Pearl Steffie

I grew up on a small island in the Philippines, where fine dining was a foreign concept in our simple way of life. As the oldest child in a single-parent family, I always wanted to go abroad and support my three siblings. At first, I enrolled in Hotel and Restaurant Management, but I quickly discovered that my true passion lies in cooking. My grandpa was a chef who inspired me to pursue my culinary dreams. Determined to honor his legacy, I boldly pursued culinary studies in a the big city, leaving behind the familiarity of island life.

When I stepped into culinary school, I was introduced to a vast array of ingredients and techniques that were previously unknown to me. This ignited a newfound passion for exploration and learning, and “I want to cook for the world” became my mantra.

After graduation, I embarked on a journey to Miami and eventually to Beverly Hills, where I established myself in an industry that often presents challenges for women of color. Despite the stereotypes and biases that I faced, I refused to be sidelined. I relentlessly proved my worth and climbed the ranks, finally realizing my dream of owning @kusaki_la, a restaurant in Los Angeles.

Throughout my journey, the memory of my beloved grandfather has been with me. He passed away during the pandemic, and his absence left a void in my life. But I know he is watching over me and is proud of my strides. I grew up on a humble island and later moved to Los Angeles, where I became a part of the competitive culinary scene.

My story is a testament to the fact that even the most ambitious dreams can be realized with determination and passion. Despite my success, I have faced criticism for switching to plant-based cooking. However, being a great chef means having an open mind and being eager to learn more. Switching to plant-based cuisine has challenged my skills and made me more creative, adding an exciting dimension to my work that I embrace wholeheartedly.

What is your favorite street food?


Which restaurant or food stand do you recommend? (Different from yours) (Add its Instagram handle if possible)

Fiish Los Angeles

What is your guilty pleasure?

I can eat whole cake after a stressful day at work

What ingredient do you find overrated?


What ingredient do you think is underrated?

Citrus juices

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

Robot coupe

What is your worst kitchen nightmare?

When my dishwasher call in sick.

📷 @_tonybello