2020 Rising Star Community Chefs Sāsha Coleman and Ellie Tiglao of Tanám

2020 Rising Star Community Chefs Sāsha Coleman and Ellie Tiglao of Tanám
August 2020

1 Bow Market Way #17
Somerville, MA 02143



Californian Ellie Tiglao adores bringing people together through food. Her parents, both Filipino immigrants, took her on regular trips to the Tagalog region, where she fell in love with Kamayan feasts. In 2003, Tiglao attended the University of California, Riverside, where she received degrees in art history and neuroscience in 2009. A research technology job at the Massachusetts General Hospital brought Tiglao to Boston in 2010. On the weekends, she would host Kamayan-inspired communal dinners, often featuring Senryu Taiko performances, Tiglao’s Japanese drumming group. These dinners shaped the Olio Culinary Collective, Tiglao’s community-focused co-op and catering company founded in 2013. 

While operating Olio, Tiglao began work as a program director at East Meets West bookstore and, in addition, started consulting for Jane Doe Inc. events in 2015. Committed to cooking full-time as a personal chef at McLean Hospital in Lincoln in 2016. Meanwhile, Tiglao and her brother, RJ, started Kulinarya, a dual coast pop-up dinner series in Boston and San Francisco featuring Filipinx-American cuisine. When a space opened up in Somerville's Bow Market, Tiglao saw the opportunity to give Olio and Kulinarya a permanent home with a new name, Tanám. She just needed a chef and business partner. 

Tiglao connected with Sāsha Coleman, who was raised in the restaurant industry. Coleman’s grandfather is a restaurateur, and her father is a chef. Throughout her adolescence, she worked in her family’s Connecticut restaurants. Coleman moved to Boston to join the line at SRV, and also took business courses and did catering on the side. When she met Tiglao, Coleman jumped at the chance to join the Tanám team. She had been searching for opportunities to learn about marginalized foods, and it was rare to see it done by a woman of color. After doing a few festivals and catering events with Tiglao, Coleman recognized the potential for growth. Tiglao, Coleman,  and Bar Director Kyisha Davenport opened Tanám in 2019, with Coleman as chef and kitchen manager. The intimate Filipinx-American restaurant is focused on culture, storytelling, and guest experience. In addition to their à la carte menu, they have biweekly 5-course storytelling dinners and kamayan “eat with your hands” feasts. The Infatuation named Tanám one of 2019’s “Best New Restaurants,” The Boston Globe named it “Concept of the Year,” and Eater Boston honored it with the title of “Restaurant of the Year.”