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ashley lujares

I’ve always been surrounded by food! In the Philippines, my grandma owned a noodle company, my grandpa raised ducks and sold the infamous Balut, and my aunt owned a meat stand at the local market. I learned from my mother to cook with soul. As a child she would have me peel egg roll wrappers, cut the mise, and complete the dish. “You eat with your eyes first,” she’d say, “When people eat the dish, they taste all the effort and time you put into it.” Smart lady.

After high school, I tried out college at Suffolk University, but knew that I wanted something more…but what was it? When my mom purchased my first Kitchen Aid stand mixer, I got my answer. I dropped out, packed my bags and headed to New York City, enrolling in the Institute of Culinary Education, and later on, externing at Radius, Christopher Myers’s former restaurant.

After my studies at the Institute, I moved to San Diego to gain more cooking experience, climbing the culinary totem pole like nobody’s business. Still hungry, I applied to Myers + Chang as Sous Chef, later on becoming the Lead. I wanted to work with strong female chefs like Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz. While I was at M+C, I honed my craft, and developed my personality in the chef role. A sabbatical in Hong Kong and Thailand also helped me find my voice by inspiring me with flavors I’d never worked with.

When I’m not at Flour, you can find me spending time with my loved ones, walking around endlessly in museums, perfecting my dance moves, and exploring the world with my nephew #mistahlucas.