These locals are semifinalists for Eater’s ‘Young Guns’ award

A Filipino-style mac and cheese with lobster, avocado, and chicharron from a pop-up at Cafenation run by brother-sister team RJ and Ellie Tiglao. —Michelle McDonald for the Boston Globe

Two locals who are just getting their start in the restaurant industry were named semifinalists for Eater’s “Young Guns” award Thursday.

The nationwide award honors “front- and back-of-house rising stars who are early in their careers but already exhibit the drive, ambition, thought, and care necessary to take on the restaurant world,” according to Eater. More specifically, nominees must either be under the age of 30 or have spent fewer than five years working in the restaurant industry.

Of the 50 semifinalists, two are based in Boston: Ellie Taglao and Judy Yao.

According to Eater, Tiglao, 33, is a former neuroscientist who opened her first pop-up in 2014. She has since opened other pop-ups with her brother, RJ, and founded the Olio Culinary Collective, a co-op “dedicated to sustainable sourcing, workplace fairness and a celebration of food as culture.” She also will serve as the chef of Tanán, a Filipino-American restaurant set to open soon at Bow Market in Somerville.


According to her LinkedIn bio, Yao, 26, is a butcher’s apprentice at the acclaimed butcher shop Savenor’s Market. Born and raised in Taiwan, she arrived in the U.S. as a teenager.

Finalists for the Young Guns award will be announced next month, according to Eater.