Juana Manahan-Yupangco: A Culinary Journey Beyond Conventional Boundaries


Juana Manahan-Yupangco, a culinary enthusiast, has carved her own unique path in the world of cooking, propelled by her passion and love for food. From her early days as a child baking cookies with her sister to her present-day culinary adventures, Manahan-Yupangco’s journey has been characterized by a fearless exploration of flavors and a creative approach to cooking. While she never adhered to traditional norms or formal instructions, her intuitive and experimental nature has allowed her to develop her culinary skills and create dishes that bring joy to those around her.

An Early Discovery and Curiosity for Flavors:

Manahan-Yupangco’s culinary journey began during her childhood when she and her sister would bake cookies and sell them to their father, who would share them with his colleagues at the office. This early exposure to the kitchen ignited her curiosity and appreciation for different flavors. Even without formal instruction or cookbooks, she relied on her innate love for food and her imagination to create unique dishes. Experimentation became her compass as she combined ingredients and executed her culinary ideas with the curiosity and fearlessness of a child.

Unconventional Approaches and Creative Expression:

Throughout her culinary adventures, Manahan-Yupangco has never been confined to the conventional or the “correct” way of cooking. She embraces a freethinking and imaginative approach that allows her to push the boundaries of creativity. In our conversation, she shared an amusing anecdote of making sinigang (a traditional Filipino sour soup) in her coffee maker due to a lack of a pot. While not recommending such unconventional practices, it exemplifies her willingness to think outside the box and find solutions in unexpected places.

The Joy of Cooking for Others:

Manahan-Yupangco finds great fulfillment in cooking for her loved ones and others. For her, the act of preparing a meal is a language of love, an expression of care and affection. Witnessing the delight on the faces of her family or those who taste her creations brings her immense joy. Cooking becomes a conduit through which she shares her passion and nurtures the connections she values. The pleasure she derives from cooking for others is a testament to her genuine love for the culinary arts and the gratification it brings.

Beyond the Kitchen: A Culinary Journey of Self-Discovery:

Juana Manahan-Yupangco’s culinary journey extends beyond the confines of her kitchen. It is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth, marked by continuous exploration and learning. Her lack of formal training has not hindered her progress; instead, it has fueled her creativity and allowed her to develop a distinctive style. With each dish she creates, she further hones her skills, expanding her repertoire and embracing new culinary experiences. Her culinary journey is a testament to the power of passion and intuition in driving personal growth and achieving excellence.


Juana Manahan-Yupangco’s culinary journey is a testament to the transformative power of passion and creativity in the realm of cooking. From her early days of baking cookies as a child to her present-day culinary explorations, she has embraced an unconventional approach to flavor and technique.

Her fearlessness in experimenting with ingredients and techniques has shaped her unique culinary style. Through her love for food and the joy it brings others, Manahan-Yupangco has found her own language of expression, connecting with her loved ones and igniting culinary adventures that continue to inspire and delight. Her journey serves as a reminder that true artistry knows no boundaries and that the joy of cooking lies in the freedom.

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