UO Interviews: Irvi Torremoro

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This month we partnered with SALO Series in collaboration with Flavor & Bounty to present a Balikbayan Filipino Feast at Space Ninety 8.

We sat down with Irvi Torremoro of Flavor & Bounty to talk about life as a food culture journalist and what projects she has on the horizon for the coming year.

Can you introduce yourself please: tell us more about who you are, where you’re from, and what you do? 
I’m Irvianne Torremoro of Flavor & Bounty. I’m from Austin, Texas, working in the restaurant industry with a focus as a food and lifestyle blogger, intent on telling the stories of those in the food and service industry.

How did you choose to make the switch from working in the restaurant industry to starting Flavor & Bounty?
Though the decision to fully pursue blogging and food journalism was always in the back of my mind since graduating culinary school in 2007, it didn’t come to fruition until the summer of 2015 on a trip to New York. This trip wasn’t my first to the city but it’s the one that planted the seed, after having met so many different people pursuing all sorts of creative endeavors. I immediately took the momentum that built up and changed my major to journalism, with a focus on food culture.

What do you love most about what you do?
Being able to share other people’s stories is what I love most, along with collaborating and networking with various creatives in the field.

How did you meet Yana of Salo Series? What inspired you to collaborate on a pop-up dining experience?
I met Yana at one of her Salo Series popup dinners while she was in Houston (I’d been following her on social media for quite some time before then). It was Memorial Day weekend and she had one last dinner before she took off to Mexico, so I convinced two of my best friends to drive from Austin to Houston for it.

The food and experience reminded me of home but with a twist, it was refreshing to see what she was doing with traditional Filipino foods from different regions. Kamayan-style dining is all about community and building relationships, factors that helped catapult my love of the food industry. After dinner, Yana individually talked to every single person that attended dinner, and we just hit it off. My friend and fellow creative, Moyo Oyelola, suggested that we collaborate in Austin. It just clicked with us and a month later, we did our first collaborative dinner last June.

How do you decide whom you feature on your blog?
Having been in the food and beverage industry since I was 19, I’ve built friendships with a variety of characters of the years. Most of whom I’ve reached out to are either friends or people I admire (and soon to be friends, because I charm them into being lifelong buds, to be honest). Though I have plenty of friends that are chefs and in the kitchen, I wanted to be able to feature those all over the industry: sommeliers, cheesemongers, bakers, farmers, etc.

What projects do you have on the horizon for 2017? Do you have any new goals for the year?
More popup dinners! I’ve been in talks with a friend of mine, Nicolai McCrary, and our concept of an interactive popup dinner experience. I also want to expand the blog to eventually include videos, for a more behind the scenes opportunity into food and beverage. I want to continuously work with people that want to collaborate because building relationships over these efforts turns into more opportunities for everyone involved.

Tell us about what inspires you. How do you find new inspiration? 
I’m constantly inspired by anything and everything in the kitchen, from new food trends to learning about old school methods of cooking. Whenever I feel stuck in a rut, I bake because it reminds me of helping my grandmother out in the kitchen when I was younger. That’s where my love of food came from and it’s always nice to revisit old recipes and discover new ones. Also, at times, I’ll grab Larousse’s Gastronomique (basically the food bible of all food bibles), close my eyes and open to a random page and read about a food term that I know nothing about. Then I fully immerse myself in it and rewrite its definition in my own terms.

What’s your favorite city for food?
Los Angeles, always and forever. I spent ten years on the West Coast, went to culinary school in Las Vegas, and made constant trips to Los Angeles to see my grandmother. There is no other food scene more diverse than L.A., in my opinion. You can go from old school Filipino, to Oaxacan (shout out to La Guelguetza and David, the bartender who made this past birthday a wonderful blur full of Mezcal), to Jessica Koslow’s much-deserved and hyped Sqirl, back to amazing dim sum at Din Tai Fung.

What are your favorite food spots in Austin?
Breakfast tacos are basically a religion (as well as the best hangover cure) in Austin and I swear by Veracruz All Natural Tacos. Every time I come back from a trip, I head straight to their trailer on East Cesar Chavez to grab a couple tacos and aguas frescas. For ramen and izakaya, Ramen Tatsu-ya and Kemuri Tatsu-ya, are the best in the business, with their food rivaling Japanese spots in Los Angeles and New York.  

What are your favorite food spots in Brooklyn?
Oh, Brooklyn food spots! Roberta’s, be still my heart, they had a popup event at Bufalina (another equally amazing Austin pizza spot) last year and I went ALL FOUR days. That’s how much I love Roberta’s and I always make a point to stop by whenever I’m in town. Vanessa’s too, for the cheap and delicious dumplings. For oysters and nostalgia, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Maison Premiere.

Join us for the Salo Series Balikbayan Filipino Feast on Friday, February 17th at 7:30PM. Tickets available at Eatfeastly.com/Salo.

Follow Irvi on Instagram

Photos: Cristina Fisher