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#RedefineAtoZ: Alvin Cailan, the Chef Who's Using Food to Share Culture

With Eggslut continuing to expand and a debut cookbook on the way, Chef Alvin Cailan is keeping himself busy.
Alvin Cailan
Alvin Cailan is the co-founder of the popular Los Angeles-based Eggslut.Paulo Chun / NBC News

NAME: Alvin Cailan

AGE: 34

HOMETOWN: Pico Rivera, California

TWITTER: @AlvinCailan / INSTAGRAM: @AlvinCailan

How do you introduce yourself?

I always say, "Hello, I'm Alvin... like the chipmunk." I grew up beating people to the punch.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by plenty of things. When it comes to food, I find inspiration when I eat at various ethnic restaurants/street food. I taste the different flavors and admire the technique and execution. Then I apply the inspiration into a dish that I create.

What challenges you?

Coming from a humble town like Pico Rivera, CA... I wake up every morning challenging myself to work harder than the day before.

SEE THE LIST: NBC Asian America Presents: A to Z - The 26 Emerging Voices of 2017

Tell us about the biggest risk you ever took.

The biggest risk I've ever taken was gambling my life savings on a food truck. If it weren't [for] taking that risk... I guess I wouldn't be answering these questions.

What are you reading/watching/listening to these days?

Listening to: "DAMN." - Kendrick Lamar

Watching: "Bob's Burgers," all day, everyday

Reading: "On Vegetables" by Jeremy Fox

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what job would you want to have?

I would hands down be a custom hot rod designer/mechanic. I love cars and love building engines.

What’s your motto?

If it ain't hard to get, I don't want it.

I celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month because…

...I'm proud of who I am (AMBOY), where my family came from (Philippines), and the way our culture has influenced America.

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