Meet Lord Maynard Llera, LA Filipino restaurant owner who won James Beard Award for best chef in CA

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Monday, June 24, 2024
Meet the owner of LA Filipino restaurant named best chef in California
Meet the man many are calling the best chef in California - Chef Lord Maynard of Kuya Lord won the James Beard honor this month.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles chef Lord Maynard Llera was awarded as the best chef in California by the James Beard Foundation.

Maynard owns Kuya Lord, a fast-casual Filipino restaurant located on Melrose.

Before opening Kuya Lord in 2022, Llera cooked at Bestia, an upscale Italian restaurant in the Arts District. He also ran a Filipino pop-up out of his home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was always his dream to have his own restaurant.

Llera moved to L.A. from the Philippines in 2004. Kuya Lord features dishes from the southern Tagalog region where he grew up.

"The menu is the story of my childhood food favorites," said Llera.

Thick slices of slow-roasted pork, golden garlic java rice, and chami noodles are some of the restaurant's many options. Meatless options, served with tofu, are also available.

"Finally, people are getting to know Filipino food," said Hollywood-based customer Manuel Dizon. "...It's about time we hear somebody with great talent to present Filipino food to that community."

"I feel like it tastes of home but elevated," said another customer.

The James Beard Awards, sometimes referred to as the "Oscars of Food," were established in 1990. The first award was given in 1991.

Winners receive a medallion, certificate and nationwide recognition.

"Hard work and perseverance really pays off. It means a lot because, you know, it represents us," said Llera. "... I made, you know, my country proud."