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Filipino-American Chef Wins 2024 Best Chef In California Award

Lord Llera Wins James Beard Award
Lord Maynard Llera, a leading figure in Los Angeles’ Filipino food revolution, has achieved national recognition. The Owner and Chef of the acclaimed Kuya Lord has been honored with the 2024 James Beard Award for Best Chef in California.

This prestigious accolade, often dubbed the “Oscars of the Food World,” celebrates culinary excellence across the United States, marking a significant milestone for Llera and Filipino cuisine.

The Journey of Kuya Lord

Lord Llera Wins James Beard Award

Kuya Lord’s story is as inspiring as its cuisine. It all began in 2019 with a humble pop-up where Llera showcased his unique take on Filipino flavors through innovative dishes like the now-famous Longganisa Sandwich. The pop-up’s overwhelming success, amplified by social media buzz, drove Llera to adapt his garage into a temporary kitchen during the pandemic.

This period of intense dedication and passion led to the establishment of a permanent 21-seater restaurant on Melrose Avenue. Kuya Lord has since earned accolades from prominent publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Eater, and Bon Appetit.

Llera’s menu is a vibrant tapestry of flavors, drawing deeply from his Lucena City roots while incorporating techniques refined during his culinary journey in the US. The result is a celebration of Filipino heritage with a modern twist, presenting traditional dishes in a contemporary and captivating manner. Each plate at Kuya Lord sings with vibrant flavors, offering a fresh perspective on Filipino cuisine.

Lord Llera Wins James Beard Award

Winning the James Beard Award is not only a personal triumph for Llera but also a monumental moment for Filipino food. For years, Filipino cuisine has been underrepresented in the global culinary arena. Moreover, Llera’s achievement shines a spotlight on the beauty and complexity of Filipino flavors, inspiring a newfound appreciation and respect for this rich culinary tradition.

With the James Beard Award now under his belt, Llera’s future looks even brighter. This recognition sets the stage for greater achievements and broader horizons. One thing remains certain: Llera’s unwavering dedication to showcasing Filipino food with heart and soul will continue to draw crowds and redefine the culinary landscape in California.

Additionally, as Kuya Lord moves forward, it promises to remain a beacon of Filipino culinary excellence, inspiring chefs and food enthusiasts alike to explore and celebrate the rich flavors of Filipino cuisine.


The journey of Lord Maynard Llera from a small pop-up until he wins the prestigious James Beard Award signifies more than just personal success. It highlights the potential and richness of Filipino cuisine, urging the world to recognize and appreciate its depth and diversity.

Furthermore, Llera’s story teaches us the importance of passion, resilience, and staying true to one’s roots. For Filipinos, this achievement is a source of immense pride, showcasing the global potential of our culinary traditions. It signifies that with dedication and creativity, Filipino cuisine can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world, inspiring future generations to continue exploring and innovating within this rich culinary heritage.


Read Also: Filipino-American Chef Showcase Filipino Cuisine at ‘Platform’ by James Beard Foundation


Written by Marjo Piedad

Traveler | Foodie | CONTENT EDITOR
📍Cebu, Philippines
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