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FOR LOCALS BY LOCALS: Abstrakt Filipino Essence

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Chef and Owner Jojo Hernandez opened Abstrakt Filipino Essence in Jacksonville Beach and it features a fusion of his Southeast Asian family recipes with a culinary twist

“I call my food 80/20,” he says, “So 80-percent Filipino is that home-cooking and home Filipino recipe, with my 20-percent twist to it using my 20-plus years of experience being a chef.”

Chef Jojo immigrated to the US in 1995 to pursue a medical degree which he earned three years later but soon he realized that he loved cooking much more.

He attended culinary school in Florida and was a Sous Chef at the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club and an Executive Sous Chef at the Florida Yacht Club before launching a popular Filipino food truck that soon became his very own restaurant.

“Our best seller right now ever since I started my food truck is the chicken tocino bowl,” he says. “The chicken tocino for Filipinos is a cured meat, so what I did instead of curing the meat, like beef jerky, you know i just marinated it. I make my own seasoning and my sauces in here, so it’s like nice and tender. Then we serve it with brussels sprouts. There’s a Filipino flavor to it, but then I’m using a local ingredient.”

Chef Jojo’s goal is to bring his family recipes to Northeast Florida and prove his culture’s cuisine is #morethanlumpia.

He says, “I ask myself sometimes, like you know, why this food is not in the community, that’s when I decided to start a pop-up tent, and then in 2020 I did my food truck. And two and a half, almost three years later, I decided to open the restaurant.”

You can see more of Chef Jojo’s culinary creations on Instagram at WOKVnews.

“I’m just blessed, you know, that it’s really one of my dreams to open a restaurant, like you know me and my wife,” he says. “I can’t wait to show it to the community because a lot of people are excited. It’s unreal that, you know, I’m here. Again it’s a blessing.”

If you have a new business that you would like to spotlight on For Locals By Locals, email us at News@WOKV.com.




Sheifalika Bhatnagar

Sheifalika Bhatnagar, News 104.5 WOKV

Sheifalika Bhatnagar is WOKV's morning traffic and news reporter. She is a University of North Florida graduate with a degree in Communication, focused on Multimedia Production and Journalism.

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