Chef Rodelio Aglibot, nicknamed "The Food Buddha" and the mind behind E+O Kitchen and E+O New Asian, passed away in Cincinnati on March 28 after a cardiac episode.
In a statement, the restaurants' Director of Operations Tim Weiss said, "We will deeply miss our ‘Food Buddha,’ who showered us with his knowledge of Asian culture. His quest to bring a new vision to Asian cuisine was a driving passion of his during leadership at E+O Kitchen and E+O New Asian. His Legacy will continue with us here at E+O. We send our condolences to his family and close friends who are mourning his passing."
Weiss added a video of Aglibot in his email, chronicling his culinary journey.
"In due time, we will share with all of you a donation page to honor our beloved chef," Weiss added.
E+O New Asian had just opened on Walnut Street downtown before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in widespread restaurant closures.
Aglibot oversaw "the conception, creation and launch" of the downtown restaurant, according to a press release. He was also the executive chef of both Cincinnati E+O locations (E+O Kitchen is in Hyde Park). Aglibot created the concept of E+O — "earth and ocean" — in 2013 with Illinois-based Intrestco Hospitality.
“The concept of E+O is about harnessing the best Asian flavors while utilizing fresh, local ingredients,” Aglibot said in a release. “It all starts with the dish, then we find the highest quality ingredients to create that flavor.”
The menu of E+O New Asian blends the cuisine of the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam and more with "contemporary techniques and inventive ingredients."
Aglibot had an established presence in the Chicago food scene, and his business partner Aeron Lancero of Intrestco is quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying, “On Saturday morning I received the call that he was gone. He was doing what he loved, as he was discovered in the kitchen of his apartment preparing a meal to enjoy and showcase as he has been doing many times for his many friends and family to see. His heart gave in and now he is gone.”