Born and raised on the small island of Basco in Batanes, Philippines, Chef Brian Donato's upbringing was centered around food, family, and togetherness. Located in the northernmost part of the country, Basco's has less than 20,000 residents. In a climate consistently battered by typhoon, the population is tough and hard-working by nature. Their livelihood is centered around farming and fishing, so Brian grew up eating fresh, organic food in a very close-knit community. Each Sunday, his family would gather at the beach for a weekly picnic, where everyone was taught to help prepare a dish to share. Brian describes this event as simple, yet remarkable on each occasion - gathering together to enjoy food and nature in a beautiful setting. He was fortunate to experience and learn the trade from scratch, including fishing, cooking, preserving, raising animals, butchering, planting and harvesting. The combination of spending intimate time learning each step to ultimately sharing dishes with family during Sunday picnics, holidays, and celebrations brought Brian a great sense of happiness and inspired him to pursue cooking as a career. He attended both the Palm Nouveau School of Hospitality Management and International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management (ISCAHM) in Manila Philippines and has a diploma in Culinary Arts and Kitchen Management.