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Love, laing, and Leah’s Kitchen

By Spanky Hizon Enriquez Published Feb 23, 2020 2:09 am Updated Oct 15, 2020 3:48 am

Lea Viray never enrolled in any culinary course. But you’d never know it from the daily output of her kitchen. Everything is spot on, as if she’s been working as a professional chef for most of her life.

But really, it’s just a blessed combination of an excellent palate, passion for the craft, and intrinsic cooking skills. Lea and her husband always appreciated great food, and they always found the best places to dine in during their travels here and abroad. And back home, Lea would try to mimic the dishes she enjoyed best.

When her partner in love and life passed away a decade ago, Lea needed to sustain her household of four children. And the best way was via her cooking. She was good at it, and she prepared every dish with this core belief: that she would offer exactly the same quality she would serve to her kids.

Lea’s Kitchen ( is the result of her dedication to her mission. Everything on her menu is essentially the best version of her own family’s daily fare.

Lea’s Kitchen’s Laing

Lea’s Kitchen: The one key ingredient in all of Lea Viray’s dishes is love—and shrimps in her laing. Photo by Gabby Cantero

“I always put in the one key ingredient in all my dishes—love. I cook to express my thoughts and feelings. I make sure that the dishes will make my kids’ tummies happy and full. It is this same principle that ensures every food tray that comes out of my kitchen is of best quality. If it is good enough for my family, then rest assured, it will be good for yours too.”

Cooking is Lea’s way of expressing herself, and her way of showing her loved ones how much she cherishes them. Her Laing of Laings, perhaps the best I’ve ever had, is proof of the power of her love.