Born in the Philippines and raised in Hawaii, Rodelio Aglibot had his first inkling that his professional calling in life would be cooking at a very early age, crediting his parents as his culinary mentors while attending Lemoore High School in the heart of California’s San Joaquin Valley. After watching his father cook at home, Aglibot tried his own hand at the techniques in a tree house with a hibachi grill and a can of Spam. Luckily, he didn’t burn his backyard to the ground, but it did set him off on a culinary path that he is following today—combining a lively and experimental energy with unique ingredients, modern touches and a touch of surprise.
In the Spring of 2016, his hits continue with the creation and opening of Firefin Poke in Chicago, the first free standing Health/Poke fast casual restaurant of its kind. With its immediate success, Rodelio and his partners Frank Fronda and Anshul Mangal are quickly expanding the concept in the Midwest, East coast and Pacific Rim with 8 openings slated for 2017. Rodelio is establishing himself as a innovator in the Fast Casual restaurant segment with upcoming concepts Tiny’s Hawaiian, TRUbird Chicken and 140 Prime Beef Shop.
Known the world over as “The Food Buddha” because of his dedication to his heritage and his approach to creative menu development, Aglibot has been featured on many national television programs for his New Asian cuisine, as well as Italian and American cooking. In the summer of 2011, his show “Food Buddha” premiered on The Learning Channel (“TLC”). He has also appeared on a number of national and local television shows including; “TODAY Show”, CBS Morning Show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, Food Network’s “The Best Of”, “The Steve Harvey Show”, Style Network’s “It’s my Party”, “Extra”, Fox’s “Live Like a Star” and “Entertainment Tonight”, as well as local morning shows in Chicago, LA, NYC, Minneapolis and Miami.
His impressive culinary accolades include; print features in USA Today, Chicago Magazine, which just named Earth + Ocean, one of his newest restaurants, one of the best new restaurants in Chicago for 2013, Food & Wine named his LA restaurant “Best New Asian Restaurant in 2005”, Bon Appetit, CS Magazine named his concept Sunda “Best New Restaurant in 2009”, The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune where he received glowing 3-star reviews from both publications and was recently named one of “StarChefs” 500 Chefs to Know. European coverage in Elite Traveler and vanity Fair Italy. Other current honors and positions include Tastemaker and Ambassador for Mariano’s Fresh Market in the Midwest and DreamTrips Local, Global Chef Ambassador.
Aglibot, a tireless creative soul, continues his passion for travel, knowledge and enlightenment. His unpretentious food style, knowledge of ingredients and exciting food traditions are trademarks to his personality.