Restaurant Eve chef de cuisine Paolo Dungca, a semifinalist for Eater Young Guns 2017, and Thip Khao chef Bobby Pradachith, a Young Guns semifinalist last year, are joining forces for a pop-dinner marrying their native Filipino and Lao cuisines.
While both chefs are veterans of the pop-up circuit, the dinner they’ve lined up on Sunday, July 2 at the Dolcezza factory (550 Penn Street NE) marks their first collaborative effort. “We’re both young chefs trying to make a name for ourselves,” Pradachith told Eater. That branding effort does not, apparently, extend to coming up with a super catchy tagline for the multi-course meal (see full menu below) they plan to serve guests; the dinner has simply been dubbed “Bobby and Paolo at the Dolcezza Factory.”
Pradachith said the dinner includes a combination of snacks, individual courses and family-style service. Dungca told Eater he came up with the idea for the main event, stuffed porchetta, while eating herb-laced laab at Thip Khao — a strikingly minty composition he figured would complement a modified lechon. “I thought it was a good take on fusing the two cultures together,” he said. Pradachith agrees, citing the Kamayan feast as the most exciting part of the program. Pradachith said they’re using suckling pig to produce the laab-stuffed pork, plan to fry the entire head (think; crispy pig’s ears), and will accompany it all with pickled vegetables, bone broth, and purple rice salad. Dunga said there’ll be multiple sauces available (pork blood, fish, pork liver, tamarind), and is most excited about having guests eat with their hands.
Both chefs left the door open to working together in the future (“We definitely like to collaborate,” Dungca said), but may not get to do so in the near term. Dungca said he plans to focus on getting everything in place for Kaliwa, the Asian restaurant his employer is installing at The Wharf in D.C. this fall, while Pradachith expressed a desire to dial things back a bit.
“It’ll be the last pop-up for a long time,” Pradachith said.
Tickets to the dinner, which is scheduled to take place from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on July 2, are $85 per person.