Since founding this website nearly four years ago, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some truly A+mazing and wonderful people. I’ve also encountered my fair share of “party poopers” but the good folk far outweigh the bad. No person has embodied this sentiment more than Philomina U. Emeka-Iheukwa.
“Phil” as she is so affectionately called hails from Nigeria. Her love of her country and home is omnipresent in her accent, her kindness, her spirit, and even more so in her food. Her gracious and striking beauty is more than skin deep. Her goodness is genuine and permeates her heart, her soul, and the food that she serves up in her restaurant and at the Rochester Public Market.
Phil has been cooking up her version of flavorful and healthy regional (Nigerian) steeped cuisine in Rochester for years. Now that all things “ethnic” “regional” and “healthy” are the uber trend of our nation (more on that later) Phil’s curry spiced twist on dishes such as fried rice and stewed chicken are sought after daily. Deemed sharp, likable and beyond friendly by a Rochester area food critic; its her food that you will remember after parting ways. This food is rich, powerful, simple, and complex in the same bowl. Glorious amalgamations of spice, flavor, color, and texture Phil makes sure that her heart, soul, and a lot of love go into every single meal that she plates. A dichotomy of flavors all in one dish.
Gluten free food needs to become free from disclaimers. Free from judgement. Free of stigma. And free of contamination. Gluten free food is just good, clean, whole real food
Phil cooks naturally gluten free and uses the freshest and finest local ingredients that she can find. It’s no wonder that we instantly hit it off when I was thrown into her kitchen by happenstance and a pop up event one fateful Thursday night. We bonded almost immediately over healthy cooking, soup, quinoa, fried rice, beet juice and beet muffins. Yep you read right; beet muffins. Gloriously light, delicate, honey laced beet muffins that were warm & fresh from the oven. Muffins that make me salivate as I type. Muffins that I’ve since ordered two batches of and that I will most likely order again later this week.
As a celiac foodie, when I find a gem as sweet, natural, and vegan friendly as is Phil’s I never.ever.ever.let.it. go. Ever. Good gluten free food is hard to come by in take out form in this city. Great gluten free takeout is even harder to come by. So, it’s no wonder that our stars aligned and we have become fast business friends. Two gluten free entrepreneurs on a mission to change the public’s perception about “soul food” “ethnic food” gluten free food and healthy food.
Gluten free food needs to become free of disclaimers. Free from judgement. Free of stigma. And free of contamination. Gluten free food is just good clean whole real food. This is the food that I love. This is the food that Philomina serves. Food is her life. Food is her love. And I Iove cooking with and eating at Phil’s.
You can visit Cooking and Eating Healthy with Phil the restaurant at 544 West Main Street, Rochester on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:30 – 7:00 (585-733-2091) and at the following locations:
Rochester Public Market: outside on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 to 2:30
Rochester Public Market: inside Boulder Coffee on Saturdays from 8:30 to 2:30