LASA was founded by Filipino-American brothers, Chef Chad Valencia and Chase Valencia. The word lasa, meaning taste or flavor in Tagalog, always had a lot of meaning in the Valencia brothers’ upbringing. Food was always a centerpiece of any gathering and cooking was a way to bring their family together. The value of good food and a memorable dining experience is at the very core of their identity. With LASA, the Valencia brothers want to impart that joy of sharing a good meal with those you hold close.

The journey began in the summer of 2013 as a series of intimate backyard dinners among the Valencia brothers and their friends. LASA has grown since then and has held over 50 dinners in both Highland Cafe in Highland Park and at the Elysian in Frogtown. Experience at the Elysian created an even larger following and demand for their food, with 120 seats selling out within minutes after opening reservations to the public. In 2016, Chef Alvin Cailan (Eggslut), offered LASA a weekend residency at the culinary incubator, Unit 120, located at the Far East Plaza in Chinatown. After a successful year of operating 4 nights a week at Unit 120, LASA has taken over the culinary incubator space to make it as their permanent home.

From backyards to their own brick and mortar, the LASA family finally have their own restaurant. 



Chad valencia


Chad Valencia has spent over the last decade in professional kitchens. It wasn't until working at Corrina Weibel's Canele that he cut his teeth and learned how to truly cook seasonally. He then spent time cooking at Brett Emerson's seasonal Spanish neighborhood restaurant, Contigo, in San Francisco. He then returned home to Los Angeles and started the LASA Restaurant Project while cooking at Jessica Koslow's Sqirl. Since then, Chad along with his brother Chase and team continue the LASA restaurant project in Los Angeles and have found their voice in Filipino-inspired cuisine. 

Background & Bio Photos: Antonio Diaz




Chase Valencia has been in the restaurant industry for over a decade. He has worked every position in front of the house, starting as a busser and making his way into management. His experience began at a neighborhood eatery called Owen's Bistro, where he first learned the value of food & hospitality. He then furthered his career by working at Wolfgang Puck Catering, where he was a Catering Sales & Operations Manager, Food & Beverage Controller, and Restaurant Manager for WPC accounts at LA Live, Sony Pictures Studios and Beats by Dre Headquarters. Recently, he worked for Silver Lake neighborhood favorites, Sqirl and Forage, while simultaneously developing the LASA Restaurant Project by hosting pop-up dinners and events. 

In addition to being in the restaurant industry, Chase co-founded a cultural and community organization called Kabalikat Society (now called LAKAS) and organized a Philippine Independence Day Festival in Chino Hills, which drew approximately 3,000 attendees.

Background & Bio Photos: Antonio Diaz


nico de leon


Nico de Leon's professional career started six years ago. In that time, he has been involved with pop-ups and the opening of restaurants throughout his expanding career beginning with the opening of Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel Air. Here he learned the beauty and importance of seasonality and farm-to-table cooking. Nico then spent time at Commonwealth (Jason Fox's revered San Francisco eatery), the long running neighborhood restaurant Blue Plate (helmed by Sean Thomas), and was on the opening team for Black Sands. During his time in SF, Nico met Chad and was asked to be a part of the LASA family as sous chef. He relocated back to Los Angeles, joined Ria Barbosa and Matt Wilson at their WILD residency in Canelé, and helped the Progressive-Filipino pop-up Irenia Supper Club in Orange County all while being involved with the LASA Restaurant Project since the first dinner in 2013.