strained from the things in my own life that I thought were out of my control.  On a whim and need of a change, I sublet an empty apartment in Manhattan (Thank you Sisi!). The next week, I packed up what I could fit in a suitcase and left.

For several weeks, I lived out of an empty apartment on an inflatable mattress.  I removed myself from the responsibilities that I thought held me down and focused on putting myself first. I listened to audiobooks to no end, read voraciously, and got back into boxing. I removed myself from my own cooking and let myself wander markets, ethnic neighborhoods, and long standing mom and pop establishments.

In that time and in need of a creative outlet, I drafted the plan for what would become Hi Palita and extremely wishfully, I wrote one last thing: Open a restaurant.  

My entire life I cooked. I learned how to cook from my grandma. She died suddenly when I turned six. She was the core of my family and our home life after was never quite the same. For years, I racked my brain for memories of the dishes she let me help with. As I got older, I learned from extended family and close friends the dishes she would make. Her cooking had touched all of them. 

I launched Hi Palita last year on March 3rd, the day that would have been my grandma’s 93rd birthday. And on March 3rd this year, I signed my acceptance into this Galley Group’s restaurant incubator.  I was chosen out of 40 chefs. I am the only one selected that has never served as an Executive. I know I’m very green and in many (possibly all) ways and I have not earned my stripes, but I know this is just the beginning.

Pink Salt to me is the intersection of rebellious femininity and coarse grit. Some of the prettiest things come from the hardest times. Do something that scares you every day. You might be surprised of the outcome. There are plenty of people to support you, more than you could have ever imagined.

Shot by JP Calaquib

Shot by JP Calaquib