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Editorial

• " She was once embedded in fine-dining kitchens, notably as Josef Centeno’s pastry chef at Orsa & Winston, but today Fabro is much harder to categorize. Recently she was in the spotlight at Far East Plaza’s incubator restaurant Unit 120, where Fabro unleashed a series of Filipino-inflected desserts: donut-like malas with coconut syrup and sea salt, flaky pastries filled with cheese and purple yam, fancier plated courses at some Unit 120 dinners. She’s even attracted crowds with burgers and Detroit-style pizza."  -Eddie Kim LA Downtown News

• " Every time I’ve written about Centeno’s restaurants over the years, I’ve always had one nagging complaint: The desserts have never lived up to whatever preceded them. Happily, here, just when you think you can’t eat another bite, some of the best dishes of the night start to arrive: a spoonful of hand-chipped pomegranate granita with shaved green apple, a plum crostata so hot you’ll have to blow on it, a cheesecake made with cloud-like housemade ricotta, or a deliciously clever riff on the flavors of tiramisu. Pastry chef Isa Fabro previously worked at Hatfield’s, and she is unquestionably an important rising star on the local scene."  -Brad A. Johnson OC Register

• " Pastry chef Isa Fabro, who came over from Hatfield’s, is up to the challenge of following such inventiveness by seeking to shade rather than outshine. A brittle-crusted chocolate tart, decked with caramelized bananas, keeps things light. In her hands crostata can be pear and huckleberry with brown butter streusel in a Le Creuset baking dish or a flaky puck moist with greengage plums, a variety that’s at its peak for about two weeks. I can’t see a preparation so responsive to the seasons without thinking of it as the very opposite of those ossified tasting menus of the 1980s."  -Patric Kuh LA Mag

• "...hush-hush 'Project Pizza' nights throughout the week. On weekends, acclaimed pastry chef Isa Fabro hawks her mango sago pudding (a tapioca pudding with mango curd, Thai basil, and black caramel), Filipino-inspired halo halo and coconut malas, and her namesake 'Isa Puffs' and 'Isamadas.'"  -Hillary Eaton Munchies Vice

• " If you’re passing through Chinatown’s Far East Plaza at dawn, don’t be surprised if you hear Mahler or Led Zeppelin blasting from the window of Unit 120. 'I tend to not work with music while I’m prepping. But sometimes it can be really great just to rock out and start dancing and jump off the table,' says Isa Fabro, nudging hip dark-rimmed glasses back up onto the bridge of her nose. This morning, the driven, funny chef is making pastries. Specifically, Isamadas, a nod to her name and to ensaïmadas, the Filipino brioches that are filled with purple ube and topped with sweet cheese. They are a mash-up, she says, of the ensaïmada and the French Breton kouign-amanns. Savory, sweet, rich, flaky and very good."  -Abbie Fentress-Swanson KCRW Good Food

• " We are connected to our cultures through food. It runs deeper than language, religion, geography, and it is in our willingness, pride and excitement that we share the food we create, simply because it is delicious and good. If we take this uncomplicated approach of openness to understand, to try and break bread and share a meal with each other, then it is a start. This has been the cultural patchwork of Los Angeles. If only the rest of the nation would eat tlayudakinilaw, kimchi, sujuk and injera with us, the world would be on its way to becoming a better place."  -As interviewed by Katherine Spiers LA Weekly

• " And there’s something vaguely nostalgic about the shape and thickness of the dough — a seriously elevated version of the pizza you may have been served in a school cafeteria...And Fabro says she spent a week perfecting the dough, which is soft and chewy in the middle with a crisp, golden brown bottom you can peel off and eat on its own. She’s also making her own ranch dressing with hand-chopped herbs. Order a side, or maybe two."  -Jenn Harris LA TIMES

• " One of the best thing about this year has also been the ability to bring my food to a wider audience. I've mainly worked in fine dining, which means most of my menus have been at a higher price point that not everyone has been able to afford. Working out of Unit 120 means I can bring guests the same quality and technique I've applied in my past kitchens at a price point that everyone can afford. If you want to advance culture through food, you need to include everyone, and not just a select few. In short, well-crafted, delicious food should be available and experienced by everyone; people shouldn't be excluded simply because of their economic means."  -As interviewed by Danny Jensen THRILLIST

• "This is the Filipino food moment — I think we can all agree on that. Restaurants such as Lasa, Irenia and Washington, D.C.’s Bad Saint have become media stars in a way that no Filipino restaurants in America have before, and The Times has been running more Filipino recipes than Korean or Thai lately. If you read this column, you’ve been hearing a lot about chefs like Chad Valencia, Charles Olalia, Ryan Garlitos and Isa Fabro."  - Jonathan Gold LA TIMES

• " It was a great idea to showcase that specific type of food because it is such a big part of Filipino cuisine,” Fabro told the Asian Journal. 'The Philippines has a longstanding baking and dessert tradition that is centuries old. People just don’t know about it [and] are more familiar with baking traditions of Europe. The desserts we are making now draw from those [Filipino] traditions while combining our unique experiences as cooks and chefs.'" -Christina Oriel Asian Journal

• "That mash-up of Filipino flavors and classical pastry techniques is as specific to Fabro's desserts as fingerprints. A pastry called an isamada is a personalized hybrid of an ensaïmada, a Filipino brioche filled with ube (purple yam) and the Breton kouign-amann. Her coconut malas are doughnuts that form a lineage with the Portuguese doughnuts malasadas and the Filipino sweet rice balls carioca. Tiny pies are made with fresh and caramelized bananas, a whip of condensed milk and latik, a Filipino caramel made with coconut milk that's also a component of the malas. And then there's the Royal Bibingka pie, an insanely rich composition of coconut butter mochi, a sweet rice flour paste, loaded into a flaky pie crust, embedded with spoonfuls of cream cheese — it's caramelized top finally finished with a thatch of sharp cheddar."  - Amy Scattergood LA TIMES

• "Wheat, which came to the Philippines with the Spanish, also has its place in daily life. At any time of day, pan de sal, a simple bread roll, is nourishment. Isa Fabro, a pastry chef in Los Angeles, slakes hers in butter suffused with ube halaya (a jam of purple yam) and latik, a coconut-milk concentrate close in spirit to dulce de leche...and [her] mango royale, a crema de fruta turned icebox cake, with layers of cream and mangos teetering on overripe."  - Ligaya Mishan NY TIMES

• "At 5 foot, 2 inches tall, Isa Fabro is slim and small in stature. But Fabro’s like the André the Giant of pie. It’s not unusual to find her up at sunrise, caramelizing fresh bananas for 100 mini pies. Or scouring the city’s markets for the best flats of ripe fruit for her signature Mango Royale pie. Fabro can also eat half a dozen slices of pie in a single afternoon, no problem."  - Abbie Fentress-Swanson KCRW Good Food

Isa has mentions in Animation Magazine, Asian Journal, Bloomberg, Bon Appetit, Brooklyn MagazineBuzzfeed, CitizineDaily Meal, Dine LA, Esquire, Fast Company, Food GPS, Food & Wine, Grubstreet, Huffington Post, Infatuation, Insider, In The LoupLAist, Nerdist, NME, The Oregonian, OZY, Portland Monthly, PR Week, SaveurStarChefs Rising Star, StarChefs ICC, Symrise, Taste Talks, USA Today, Wapow MagazineZagat.