How to make this flavorful Filipino chicken adobo
By all accounts, Chef Rey Eugenio has had a fulfilling culinary career. He mastered French technique at luxury resorts in Florida, learned from renowned chefs like Kenny Gilbert and Lawrence McFadden, helped design menus and open up new concepts, and even prepared private meals for Oprah Winfrey and Michelle. Obama.
But a few years ago, he realized that something was missing.
âI felt like there was nowhere for me to go as a chef,â he says now. âThere wasn’t a day that I went to a restaurant and I didn’t think about what ingredients I could use for a Filipino dish. It was time for me to find something on my own.
Eugenio started making Filipino pop-ups at local breweries and restaurants in Baltimore, to test people’s comfort zone with the kitchen. âIn the past 12 to 15 years, you heard little news about Filipino cuisine, maybe in Los Angeles, New York or Chicago, but never outside of those cities,â he says. “But here they kissed him with love.”
Soon he was ready to open a permanent concept, Heritage Kitchen, a restaurant that celebrates Philippine cuisine inside the Whitehall Market food hall. Heritage feels like the anchor of the whole space with an airy dining area flooded with natural light, lavish green cabins, and an open kitchen where you’ll almost always find Eugenio.
Opening during the pandemic wasn’t a perfect way to showcase his concept, but the chef made adjustments, tweaking his food to be more take-out-friendly and, more recently, making sure his menu was flexible to deal with supply chain and price escalation issues. He also looked into the idea of ââchanging it.
âWhat I discovered about myself after being in a restaurant for years, you tend to get bored making the same dish over and over again,â he says. âChanging the menu keeps me on my toes. I tried changing the whole menu and people asked me where was the chicken adobo, garlic peanuts, brussel sprouts or shrimp in garlic chili oil.