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5 chefs share recipes they love and learned from their moms

By Dolly Dy-Zulueta Published May 07, 2021 2:41 pm

Mom. She’s the queen of the house, the nurturing hand that keeps the family together through thick and thin. She sets the mood in the house and fills it with love.

Long before the children are of age to go to school, she already sets an environment for learning and teaches them life skills that will last them their lifetime.

One of the things that moms, whether consciously or not, teach their children is cooking. They pass on recipes, cooking techniques, practical tips and creative skills. Some consciously teach their kids how to whip up delicious meals for the family; others simply inspire with the way they lovingly prepare food that nurture the body and feed the soul.

Yet others successfully combine both, and their example lead their children to come into their own and eventually become culinary geniuses.

To honor their moms on Mother’s Day, five successful chefs share heartwarming stories and the recipes they love and learned from their moms.

Chef Theodore Day Salonga: Callos

Chef Theodore Day Salonga and mom Angelina Pabello Salonga

For chef Theodore Day Salonga (of Aurora Filipino Cuisine and Ted’s Bed and Breakfast in Sta. Cruz, Laguna), of all the family recipes that he learned from his mother, Angelina Pabello Salonga, his favorite is her Callos.

“It brings back a lot of festive family memories, and it reflects the passion and love that my mom, her mom and her mom’s mom had in nurturing our family,” says chef Day, who considers his mom as the queen of the kitchen and their first chef instructor and executive chef.

He adds, “She would cook Callos on birthdays and Christmas. During the holiday season, she would cook a big batch in advance and keep it in the freezer until Christmas and New Year’s Day.”

She would always make sure to keep a tub or two in the freezer and bring them out after the holiday season. She would reheat a bowl and eat it with pandesal as afternoon snack.”


1 kg. beef tripe, sliced into 1/2x1-inch strips

1 pc. pig’s foot, cut into half


1/2 tbsp. peppercorns

2 pcs. bay leaf

3 tbsps. olive oil

1 pc. medium white onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp. paprika powder

1/2 cup chorizo de Bilbao, sliced

1 400-gram can diced tomatoes

1 cup garbanzos (chickpeas)

1/2 cup pitted green olives

1/2 pc. red bell pepper, cut into strips

1/2 pc. green bell pepper, cut into strips

1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Clean tripe by boiling in water for 5 minutes. Remove and discard water. In a pot, place trips and pig’s foot, peppercorns and bay leaf. Add enough water to cover. Boil and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.
  2. In a small pan, sauté onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent. Add paprika and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.
  3. Once tripe is tender, add onion mixture, chorizo de Bilbao and diced tomatoes.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for another 30 minutes or until sauce is reduced.

Chef Joey Herrera: Adobo

Chef Joey Herrera and mom, “Adobo Queen” Nancy Reyes-Lumen

A bottle of soy sauce, some vinegar, garlic, two bay leaves, and peppercorns. These are what chef Joey Herrera inherited from his mom, the inimitable Adobo Queen Nancy Reyes Lumen. Joey is Hogsmith CEO and chef instructor at the International Culinary Arts and Jospitality Management (ISCAHM) proponent.

“You know her as the Adobo Queen, and if that makes me the Adobo Prince, then I gratefully embrace the monicker, being a fan of both adobo and Prince,” says Joey.

He adds, “I was always surrounded with good food, people with good appetites, and shelf upon shelf of delicious cookbooks. I guess Ma took the environmental approach to turn me into a good cook. What I learned from her, cooking-wise, was that the recipe does not necessarily make the dish. The cook has to breathe (figuratively, please) a soul into it. Thus, when not cooking for specifics, such as an order in a restaurant or a dish I need to teach my students, I cook with an open-ended system—know the base ingredients; know the method you want to use; and know how additional ingredients will affect the final outcome.”

With his mom being the Adobo Queen, chef Joey grew up savoring adobo in all its different variants. He says one can approach adobo from multiple possibilities and thus whip up different variants from a few basic ingredients. There’s Classic Adobo, Twice-cooked Adobo, Adobong Dilaw, Adobong Pula, Ginataang Adobo sa Luyang Dilaw, and, yes, Adobo Rice, too.

Instead of a step-by-step recipe, here’s Joey’s graphic on how to make the different kinds of ADOBO:


Chef Victor Barangan: Fresh Lumpiang Ubod

Chef Victor Barangan and mom Teresa Domingo Barangan

As executive chef of Eastwood Richmonde Hotel, chef Victor Barangan whips up the fanciest dishes to satisfy the pickiest eater, but when in his mom Teresa Domingo Barangan’s company, he would rather take the backseat and let his mom cook. His mom has a stash of recipes and one that of them is Fresh Lumpiang Ubod.

Nanay Terry got the recipe from the mother of chef Vic’s classmate way back in kindergarten. Since then, it has become part of the Barangans’ culinary traditions. Through the years, she tweaked the recipe to make it her own, and she makes it more exciting by coloring the crepe lumpia wrapper pink, violet, green and yellow. Yes, multi-colored lumpia!


For the lumpia crepe:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup corn starch

3 eggs

1 cup water

pinch of salt

2 tbsps. cooking oil

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Rest in chiller for 2 hours.
  3. Using a ladle and nonstick pan, make crepes by heating pan then pouring just enough of the chilled batter to cover the bottom. Swirl to distribute the batter evenly. When the edges start to curl up, flip crepe over to cook the other side for a few seconds. Remove from pan.

For the lumpia filling:

1/4 kg. ubod, julienned

100 grams carrots, shredded

5 grams chopped garlic 

100 grams tokwa, chopped

100 grams garbanzos (chickpeas)

  1. Heat a little oil in a pan. Sauté all ingredients together until done.
  2. Set aside and let cool.

For the lumpia sauce:

2 cups water

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsps. salt

slurry (flour and water)

2 tbsps, minced local garlic

For the peanut topping:

1 cup ground peanuts

1/2 cup white sugar

  1. Dry-roast peanuts and coarse-grind.
  2. Mix with white sugar.

To assemble:

Green Ice lettuce, washed and towel-dried.

  1. Place a piece of lumpia crepe or wrapper on a clean, flat working surface. Place two to three pieces of Green Ice lettuce on one side.
  2. Scoop some filling on top of the lettuce. Fold and wrap into a spring roll.
  3. Transfer to a plate and ladle sauce over it just before serving. Sprinkle with ground peanut mixture.

Chef Pixie Sevilla:

Chef Pixie Sevilla: Tuyo Fried Rice

Chef Pixie Sevilla and mom Remedios “Ditas” Rodrigo Sevilla

The bond between a mother and a daughter is one of a kind. It is difficult to explain because it is way too deep and too valuable to even try to describe in a quantitative level. This is how chef Pixie Sevilla of Forget Me Not Specialty Cakes feels about the relationship she has through the years built with her mom, Remedios “Ditas” Rodrigo Sevilla.

“If there is one thing that my mom and I share, it is the same preferences in food. It became so identical that it has proven to be so convenient when we travel because we share one order. No. 1 on our list is dessert, then four-cheese anything. It was also my mom who introduced me to some of the strangest combinations in food, like Fried Suman, Sliced Cheese with Rice, and Tuyo Fried Rice. Salted Fried Rice was not yet popular at that time. Our Tuyo Fried Rice is very similar to Salted Fish Fried Rice but it has more garlic and no veggies,” chef Pixie shares.


3 tbsps. vegetable oil

2 tbsps. crushed garlic

1 tbsp. chopped onion

6 pcs. fried tuyo, peeled and flaked

2 cups leftover rice

4 eggs, beaten

salt and pepper to taste

chopped leeks

toasted garlic

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Sauté garlic and onion over medium heat until golden. Add tuyo flakes, then the leftover rice.
  2. Pour in beaten eggs and mix until eggs are cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. If leeks are available, sprinkle with chopped leeks and top with toasted garlic.

Chef Poch Jorolan: Pork Asado

Chef Poch Jorolan and mom Pette Santos Jorolan

Since he was small, chef Poch Jorolan of Everybody’s Café and the Probinsyano brand of vinegars and Kapampangan food has always admired the cooking of his mom, Pette Santos Jorolan. One of the dishes that always reminds him of her cooking is the old-fashioned Pork Asado, also known as Asadong Matua.

“I remember when I was a little boy requesting for her version of the dish because I was looking for the distinct taste of her cooking. Now, it’s my turn to cook the same dish for my own family, and every time I prepare something for them that I learned from my mom, I would always refer to it as ‘Lola Pette’s recipe.’”


1 kg. pork kasim

2 pcs. medium onions, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 kg. fresh tomatoes, sliced

5 tbsps. soy sauce

1/2 cup tomato sauce

4 cups water

1/2 cup calamansi juice

salt and pepper to taste

boiled potatoes to serve

  1. In a pan, sear pork kasim. If using a small pan, you can slice the meat into smaller pieces. Remove seared meat, and discard excess oil. Set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, sauté onion, garlic and tomatoes over medium heat. Cook tomatoes well.
  3. Add soy sauce and tomato sauce. Put the seared meat back into the pan. Let it cook with the sauce for a while.
  4. Pour in water and bring to a boil. Bring the heat down to medium and add calamansi juice. Cover and cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the meat is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with boiled potatoes on the side.

Tip: While cooking, make sure to check on the dish once in a while because you might need to add more water to make the meat tender. You also have the option to make the sauce gravy-like or a little dry.