Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Dale Talde Is the Future of Asian American Cuisine

It’s a clear summer day when Dale Talde begins filming his new television series. Standing in a picturesque garden, Talde surveys his surroundings. On a table in front of him is an array of culinary tools and to his side, a quiet grill, soon to be alive with the smoke of charring meat. When filming begins, he speaks naturally, explaining every step of the recipe in an effortless manner. As a former Top Chef alum and guest on countless food television shows (Chopped and Iron Chef America), Talde is a seasoned television professional. Filming a cooking show is just another day at the office for Talde.

Related Guides

Related Videos

All of this is featured on Talde’s new television project, All Up In My Grill (premiered on Tastemade on June 30). The show has a singular focus but a status challenging thesis. While each episode centers on the art of flame grilling, it isn’t a typical grilling show. Talde’s goal is to showcase the diversity of the common backyard grill beyond the standard menu of hot dogs and barbecue chicken. The mission of the show is to make grilling seamless, creative, and fun.

“With a little bit of creativity and imagination and push, you can transform your outdoor grill into just another extension of your indoor kitchen,” said Talde. “Anything you use in your normal kitchen, you should be using as equipment for your grill. You know those giant barbecue tongs and giant barbecue spatulas? That stuff is all garbage. If you want to cook well, cook with what you normally cook with — your normal spatula, tongs. Obviously, it has to be heat resistant. But that’s all going to help you cook on a regular grill.”

As a three-time contestant on Top Chef and successful restauranteur, Talde has a lot of culinary knowledge to share about grilling. But there’s also something interesting about the food featured in his new show. On the first episode of All Up In My Grill, he demonstrates a unique twist to the crowd-pleasing rib rack by infusing it with sweet and aromatic Chinese Char Siu flavors. Even the sliders Talde makes feature the unconventional addition of a flavored mayonnaise rich with Korean kimchi.

This style of cultural mixing is the key to Talde’s eccentric cooking style. Much of Talde’s food featured on the show and in his restaurants are a blend of international cultures and ingredients. Although his cooking style is heavily connected to his Filipino American upbringing in Chicago, he is also a vocal advocate of change and looking at authenticity through the lens of lived experiences instead of strictly tradition. Perhaps the best representation of Talde’s food philosophy is his cookbook, Asian-American. Here, Talde’s cooking is on full display with recipes such as Korean-style fried chicken with grapes and a McDonald’s-inspired apple pie made with frozen, packaged Indian roti as the crust. All of this food is described by Talde as being “proudly inauthentic.”

“You can’t help but be influenced by what’s around you,” said Talde. “I live in Chicago and I love tacos. There’s a reason why I love tacos. First of all, everyone loves tacos, but second, there’s a huge Mexican population (in Chicago) and amazing Mexican food all the time. So that naturally influenced my palate because I grew up eating it.”

Brian Ach/Getty Images for New York Magazine

This challenge to tradition and mixing of global techniques and ingredients is being practiced by many modern Asian American chefs. Fusion can be a dirty word in the culinary world, conjuring up images of messy, convoluted pan-Asian food peddled by corporate chain restaurants or celebrity chefs. But for Talde, combining different cultures and traditions can be fantastic — it just needs to originate from a framework of respect.

“The French chef who’s an Asiaphile, who dates only Asian women and puts lemongrass on his beurre blanc and calls it Asian food, that’s bulls–t,” said Talde. “That’s not it. There’s a lot of white chefs who do Asian food that have a real respect for it. Andy Ricker, the guy’s an authority on Thai food, he has a real respect for it. But those other chefs who’ve seen it on TV, never traveled there, don’t have a respect for it, that put chili in their beurre blanc or other classic French sauces and call it Asian fusion, that’s not real. There’s zero respect in that.”

This idea of change championed by Talde is not without its critics in the community, particularly among some older Asian Americans. For those in the older generation, many of whom proudly hold onto the concept of tradition and authenticity, changing time-honored recipes can be seen as disrespectful. “It’s the aunties generation. They’re the ones who are like ‘hey, this isn’t real Filipino food.’ I never said it was. And I’m not really fully Filipino and even if I was, you have to adapt,” said Talde.

Talde represents a generational shift to the idea of being an Asian American. Many younger Asian American chefs and food media professionals, like Talde, are the sons and daughters of immigrants. While the formative years of their parents were spent in Asia, second-generation individuals like Talde grew up in America surrounded by different experiences and cultures. For younger Asian Americans, the idea of creating a new identity centered on being authentically Asian American cannot be done without profound innovation. While Talde’s parents didn’t grow up with Mexican tacos or McDonalds, he did, and that taste memory is a direct influence on his cooking. For this new generation of culinary talent, this push for new heights of creativity is simply the next stage of Asian American culture.

“A lot of us are turning into our late thirties and forties,” said Talde. “We should be doing the things that we are doing, becoming entrepreneurs starting our own businesses, writing cookbooks, becoming executive chefs. It’s just natural.

Editors' Recommendations

A major change is coming to In-N-Out, and people have feelings
In-N-Out is expanding, and people are Double-Double excited about it
in n out is expanding east 4362007789 b397b0fce5 k

After years of excited whispers and rumors, it appears it's finally happening. The popular California fast food chain, In-N-Out, will open its first location east of the Mississippi. The catch? Apparently, it won't be happening until 2026. So don't start studying that secret menu just yet.

In-N-Out is celebrated, and sometimes nearly worshiped by what can best be described as a near-religious following. To be sure, the food is delicious, but the conviction of the restaurant's fanbase is intense, to say the least. Perhaps it's due to the refreshingly old-fashioned simple menu. Maybe it's the high standards of freshness the restaurant holds. It may also have something to do with every employee's somehow always authentic smiles and warmth. And there is something to be said about being "in-the-know" on that secret menu. Whatever the reason, the burgers are damned good, and the more people who can enjoy them, the better.

Read more
5 food and drink trends the experts wish would just go away
Food trends can be fun, but these are a few we're totally over
food and drink trends that should die in 2023 molecular gastronomy

We all love food trends. There's something exciting about being in on the fun and chatting knowingly about delicious newcomers like butter boards and cloud bread. Every now and then, it's good to jump on the bandwagon because you may find you love something you might not have otherwise tried if not for TikTok or Instagram. We're all for unique experiences and constantly learning and trying new things. Sometimes, though, these trends outstay their welcome. Sometimes, they just won't take the hint, which means it's time to drop the nice manners and scoot them out the door. We've chatted with some experts in the food world to find out which of these trends they're most eager to see go, and we have to admit — we couldn't agree more.

Molecular gastronomy
Marissa Johnson, professional event planner and founder of Inflatable Blast, says, "This trend has been around for a while, and it's time for it to go. We're all for experimentation in the kitchen, but some of the 'molecular' dishes we've seen look more like science experiments than food."

Read more
The best (and worst) stadium food in the US, ranked analyzed over 100,000 reviews to bring you the best and the worst foods at U.S. sports arenas
Baseball food — chili dog and chili fries.

The beginning of winter is a time for sports highlights. Baseball is in the midst of free agency, the NBA season features marquee matchups throughout the holidays, and the NFL is tilting toward the playoffs. Whether it’s in your hometown or an excursion on the road, heading to a sporting event is an iconic way to experience a locale. Sports stadiums like to show off local culture, and there are few better ways to do this than with stadium food.

M&R Glasgow
The best stadium food

Read more