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What You Didn't Know About Rezel Kealoha

Meet Rezel, bringing her take on Filipino classics to the masses. Learn why “Kumain na tayo” is music to Rezel's ears.
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Created from scratch in the SideChef Kitchen, where recipe inspiration and ingredient experimentation are a way of life.
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We are excited to have Rezel join us in the SideChef kitchen to make so many delicious Filipino-inspired dishes and share with us her take on family, food, and fun.

What’s your favorite word related to cooking?

Oh gosh so hard. I’ll go for gooey.

What’s your earliest positive food memory?

Sitting down with my Lola (Grandmother) helping her clean the rice to get ready for cooking. It was a great lesson in patience!

What’s your favorite cooking tool?

Hands down a food processor. They are so helpful when making sauces and doughs. I use it all the time in my recipes.

What do you crave when you have a cold?

Arroz Caldo! It’s a rice porridge that is cooked in Chicken Broth flavored with garlic and ginger. It’s so comforting to me, really makes me feel like I just got a big warm hug when I eat it. Though, I do wish my mom was the one cooking it for me when I am sick.

What do you cook when you’re happy?

This is a hard one as I cook all the time regardless of how I am feeling. I would say that when I am in a really good mood, I make macarons. If you look through my blog, it only happens once a year.

Your ultimate guilty pleasure food:

Ice cream!! I always have a few pints in the freezer.

What’s your favorite kitchen sound?

The sizzle when food hits the hot oil.

What’s your favorite cooking smell?

Garlic. We use lots and lots of garlic in Filipino cooking. It’s a staple smell in our house.

Who’s your favorite person to cook for?

My daughter Abby. When I get that thumbs up from her and when she eats her plate in 10 minutes I know it’s a good recipe ready to be posted. If she is there on the struggle bus getting close to 45 minutes trying to eat - it’s not a good recipe! She is a good indicator of what works and what doesn’t for me.

You get invited to a dinner prepared by any food icon dead or alive, who is it?

My food icon, Doreen G. Fernandez, food writer and historian extraordinaire from the Philippines.

What do they say to you on your arrival?

“Kumain na tayo.” Let’s all eat now!

What are your 5 top cooking tips or tricks?


  • Read the recipe at least 3 times before starting.

  • Have all your ingredients prepped before turning on the stove. Make sure everything is cut and at room temperature. If you are subbing ingredients, know what you are using and have that out, too.

  • I love short cuts and one of the best short cuts I have found is using pre-chopped garlic and ginger in tubes!!! They stay fresh in the tube for so long and when I need it I can just directly squeeze in my pans to start cooking fast.

  • Have a stocked pantry, like having coconut aminos, vinegar, garlic, ginger, onion, rice, potatoes, tomatoes, noodles, and broth. With those ingredients, you can make a variety of food from what you have fresh in the refrigerator.

  • Keep spices, oils, and cooking utensils next to the stove. If you have everything in the same place all the time, sometimes muscle memory kicks in when you cook and you start flowing in the kitchen.

If you could sum up your cooking style into one sentence, what would that sentence be?

Easy and accessible yet, a little bougie.

Love this interview? Try these amazing recipe and cook with Rezel Kealoha.

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Baked Lechon (Pork Belly) For a Crowd

Rezel Kealoha
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