What Chef Rob does that is particularly unique is he takes his show on the road, partnering with other chefs across the nation to provide Adoboloko goodies. Tracking him on social media this year, I’ve seen him serve edibles, such as his prized “Ube Doobies,” in Northern California, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Washington, D.C. He also plans to hit Richmond, Virginia, where I promised to meet him next. I was lucky to get some time on his busy schedule for the following question and answer session.
Free Range Kings (FRK): Tell us about your background.
Chef Rob Menor, Adoboloko (Chef Rob): I’m From 8th street in a place called Stockton,CA. I got my first taste of kitchen work in the school cafeteria at eleven years old as a punishment for getting into fights in elementary school, but I ended up liking it. Being a chef also runs on both sides of my family tree. I got my start in cooking professionally in Chicago, and it is also where I’m based currently.
FRK: Tell us about Adoboloko and the services/products provided.
Chef Rob: AoboLoko started off as a Filipino food pop-up concept that evolved to include cannabis cooking, catering, vending at makers markets, and reintroducing concepts of Filipino cultural traditions and customs based around food and ancestors.
Adoboloko had volunteer staff for the market events and private parties. I will need to source a small staff once the cannabis cooking and 8th Street Treats (the brand of edibles under the Adoboloko umbrella) further expands. Right now, I’m fine tuning my business and learning more as a “solopreneur.” I do it all.
FRK: How often do you do pop-up “tours”? How do you find and secure host locations for pop-ups?
Chef Rob: Every year from 2015 to 2018, I went on at least one local and one traveling pop-up tour. In late 2018, and into late fall of 2019, I toured to help promote a book called The New Filipino Kitchen, which is available on Amazon and at select retailers. Usually, I find and secure host locations by hanging out with my homies and listening to the buzz on the street when we go to different cities.
FRK: Describe how an Adoboloko pop-up typically works.
Chef Rob: The first thing is inspiration. It’s a creative process to get me into a headspace. Usually a lot of music, reading, and taking experiences from the ups and downs of my life on a daily basis. After that I create a menu or concept based on the inspiration and then make all my promo. The pop ups are usually ticketed private events but with covid 19 hitting the world the way it has I’ve gone more into learning and executing remote pop ups by operating like a cloud kitchen with delivery of special requests.
FRK: What cuisines/products do you specialize in?
Chef Rob: Filipino cuisine,Regional California inspired food, street food, regional Philippine cuisine, Fil-Am cooking, and now cannabis cooking with my brand called 8th Street Treats.
FRK: I imagine depending on the state in which you have a pop-up event, you may not be serving infused dishes. Is there any difference in your approach between a pop-up that includes non-infused and infused products?
Chef Rob: The only difference so far is the people who know about the pop ups/product drops and the menus. My approach for the most part has been largely underground with guerilla marketing.
FRK: Ah, got it! On your Adoboloko Instagram page, I see a few pictures of a product called the “Ube Doobie.” How much THC per piece? And how much do they cost?
Chef Rob: The Ube Doobie is a cannabis-infused Filipino treat with 20 mgs of THC per piece. A CBD option is also going to be available starting this fall going into winter. Requests can be made with a pledge of $40 per request for local and a pledge of $70 per request for non-local.
The star ingredients of the dish are ube (purple yam) and cannabis. Imagine a pastry the size of a snickers bar with a sweet taste of the Philippines favorite purple ingredient. It’s like a fat-ass edible blunt of that Purple sticky-icky, gooey, fresh and fruity goodness that can only be replicated by God on the 6th day in the garden of Eden. In the garden of Eden, there was ube growing next to weed. My ancestors just woke me up to it though. So I had to channel the message through my food.
FRK: How and when did you get into the cannabis-infused cooking game?
Chef Rob: Back in like 2015-2016. I was back and forth between Stockton and the East Bay doing pop-ups and hanging out when one of my homies named Charlene was doing a brand of Filipino edibles and cooking products called DAMO out in Oakland. She hooked it up with some DAMO butter, and I took it back to Stockton with me.
The next day I made some bibingka to eat during the Raiders game vs the Saints using the butter. To quote the epic movie Blood In, Blood Out, “it was like mantequilla in a hot tortilla,” and then BOOM! “BUDbingka” was born. That’s how I first hopped into it. Raiders went on to beat the Saints that day too, foo.
FRK: Haha. Also being part of the Raider Nation, that brings a smile to my face. Any particularly memorable events or clients?
Chef Rob: A lot of the stuff that is most special and memorable to me is the stuff I did for Stockton with the Little Manila Foundation, and all the Symposium 209 events I did for DJ B Dot and DJ Tone from RESONATE. Then there was the time I got to cater for Stockton non-profit organizations Fathers and Families and Re-Invent Stockton with an adobo and pinakbet box lunch. I also did an event for 106 KMEL FM in the rain, on a balcony (haha). And of course, my first time doing NYC was hella special. Also, I can’t forget about Richmond, Virginia. Don’t sleep on Virginia. It ain’t shit to do but cook out there. You better keep an eye on them. Shout out to my VA connects.
“In the garden of Eden, there was ube growing next to weed. My ancestors just woke me up to it though. So I had to channel the message through my food.”
FRK: What makes you different from other cooks specializing in the same cuisine or who also cook with cannabis?
Chef Rob: I’m just me doing me. There are a lot of other amazing chefs who cook Filipino food or cannabis-infused food, but I’m the only Chef Rob. I like taking a trailblazing path for Filipino food and cannabis cuisine to be respected and enjoyed from hood to hood and boardrooms to bedrooms all around the world, foo.
FRK: What is your go-to infused dish to make? If different, what is your favorite non-infused dish to make?
Chef Rob: I love waking up and watching Raiders games with a pan de sal and a cannabis-infused cup of coffee. It’s quick and I love the combo so much for myself on a chill ass sunday. Right now though, for the go-to favorite for others to enjoy, it has to be the Ube Doobie. OOOOOOHHH WEEEEEEEEE Ube Doobie doo!
I have a top secret roasted meat dish that I have not revealed yet. When I unveil it to the public, then it’ll probably become my new favorite go-to, especially for tailgate and Christmas parties. Stay tuned! Ha!
FRK: Do you have rules around dosage or is it based on client’s preference?
Chef Rob: I dont dose more than 20 mgs right now unless requested.
FRK: Any advice for folks that try to cook with cannabis at home?
Chef Rob: Start small, go slow, have patience, work with some bomb-ass music playlists, surround yourself with good people, just believe in yourself, and show some love to your homies and your supporters in your life.
FRK: Solid advice. Do you have a favorite cannabis strain and local dispensary?
Chef Rob: That homegrown Cali green, and purple too – ALL OVER the state, especially over there in the 209. Also one love to Street Lawyer Services in Washington, D.C. for hooking it up with that fire for me and my loved ones when I’m in town.
FRK: What’s your go-to meal and restaurant for munchies?
Chef Rob: You know I navigate state to state though, so I had to do the list like this:
- The 2-item combo at Subo Filipino Kitchen in Chicago
- The smoked chili dog at Bens Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C.
- The entire Jungle Menu at Thip Khao in Washington, D.C.
- The suman and pancit at FOB Kitchen in Oakland
- Sisig fries, tapa tacos, and tocino wrap at Papa Urbs Grill in Tracy and Stockton, CA.
FRK: What are your favorite tools/appliances to use when cooking with cannabis?
Chef Rob: The LEVO 2. It’s dope AF for making high quality small batch focused menus at home and on the road. I also gotta show some love to the sous vide machines too. Those are also good for use in cannabis kitchens.
FRK: What are your passions outside of cooking?
Chef Rob: Hip hop culture, cannabis, and enjoying the comedy called life.
FRK: What is next for Chef Rob? Any big plans or goals?
Chef Rob: Finding more distribution and investment opportunity for 8th Street Treats and going on a world tour with the homies – ATANG CREW World Tour.
FRK: If someone is trying to get more information on you and your food, how can they reach you?
FRK: Any final words for Free Range Kings readers?
Chef Rob: I wanna say wassup and thank you to all the dope-ass readers of Free Range Kings. I hope I get to keep doing things for you guys, meet as many of you guys as possible, get to thank you all, smoke one, and get munchies with you guys. Let’s connect and get down worldwide. Hit me up.
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