In celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, we’re honoring the unique stories, experiences, and traditions that make up the many layers of our community. Miguel Buencamino was born in Manila, Philippines, raised in Orlando, FL and currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina. He is a former Charleston Wine + Food Brand Ambassador and member of our festival Street Team. His Company, Holy City Handcraft, constitutes a collection of engaging stories and stunning photography + video content highlighting the Lowcountry lifestyle with a strong focus on drink + cocktail culture, while also incorporating food, men’s fashion, travel, and local event coverage.
Who taught you to cook and how do you honor them?
My two Filipino grandmothers (Lola and Nanay)! They taught me the basics of cooking when I was really young, I remember being in the kitchen with them when I still lived in the Philippines, I was maybe around six years old. They taught me separately but I learned everything from cooking techniques to being able to develop recipes on my own. I give them all the credit for my skills in the kitchen and my palate for food (and drinks!).
How has food influenced you as a person?
Filipino culture has always been centered around family… and what brings family together more than food? Food has played a large part in my life personally and professionally. My business (Holy City Handcraft) started as a cooking blog and has since evolved into what it is now. In my household, I cook about 95% of the time for my family and I enjoy every second of it. I truly believe there is an innate sense of love in being able to cook good food to nourish someone.
How do you celebrate your heritage through food?
For CHSWF this year, I teamed up with Pink Bellies and Andy Ricker (formerly of Pok Pok) to create five cocktails inspired by my Filipino heritage to pair with their VERY Southeast-Asian menu. I drew recipe and flavor inspiration from desserts that my Filipino grandmothers taught me how to make very early on. It was an honor for me to be able to share them with some new friends and an incredibly talented team that day, I like to think Lola and Nanay were with me that night and guiding me every step of the way with smiles on their faces.